By the time men turn 60 years old, 50% of them have developed the condition benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. It is not cancerous, but it does have significant symptoms and side effects. Treating BPH in older men: what you should know.
Some Facts About BPH
Benign prostatic hyperplasia means an enlarged prostate gland. This tiny walnut size gland sits near the urethra and doubles its size during puberty. It has a second growth spurt around age 25 and continues to slowly grow.
If it grows too large, it squeezes the urethra, plus the bladder wall thickens and can become weaker leading to urine remaining in the bladder.
Primary Symptoms Of BPH
If the bladder does not empty as it should, there are a number of symptoms which develop as a result.
They include the following:
- Incomplete emptying
- Feeling that your bladder is full even after urinating
- Frequency of urination, typically every one to two hours
- Intermittent urination, urine starting and stopping
- Weak stream
- Straining to pass urine
- Developing Nocturia, waking up more than twice to urinate
- These symptoms can lead to kidney infections, bladder stones, and a reduction in kidney function. Without proper treatment for BPH, a man can experience medical emergencies including kidney damage, frequent UTI, and the inability to urinate.
What You Should Know About Treatments for BPH
There are a wide variety of treatment options for an enlarged prostate. They depend upon the size of the prostate, your age, the symptoms, and your overall health. If your symptoms are mild, you and Dr. Simoncini or Dr. Shaba may decide to wait and monitor them.
Other treatment options include medications, minimally invasive procedures, or more invasive surgery which cause other unwanted side effects.
One of the newer promising therapy treatments is known as the UroLift System. Once you are screened to be a candidate, this Medicare covered treatment uses tiny implants to lift and hold the prostate away from the urethra so urine can flow again. This is performed in a 10 minute outpatient procedure without cutting or removing any part of the prostate.
Additional benefits of UroLift include preserving sexual function and having fewer side effects like incontinence.
One other new treatment is still under development known as Aquablation. This is a robot-assisted technique which uses ultrasound and water jets to remove parts of the prostate.
You no longer have to live with the limiting side effects of benign prostatic hyperplasia.