Enlarged prostate, also called benign prostate hyperplasia, is a common condition in men as they age. According to the Urology Care Foundation, it affects approximately 50% of men in their 50s.
An enlarged prostate can cause various symptoms, which may or may not be bothersome. Bothersome symptoms warrant treatment, such as the frequent or urgent need to urinate and difficulty urinating.
Several treatment options are available for the treatment of enlarged prostate. Let’stalk about the common treatment options for enlarged prostate, how to choose the best one, and where you can go for comprehensive men’s health in Phoenix, AZ.
Treatment Options for Enlarged Prostate
Living with an enlarged prostate is not a good idea. Enlarged prostate, when left unaddressed, can lead to urinary tract infections, acute urinary retention, bladder and kidney stones, and in severe cases, kidney damage.
Below are some common ways to treat enlarged prostate.
- Active Surveillance–During active surveillance or watchful waiting, your urologist keeps an eye on several things, including the symptoms like needing to urinate, urine leakage,weak stream or dribbling, etc.,and other factors like prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level in the body.
- Medications – Medications can successfully treat prostate enlargement. Commonly used medications for an enlarged prostate include alpha-blockers, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, and their combination.
Alpha-blockers relax the neck muscles of the bladder and muscle fibers in the prostate, making urination easier. On the other hand, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors shrink your prostate by preventing hormonal changes that cause prostate growth.
A combination of these drugs is recommended when individual drugs fail to achieve the desired outcome.
- Minimally invasive and surgical therapies–Mostly, men who show urinary symptoms of enlarged prostate don’t need surgery, but it may be an option if other treatments haven’t worked. Commonly used therapies include trans-urethral resection of the prostate (TURP), laser therapy, prostatectomy, etc.
Surgery is recommended when a patient can’t urinate at all or has lots of urinary tract infections or bleeding, stones in the bladder and urinary retention, and kidney damage.
How to Choose the Best Treatment Option?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating enlarged prostate –your urologist will work with you to choose the best treatment for you.
Before choosing a treatment option, your urologist will consider several factors, including:
- Your age
- Your overall health
- Your other medical conditions
- The size of your prostate gland
- Rate of progression of the disease
- Affect of your symptoms on your life
To assess the severity of your symptoms, your urologist will use the BPH symptom index developed by the American Urological Association (AUA). A score of 0 to 7 is considered a mild symptom score for which, usually, urologists recommend active surveillance with regular checkups. On the other hand, a score of 8 or more is considered moderate to severe.
If your score is 8 or above and you have no symptoms, your urologist may recommend watchful waiting. But if you’re symptoms are interfering with your quality of life, medications, minimally invasive procedure, or surgery are the options your urologist will recommend to you.
It’s important to mention here that surgery (prostatectomy) is considered the treatment of last resort for enlarged prostate.
Enlarged Prostate Treatment in Phoenix, AZ
If you think you’re at risk for enlarged prostate or have symptoms of enlarged prostate and seek a lasting solution, visit our urologist and men’s health expert Dr. Avila. at Ironwood Urology. Our men’s health expert can detect any problem with the prostate sooner during an annual prostate exam and increase your chances of successful treatment. He also guides men toward proper sexual and urinary function and better prostate health.