Treatment options for an enlarged prostate range from conservative to surgical.
Treatment options for enlarged prostate are generally determined by the patient’s overall health, the severity of their symptoms, and personal preference. Fortunately, there are several proven treatment options which can help to alleviate symptoms or correct the problem.
Conservative treatment options
Watchful waiting – This is a method of simply observing the patient, without any specific treatment. It is a reasonable consideration for patients who have minimal symptoms or other medical conditions that could make treatment risky. Over the course of watchful waiting, the urologist continues to assess symptoms to ensure that no kidney or bladder problems develop.
Medications – There are a variety of effective medications to choose from. Patients may be good candidates for drug therapy under the following conditions:
- The patient is having more bothersome symptoms.
- The patient’s bladder is still emptying fairly well.
- Kidney function is good.
- The patient does not want to undergo any procedures or surgery.
Alpha blockers are drugs that help relax the muscles in and around the prostate gland while relieving mild to moderate symptoms. Drugs such as Flomax and Uroxatralare are commonly prescribed. Another category of drugs includes Proscar and Avodart. These drugs help relieve symptoms by shrinking the prostate.
Minimally invasive treatment options
For patients who do not want to take medication long-term, or have tried medication without success, there are minimally invasive procedures a that may provide an effective alternative to surgery.
Prostiva – This in-office procedure destroys excess prostate tissue that is blocking the flow of urine. During the procedure, a small probe is passed through the urethra to the excess tissue. Electrodes located at the tip of the probe deliver low-level radio frequency energy to the tissue. This energy generates heat which destroys excess tissue and allows a better flow of urine. By correcting the flow, symptoms should be minimized or completely eliminated.
Rezum Water Vapor Therapy – This treatment option uses the thermal energy in water vapor (super-heated steam) to eliminate excess prostate tissue. During this in-office procedure, a transurethral scope is fed through the urethra to the areas of excess tissue where super-heated steam is released to destroy it.
UroLift – During this procedure, a delivery device is fed through the urethra to the area of excess tissue. Rather than using a steam or heating method, tiny implants are placed into the tissue to pull it back. This method creates a channel for urine to flow more naturally.
Surgical treatment options
Some men choose surgical treatment based on the severity of their symptoms, or their desire for a more permanent solution. Surgical options are performed in a hospital or surgical center under general anesthesia. These options include:
TURP – A transurethral resection of the prostate takes place by inserting a scope through the urethra to the excess prostate tissue. The tissue is then carefully cut away with a small wire loop or laser in order to open up urine flow. TURP has been a long-term, effective standard of care. However, it can have disadvantages such as pain, and blood loss.
Olympus button – Similar to TURP, this procedure takes place by inserting a scope through the urethra to the excess prostate tissue where a small button-shaped instrument is used to vaporize excess tissue.
Green Light Laser – This is a newer technology in which a tiny camera is passed through the urethra, as the surgeon directs a laser to vaporize the excess prostate tissue. This laser removes the same amount of prostate tissue as the TURP method with less pain and virtually no bleeding. Unless there are co-morbidity concerns, patients are able to return home the same day. The Green Light Laser is a consideration for patients with severe symptoms, who have failed more conservative therapy, or who want quick relief without taking medicine.
Although BPH is a common problem for men, it is one that can be managed. With medication, minimally invasive therapies, or surgical options, men can be on their way to improved urinary health. If you would like to be evaluated by a urologist for enlarged prostate, contact Urology Austin to schedule an appointment.