Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia 101

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition in which the prostate becomes enlarged. Although this condition is not typically life-threatening or dangerous, it can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms. Fortunately, effective treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia are available.

What Causes Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?

As a man gets older, his prostate naturally becomes larger. Scientists are not sure why this continued growth occurs, but it is believed to be the result of the natural hormonal changes that occur as men age.

Because the urethra passes through the middle of the prostate, an enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine, thus causing the symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia.

You may have a higher risk of developing this condition if you possess certain risk factors. For example, if you are obese or have diabetes, you have a higher chance of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia. This condition is also more common among people who have a family history of prostate problems.

Symptoms

Symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia may include:

  1. Frequent urination
  2. Urinary urgency
  3. Weak urine stream
  4. Straining during urination
  5. Dribbling at the end of urination
  6. Difficulty urinating
  7. Incomplete emptying of the bladder
  8. Blood in the urine
  9. Urinary tract infection

Seeking Treatment

The symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia can mimic other common conditions, such as narrowing of the urethra and urinary tract infections. For this reason, the only way to get a definitive diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia is to make an appointment with a urologist.

When you meet with a urologist for the first time, he or she will perform a physical examination and collect information about your medical history. The urologist may also order certain tests, such as a urine test, blood test, or neurological exam to confirm the diagnosis. Once you have been formally diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia, your doctor will explain your treatment options and help you make a decision. Available treatments for this condition include:

  1. Medication – Certain medications, such as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors or alpha blockers, may reduce the symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
  2. Minimally invasive procedures – Minimally invasive options include laser therapy, microwave therapy, and needle ablation.
  3. Surgical therapy – When other treatment options aren’t effective, resection of the prostate or complete prostatectomy may be required to eliminate the symptoms completely.

The experienced physicians at Georgia Urology will help you choose the option that is best for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.