How to Treat Prostate Disease


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is extremely com­mon in older men. It affects about half the men over age 60 and 90 percent of men who are 85 years old. BPH can cause serious urinary problems because it can interfere with the flow of urine. Having BPH does not make you more likely to get prostate cancer, although you can have both conditions.

Your prostate surrounds your urethra at the point where it leaves the bladder. Your urethra’s job is to carry urine and semen out of your body. Your prostate’s main job is to contribute fluid to the semen.

Prostate Disease

When your prostate develops hyperplasia, which means it has too many cells and is enlarged, it can put the squeeze on your urethra, making urination more dif­ficult. This can cause your urine to back up into your bladder, making infection more likely. The increased pressure on your kidneys or the spread of infection from your bladder to your kidneys can cause kidney damage. You may also develop painful bladder stones.

Occasionally, men with BPH find they are suddenly unable to urinate at all. This is called acute urinary retention, and it requires immediate medical attention. Your doctor will insert a catheter to drain the urine from your bladder.

Treatment options for BPH include watchful waiting, medication, and surgery. If your BPH is only causing you some inconvenience because of your frequent trips to the bathroom, you may decide to opt for watchful waiting. This simply means doing nothing while keeping a close eye on your prostate by having regular checkups with your doctor.

Medicine for the treatment of BPH hasn’t been around long, so the long-term effects are still being studied. Early research finds that prostate drugs improve symp­toms in about 30 to 60 percent of the men who take them. Finasteride, the most common drug used to treat BPH, seems to be effective and has few side effects. Of the men who take it, 3 to 4 percent may experience impotence.

When BPH is causing serious urinary problems, your doctor may encourage you to have your prostate surgical­ly removed, called prostatectomy. A prostatectomy for BPH usually removes only the inner tissue of the prostate (simple prostatectomy), while one done for prostate can­cer removes the entire organ (radical prostatectomy).

Surgery usually offers the best chance for relief from urinary symptoms, but it may not be a cure-all. A prostatectomy will not correct bladder damage suffered as a result of your BPH, so you may continue to have symptoms. Surgery also can cause long-term side effects, including impotence, incontinence, and retrograde ejacu­lation. This is when your semen ejaculates back into your bladder instead of out your penis. A second opera­tion is required in about 10 percent of the men who have prostatectomies.

The future may be brighter. Recent advances in surgi­cal procedures might reduce the chances of these side effects.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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