Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in which the male prostate gland interferes with the outflow of urine from the bladder. It is the most common prostate problem for men 50 and older. BPH is caused by an enlarged prostate that blocks the flow of urine. The enlarged prostate pinches the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the body.
The symptoms of BPH are similar to what happens when you step on a running hose. The hose becomes pinched, blocking the flow of water and weakening the stream coming out. People dealing with BPH will have trouble starting to urinate and a weak urine stream. They will strain to urinate, with the flow stopping and starting several times. Another major symptom is frequent urination. Frequent, strong urges to urinate often disrupt sleep and everyday life. This is the symptom that brings men to their urologist.
Once an appointment is made with the urologist, doctor and patient can begin discussing symptoms and the diagnostic process. If the patient’s complaints are consistent with BPH, the urologist will proceed with a prostate exam. There are also other simple, non-invasive tests that can be completed at the urologist’s office that will indicate the patient’s urine flow and ability to empty his bladder. More sophisticated testing is available if additional data on the patient’s BPH issue is needed. For example, fiber optic scope evaluations give the urologist the most detailed picture of the patient’s BPH, which can then be used to devise the best treatment plan.
Treatment for BPH depends on many factors. For some men, mild symptoms can be managed with slight lifestyle changes and without medical intervention. For men with more severe symptoms, there are a variety of treatment options available. Oral medications can help relax the muscles around the prostate to allow easier urine flow. In serious cases, when medication is not enough, there are surgeries that can treat BPH. One cutting-edge option, that is less invasive than surgery and carries fewer side effects than medication, is Urolift. This minimally invasive procedure implants a stint in the urethra that opens the flow of urine and minimizes the symptoms of BPH.
BPH is a common medical issue that affects men and impacts their lives. As Dr. David S. Harris explains, “In general, many of our guys can tell you every bathroom from Lowe’s to Publix.” Living with BPH means having to plan their lives around the frequent and urgent need to urinate. The urologists at the Advanced Urology Institute work closely with patients to find the best way to solve their BPH-related issues.