Treatments for BPH
Medically reviewed by Dr. J. Kellogg Parsons M.D
Dozens of treatment options are available for you once you have been given a diagnosis of an enlarged prostate. The best treatment of all, of course, is no treatment, and it may be an option that fits your situation. If it doesn’t, then you and your doctor can discuss all of the other treatments for BPH that are available.
Here’s a brief overview of treatment options for an enlarged prostate:
Watchful Waiting (Doing Nothing)
For many men, the first step is a “wait and see” or watchful waiting option. This is the advice your doctor may give you once it’s been determined that you do not have another disease and that BPH is the diagnosis. Most men with an enlarged prostate fit into this category. If your BPH symptoms are mild and tolerable, you and your doctor may decide that no further BPH treatments are required at this time, and so you’ll just wait to see if anything new develops. If your situation changes at any time, contact your physician for an appointment.
Medications and Drugs for BPH
If you are experiencing bothersome symptoms, then you may elect to try a medication. Medications for BPH treatment include alpha-blockers to relax the muscles in the prostate and the neck of the bladder so that urine flows more easily, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors to slow the growth of the prostate and cause it to shrink by altering the actions of certain male hormones, anticholinergics that can help with urge incontinence, and the phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor tadalafil (Cialis), which can be used to treat both an enlarged prostate and erectile dysfunction. An additional drug that combines an alpha-blocker and a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor also is available.
Minimally Invasive Nonsurgical Procedures for BPH
If none of the medications for an enlarged prostate provide sufficient symptom relief, then your doctor may recommend one of the following BPH treatments to keep the urethra open:
- Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA)
- Transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT)
- Photoselective vaporization of the prostate (PVP)
- Interstitial laser therapy
- Transurethral dilation (TUBD)
- Prostatic urethral lift (PAE)
- Prostatic arterial embolization (PAE)
- High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)
Surgery for an Enlarged Prostate
The good news is that advances in medical technology have made surgery for BPH less common, now that clinicians can blast, vaporize, and burn away extra prostate tissue using minimally invasive nonsurgical solutions. But surgery for an enlarged prostate is still an option for men who may have severe symptoms that do not respond to other approaches or who have complications that make surgery a wiser choice. Surgical procedures available to deal with BPH include:
- Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP)
- Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
- Transurethral vaporization of the prostate (TVP)
- Prostatectomy (removal of the prostate)
Using Natural and Alternative Treatments for BPH
Non-conventional and natural treatments for BPH combine a number of approaches including nutrition and supplements, exercise, lifestyle changes, hormone management and stress reduction. The purpose of this approach is to give the body and immune system the tools it needs to manage inflammation and control the hormonal actions that can cause excessive prostate growth.