Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is a common prostate condition affecting older men. BPH is essentially a non-cancerous swelling of the prostate gland. Since the prostate gland develops wrapped around the upper portion of the urethra, if it swells, negative side-effects can result. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy.
The treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia can take many different directions. Doctors are still unsure whether or not early recognition is necessary in the successful diagnosis and treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, as almost one third of the mild cases reported cleared themselves up without any need for treatment, medication or surgery.
Most doctors would recommend regular checkups to look for a worsening condition and keep an eye out for early symptoms, but only advises treatment once the case has made the patient uncomfortable or poses a health risk.
Since benign prostatic hyperplasia can cause infections of the urinary tract, doctors usually begin BPH treatment with a regimen of antibiotics to take care of any possible infection.
Most cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia are mild enough to be treated with prescription medication and do not require surgery. Finasteride, (Proscar) and dutasteride, (Avodart) are two such drugs that are used to prevent further prostate growth and in some cases actually shrink the prostate gland back to a less obstructive size. These medicines work by hindering the production of dihydrotestosterone, a substance derived from testosterone that can retain high levels in the prostate even as the aging body begins to produce less and less of the testosterone itself.
Another class of benign prostatic hyperplasia drugs are known as alpha blockers. These medicines, including terazosin, (Hytrin) doxazosin, (Cardura) tamsulosin, (Flomax) and alfuzosin (Uroxatral) work by relaxing muscles in the prostate and neck of the bladder. This improves the flow of urine by widening the bladder outlet. Terazosin and doxazosin were both originally designed to treat high blood pressure.
A recent study has shown also that using finasteride, (Proscar) and doxazosin, (Cardura) together greatly increases the effect of the treatment on slowing or reversing prostate swelling. When used together, your chances of stopping the progression of BPH are almost double that of using either medication by itself.
The surgery that is used to correct more severe cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia is known as transurethral resection of the prostate, and a portion of the prostate gland is actually removed in order to relieve the pressure on the urethra and restore proper urine flow. An instrument is inserted into the urethra in order to remove the portion of the prostate that obstructs urine flow.
Anesthesia is necessary, and a catheter is usually used in order to remove blood or blood clots from the bladder. Patients are often required to remain in the hospital for a day or two for observation. Side effects from the surgery include frequent urination due to swelling, and strenuous activity and sexual intercourse should be avoided for approximately six weeks. Side effects from the surgery should disappear in that time.