BPH, which stands for benign prostatic hyperplasia, is a common condition characterized by an enlarged prostate.
During puberty, the prostate gland experiences a massive growth spurt. As men age, the prostate gland undergoes periodic growth stages. After age 25, the majority of men experience continual gland enlargement. The prostate gland is divided into three distinct zones, which include:
BPH appears to stimulate cellular growth within the central zone. The overgrowth of cells pushes past acceptable size dimensions, which often results in urethra constriction, difficulty fully voiding the bladder, and reducing urine flow. While over one-third of men 50 years old and older experience BPH, it doesn’t increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Without treatment, an enlarged prostate not only impacts quality of life, but increases the risk of developing bladder stones, urinary tract infections, and kidney damage. Advancements in BPH treatments make treating this common condition not only effective, but tailored to relieve specific symptoms.
Lifestyle Remedies for an Enlarged Prostate
For mild cases of BPH, treatment often includes a mixture of lifestyle alterations and medication therapy. While adopting and excluding certain activities may not cure BPH, it is possible to mediate symptom severity of an enlarged prostate. These include:
- Minimizing fluid intake up to two hours prior to bedtime
- Reducing or eliminating alcohol and caffeine beverages, which are known to cause bladder irritation and increase symptom severity
- Urinating as soon as you feel the sensation to evacuate your bladder
- Shedding excess body fat and adopting a healthy, plant-based diet
- Performing pelvic floor exercises to strengthen this muscle group
Medication Therapies for an Enlarged Prostate Gland
The most common treatment plan for mild and moderate BPH involves medication therapy. The most commonly prescribed medicines include:
- Alpha Blockers – This medication calms symptom severity by reducing tension in muscles around the bladder neck and prostate, which enhances the ease and efficiency of urination.
- 5-Alpha-Reductase Inhibitors – Minimizes the production of DHT, which is a hormone believed to encourage prostate growth.
- Tadalafil – Traditionally prescribed for erectile dysfunction, this medication is noted as helping to shrink the prostate gland.
Surgical Procedures for BPH Relief
If BPH doesn’t respond to medication, minimally invasive procedures are often recommended. Surgical intervention is also suggested for men with urethral stricture disease, persistent urinary tract infections, or if they have a neurological disorder. The most common surgical procedures include:
- Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) – The inner portion of the prostate is removed by inserting a lighted scope through the urethra. Symptom improvement is often immediate.
- Transurethral Incision of the Prostate (TUIP) – Up to two small incisions are made in the prostate, which reduces pressure on the urethra for easier evacuation.
- Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy (TUMT) – Reduces prostate size by sending microwave energy into the prostate, which destroys its inner tissue.
- Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA) – Needles are inserted into the prostate via a urethral scope. Radio waves are sent into the needles, which eliminates excess tissue for symptom relief.