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All about benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) causes of benign prostatic hyperplasia benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms diagnosis of benign prostate hyperplasia benign prostatic hyperplasia risk factors treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia lifestyle for benign prostate hyperplasia benign prostatic hyperplasia medications BPH alternative medicines BPH surgery BPH gentle surgical treatments when to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia BPH surgery and medication

What're the treatment options for benign prostate hyperplasia?

Treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) focuses on reducing your symptoms; BPH cannot be cured. Treatment is based on how severe your symptoms are, how much they bother you, and whether complications are present. Deciding how to treat BPH is greatly influenced by how bothersome your symptoms are. The American Urological Association (AUA)

symptom index is a questionnaire that can help you determine the severity of your urinary symptoms and can also be used to measure the effectiveness of treatment. This questionnaire ranks the severity of your system on a numerical scale. The higher the number, the more you are bothered by your symptoms and the more aggressive you may want to be in your treatment.

There are several different ways to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia:


Your therapy may involve a trial use of alpha 1-blockers (doxazosin, prazosin, tamsulosin, and terazosin), which are also used to treat high blood pressure. These medications are used to treat BPH because they relax the muscles of the bladder neck, allowing easier urination. Two thirds of the people treated with alpha 1-blocker medications report an improvement in symptoms. Finasteride lowers prostate hormone levels, thus reducing the size of the prostate. Finasteride has been shown to increase urine flow rate and decrease the symptoms of BPH. It may take up to 6 months before you notice a significant improvement in your symptoms. Potential side effects related to use of finasteride include decreased sex drive (3.3%) and impotence (2.5 - 3.7%). Antibiotics may also be prescribed to treat chronic prostatitis, which commonly accompanies BPH. Some men note symptom relief after a course of antibiotics.


Surgery is usually recommended for men with symptoms of incontinence, recurrent blood in the urine, urinary retention, and recurrent urinary tract infections. The choice of a specific surgical procedure is usually based on the severity of symptoms and the size and shape of the prostate gland.

Surgical treatment options include transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP), and open prostatectomy. Various studies are underway to evaluate the effectiveness of other treatments, such as hyperthermia, laser therapy, and prostatic stents.


Self-help measures may prove beneficial if the degree of obstruction is minimal. These include hot baths, urinating upon the earliest urge to do so, sexual activity or ejaculation on a regular basis, and avoiding alcohol or excessive fluid intake (especially at night). Herbalists suggest that saw palmetto berries and extracts may potentially ease prostate symptoms.

You can reduce the frequency of nighttime trips to the bathroom by eliminating fluids a few hours before you go to sleep. Symptoms of urinary incontinence may be improved by spreading out your fluid intake over the course of the day. You should avoid drinking large amounts of fluids at one time and only take sips of fluids with meals.

Men with BPH should avoid taking over-the-counter cold and sinus medications that contain decongestants, because these medications can increase the symptoms of BPH.

Watchful Waiting

Watchful waiting is often chosen by men who are not bothered by symptoms of BPH. They have no treatment but get regular checkups and wait to see whether or not the condition gets worse. Less than half of all men with BPH have symptoms of the disease, or their symptoms are minor and do not severely restrict their lives. These patients can simply be monitored over time for an increase in their symptoms.

Studies show that of the men who receive no treatment for BPH, 31 - 55% show an improvement, and only 1-5% ever develop complications. Men who choose "watchful waiting" should receive yearly exams to monitor progression of the disease.

More information on benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

What is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? - Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy, is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland that occurs in almost all men as they age.
What causes benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is probably a normal part of the aging process in men, caused by changes in hormone balance and cell-growth factors.
What are the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia? - Initial symptoms of BPH include difficulty starting to urinate and a feeling of incomplete urination. Urinary tract infections cause burning or pain during urination, and possibly fever.
How does the doctor diagnose benign prostate hyperplasia? - Patients will be asked about their symptoms and may also be asked to fill out a symptom questionnaire to let the doctor know the nature of the symptoms and how troublesome they are.
Who is associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia? - Age is the major risk factor. A family history of BPH appears to increase a man's chance of developing the condition. Diabetes, in any case, worsens urinary tract symptoms in men with BPH.
How is benign prostate hyperplasia treated? - Treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) focuses on reducing your symptoms. Treatment is based on how severe your symptoms are, how much they bother you, and whether complications are present.
What're lifestyle measures for managing benign prostate hyperplasia? - Certain lifestyle changes can help relieve symptoms and are particularly important for men who choose to avoid surgery or drug therapy. Men with BPH should avoid, if possible, the many medications for colds and allergy that contain decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).
What kinds of medicines are used for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) treatment? - Alpha-blockers relax smooth muscles, especially in the urinary tract and prostate. They include terazosin (Hytrin), doxazosin (Cardura), tamsulosin (Flomax), and alfuzosin (Xatral). 5-alpha-reductate inhibitors are a group of anti-androgens. In other words, they block male hormones, particularly dihydrotestosterone.
What are alternative medicines for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) treatment? - Some herbal medicines may be helpful, but no one should take any herbal medication or attempt to treat BPH without first consulting a physician.
What kind of surgery is available for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) treatment? - An operation on the prostate will involve the removal of parts of the enlarged tissue. The most effective surgical procedures, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and open prostatectomy, are also the most invasive.
Are there other more gentle surgical treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? - Microwave thermotherapy reduces the size of the prostate by causing cells in the centre of the prostate to die. Another endoscopic treatment, in which part of the prostate tissue is removed with laser energy.
How to choose between treatment and watchful waiting for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? - The choice between watchful waiting and treatment usually depends on a number of factors, such as urine flow rates, prostate size, and PSA levels.
How to decide between surgery and medication for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? - If a man opts for treatment, there are a number of choices. Medications are the best choice for patients with mild symptoms who decide to have their condition treated. Men with moderate to severe symptoms still have good choices among drugs and surgeries.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005