Getting the Best of BPH

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is the medical name for enlargement of the prostate. It’s a common condition, affecting more than 50 percent of men in their sixties. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, we can make them better.

As common a part of aging as getting gray hair, prostate enlargement is a condition that the majority of men will have to deal with at some point in their lives. By the time they’re in their seventies, as many as 90 percent of men experience some symptoms of BPH.

As the prostate enlarges, the gland begins to press against the urethra—the tube that transports urine out of the body—like a clamp on a garden hose. As a result of the pressure, the bladder wall becomes thicker and irritable and, eventually, the bladder begins to contract even when it contains only small amounts of urine, causing more frequent urination. In time, the bladder weakens and loses the ability to fully empty itself.

The BPH Problem

It’s this narrowing of the urethra and partial emptying of the bladder that cause many of the problems associated with BPH. Symptoms and their severity vary. In fact, you may not even know you have an enlarged prostate until your physician discovers it during a routine checkup. But, if you experience urinary problems such as those described in the box above, it’s important to consult your physician. Though about 80 percent of such symptoms will result in a diagnosis of BPH, they can also signal other, more serious conditions that require prompt treatment. These conditions, including prostate cancer, can be ruled out only by a doctor’s examination.

By itself, BPH is usually not a serious condition, unless the symptoms are so troublesome that you can’t enjoy life. However, over time, severe BPH

could cause problems. Urine retention and strain on the bladder can lead to urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones, and incontinence—the inability to control urination. If the bladder is permanently damaged, treatment for BPH may be ineffective.

The BPH Solutions

“Medicines for BPH are available in two categories,” says Dr. Kahn. “One type of drug shrinks the prostate and the other, alpha-blockers, work by reducing the tension in the smooth muscle of the prostate. If we use a tension reducer, patients can see results within a week, while prostate size-reducing drugs typically take 3 to 6 months for results,” he says.

For some men, minimally-invasive surgery will provide the best results over the long term, but the side effects are greater than with medication. At Premier Medical Group, we perform a wide range of procedures, enabling us to offer the approach that’s best suited to a patient’s health status and symptoms.

The ideal candidate for TUNA (transurethral needle ablation) for example, says Dr. Kahn, is someone with a moderately enlarged prostate and moderate post-void residuals who hasn’t responded to drug treatment. A patient with a greatly-enlarged prostate, severe symptoms, and large post-void residual might better benefit from a laser prostatectomy. We review the pros and cons of each approach with our patients and, together, choose the one that’s right for them.