An enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a condition that affects men and causes the prostate gland to become enlarged. The condition is not the same as prostate cancer but can share similar symptoms. In some cases, treatment may not be necessary for an enlarged prostate, but if the condition is impacting your life, there are a range of effective treatments available that can help improve symptoms and quality of life.
The prostate gland is an important part of the male reproductive system that helps make semen. It is found just below the bladder and often gets bigger with age. Other risk factors for an enlarged prostate include a family history of BPH, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and an unhealthy lifestyle. If the prostate becomes enlarged, it can cause bothersome symptoms, such as blocking the flow of urine out of the bladder, pain, a weak urine stream, difficulty starting urination, and urinating more frequently.
Sometimes, symptoms of an enlarged prostate can be caused by other factors, such as a urinary tract infection, inflamed prostate, kidney stones, or prostate cancer. If you are experiencing urinary symptoms, you should visit your health care provider for further investigation as soon as possible to prevent complications.
Diagnosing an Enlarged Prostate
Your health care provider can diagnose an enlarged prostate based on:
- An evaluation of your personal and family medical history, including your symptoms and how often they occur, any medications you’re taking, your lifestyle, and how much liquid you drink on average.
- A physical exam, which will include a digital rectal exam (DRE). This involves your doctor feeling the surface of the prostate gland, via the rectum, using a gloved and lubricated finger, to check for any obvious abnormalities of the prostate gland, such as the shape, texture, and size of the prostate. Your doctor may also check the scrotum and the penis for any problems.
- Medical tests, such as urinalysis, a PSA blood test, ultrasound, MRI, or biopsy.
Treatment for an Enlarged Prostate
There are a range of treatments available for an enlarged prostate, and the best treatment for your condition will depend on your age and overall health, the size of your prostate, and the severity of your symptoms. For mild symptoms, lifestyle changes, such as reducing caffeine intake, avoiding certain medications, and exercising more, may help improve symptoms. Other treatments for an enlarged prostate can include:
Oral medication, such as muscle relaxers or hormone blockers are the most common medications for mild to moderate symptoms. These include:
- Alpha blockers, which are used to help relax the smooth muscle of the prostate and the bladder neck to make it easier to urinate and to reduce bladder blockages.
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, which help shrink the prostate by blocking the production of the hormone DHT that can cause prostate growth.
- Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors,which are primarily used to treat erectile dysfunction, but they can also be effective in treating symptoms related to an enlarged prostate by relaxing muscles in the lower urinary tract.
Sometimes, a combination of medications may be necessary for the best results.
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
TURP is a common surgical procedure that is considered the gold standard for treating blockages of the urethra related to an enlarged prostate. It involves inserting a small instrument (a resectoscope) along the urethra to the prostate and then utilizes a specialized wire loop tool to remove pieces of enlarged prostate tissue.
Laser prostatectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a high-energy laser to remove or shrink excess prostate tissue that is obstructing the flow of urine from the bladder or causing other urinary symptoms. This type of surgery can offer advantages for certain patients compared with other treatment methods, such as a lower risk of bleeding, a shorter hospital stay, and a quicker recovery.
Urolift® urethral lift procedure
This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to reduce urinary symptoms linked to an enlarged prostate. The procedure involves inserting very small implants into the prostate, which work to permanently lift and hold the enlarged prostate away from the urethra to prevent it blocking the flow of urine. A urethral lift can help alleviate pressure on the urethra without having to cut tissue or use a laser.
Enlarged Prostate Treatment Near Me in Phoenix, AZ
If you are experiencing symptoms of an enlarged prostate, don’t delay, visit the compassionate, highly skilled providers at Ironwood Urology for expert care and treatment. We provide effective diagnosis and treatment for a range of men’s health conditions, including prostate problems, erectile dysfunction, low T, male infertility, Peyronie’s disease, and much more.
To book a consultation or to learn more about our services, call us today at (480) 961-2323, or request an appointment online.