Frequently Asked Questions About Enlarged Prostate/BPH

Q: How common is BPH in men?

A: BPH or enlarged prostate is quite common as men age. In fact, according to the National Association for Continence, as many as 50% of men experience symptoms of an enlarged prostate by age 60, and 90% of men will report symptoms by age 85.

 

Q: Does an enlarged prostate mean I have prostate cancer?

A: No. BPH is a benign (non-cancerous) and common condition in men as they age and does not indicate prostate cancer. Your doctor will perform a thorough physical evaluation and perform tests such as a digital rectal exam and PSA test to rule out other conditions that could be causing your urinary symptoms, including prostate cancer. 

 

Q: What are the treatment options for enlarged prostate?

A: While there is no cure for BPH, there are treatments that are focused on alleviating the symptoms. For mild symptoms, men can try lifestyle changes such as changes to diet. Certain medications may help relieve urinary symptoms and Chesapeake Urology physicians are also experienced in innovative, minimally invasive procedures including laser techniques to help eliminate most urinary symptoms and restore quality of life without the need for life-long medications.

 

Q: What are the advantages and side effects of BPH medications?

A:Alpha blockers, which are medications originally used to treat high blood pressure, usually work well to reduce urinary symptoms of BPH, but do not shrink the prostate. Side effects may include headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue and ejaculatory dysfunction. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors work by increasing urinary flow, particularly in men with very enlarged prostates. This medication also reduces the occurrence of the sudden inability to urinate in some men. Side effects are often sexual in nature and typically include: erectile dysfunction, decreased libido and reduced semen release during ejaculation.

 

Q: What are the risks associated with minimally invasive procedures to treat BPH?

A: As with any procedure, there are some risks associated with each technique to treat BPH including:

  • Laser vaporization of the prostate (GreenLight™ Laser Therapy): Urinary tract infection (UTI) and retrograde ejaculation
  • Radio frequency therapy: obstruction (blockage); temporary bleeding, pain/discomfort; urinary tract infection

  • Transurethral microwave therapy (Cooled ThermoTherapy™): Urinary tract infection; temporary pain, bleeding or discomfort

  • Transurethral resection of the prostate and transurethral vaporization (TURP and TUVP): clots; retrograde ejaculation (semen released through ejaculation goes into the bladder rather than out of the penis, which can inhibit fertility); erectile dysfunction, which is a less common side effect; mild hematuria; urinary tract infection; temporary difficult urinating, which usually resolves a few days after the procedure

  • Urolift System: temporary urinary urgency; temporary pelvic pain