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How do I Choose the Best Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy Treatment?

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  • Written By: Bobbie Fredericks
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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Treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), the harmless enlargement of the prostate gland, is based on the severity of your symptoms and their impact on your daily life, as well as your general health. Possible treatments include medication, herbal supplements, and lifestyle changes. Surgery may be recommended for more severe enlargement. The severity of symptoms depends on the degree of enlargement.

Changes in lifestyle are suitable for the treatment of very mild cases of BPH. They are also helpful when used in conjunction with other benign prostatic hypertrophy treatment options for more serious cases. Substances that may irritate the bladder, such as alcohol and caffeine, should be avoided. Patients should try to urinate once every three hours. Liquids should not be consumed after your evening meal.

A common benign prostatic hypertrophy treatment is medication. There are several medications available to treat the various symptoms of BPH. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors slowly shrink the prostate, which is most noticeable in patients with very enlarged prostates. Alpha-blockers help relax muscles in the bladder to help urine flow more freely. Anticholinergics increase the bladder's capacity so urination is not as frequent.

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There are several herbal supplements used for benign prostatic hypertrophy treatment. Saw palmetto is the most popular herbal treatment, and is said to shrink the prostate, but studies have not proven this claim. Pygeum is another popular supplement and has been clinically shown to increase urinary flow. Beta-sitosterol is said to relieve urinary symptoms, but has not been clinically proven to do so.

Patients with more severe symptoms may wish to undergo a minimally invasive office procedure for benign prostatic hypertrophy treatment. Laser therapy, done by threading a thin tube through the urethra, is a quick and effective way to shrink the prostate. Microwave thermal therapy is used for men with less severe symptoms and is performed in much the same way as laser therapy. Needle ablation uses a needle which emits radiofrequency energy to destroy excess tissue. Transurethral resection of the prostate uses a sharp instrument to scrape away parts of the prostate and is recommended for patients who have had previous prostate surgery.

Prostatectomy is done in cases of extreme enlargement or very severe symptoms. An incision is made in the abdomen and all or part of the prostate is removed. This is a major surgical operation requiring general or spinal anesthesia. Recovery takes from several weeks to a few months. Complications include urinary incontinence, lack of ejaculation during orgasm, and narrowing of the urethra.

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