When you have an enlarged prostate and you're trying to decide what to do next, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. People react in their own ways to the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a common condition in men as they age. If the symptoms don't bother you too much and you haven't had any complications, you can choose to have you and your doctor monitor things regularly. This means seeing your doctor once a year, or sooner if your symptoms change.
From there, you can talk to them about medications, supplements, or surgeries. Medication is the most common treatment for mild to moderate symptoms of prostate enlargement. These medications relax the muscles of the neck, the bladder and the muscle fibers of the prostate, making it easier to urinate. There are many different treatment options for BPH, ranging from behavioral medications to surgery. A minimally invasive option is bipolar prostate enucleation, or BiPoLEP. Men with very enlarged prostates may take more than one medication, called combination therapy, to reduce the need for surgery.
However, men who take both can also suffer from the side effects of both drugs. There are three types of medications available to treat moderate BPH. Each one works differently in the body and each has its own side effects. Supplements are another option for treating an enlarged prostate. They are not as regulated as the medications your doctor prescribes.
This means that their safety, quality and effects may vary. Consult your doctor before you start taking any supplement. They can cause problems with prescription drugs, treatments, or tests you may need. Sometimes BPH doesn't respond well enough to lifestyle changes, medications, or supplements. If that's true for you, there are minimally invasive procedures and surgical options available.
With minimally invasive procedures, doctors make much smaller cuts or may work with probes that are inserted through the penis. These types of treatments often result in faster recoveries and less pain and scarring. Traditional open surgery is the other option. You should talk to your doctor about what's best for you. Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) is a nonsurgical procedure that reduces the blood supply to the prostate, reducing its size and symptoms.
An interventional radiologist, who uses x-rays and other diagnostic imaging techniques to look inside the body and treat conditions without surgery, performs the PAE. At Johns Hopkins, our interventional radiologists are trained and experienced in performing this technically challenging procedure. Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a surgical procedure used to treat an enlarged prostate. The surgeon inserts implants that keep the enlarged prostate away from the urethra so that it doesn't get blocked. An enlarged prostate can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms, such as a weak urine flow, a stream of urine that starts and stops, getting up frequently at night to urinate, and an inability to evacuate the bladder. Treatment for an enlarged prostate will depend on the severity of the symptoms that affect your quality of life. Eating more fiber (found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains) can help you avoid constipation, which can put pressure on your bladder and worsen symptoms of an enlarged prostate.