As men get older, it is common for the prostate gland to enlarge and impede urinary function. The medical term for this is benign prostatic hypertrophy. The causes of BPH aren’t entirely understood, but the effects are frequently felt in the form of inconvenient, embarrassing, and sometimes painful urinary dysfunction, such as urinary tract infections or bladder stones. Fortunately, for men who suffer from symptoms of BPH, there are a number of treatment options available.
Taking supplements can be risky because they have not always been tested to prove that they are effective and do not cause side effects. Saw palmetto is a commonly used supplement, and some studies have found it effective. If you decide to start a supplement for prostate symptoms, talk to your doctor first.
Your doctor may be able to prescribe you a medication that may help to relieve your symptoms. There are three types of prostate drugs commonly available, and although they work in different ways, they have all been proven effective in reducing symptoms:
- 5-ARIs: Prevent prostate growth and help shrink an enlarged prostate
- PDE5 Inhibitors: Increase flow rate and improve prostate symptom score
- Alpha Blockers: Relax bladder and prostate muscles
Doctors and patients usually decide to try surgery for BPH when other treatment options do not produce improvement. One popular surgical option is laser therapy. Medical laser manufacturers have developed revolutionary surgical equipment that is noninvasive, works right away to relieve symptoms by removing overgrown prostate tissue, and poses less risk of side effects. While most surgical options to treat BPH are noninvasive, open surgery is also an option.
If your symptoms are not too serious, you may choose to employ watchful waiting, during which you monitor your symptoms and report any changes to your primary care physician. Your doctor can answer any questions you may have about your BPH symptoms and treatment options.