You’ve probably seen the medicine commercials where men in their fifties are shown running from the golf course in search of a bathroom. The voiceover says that they are suffering from a condition called BPH, or as it’s known in the medical community, benign prostatic hyperplasia. BPH is defined quite simply as an enlarged prostate and it is common among middle aged men. While BPH is not a death sentence, it does cause a litany of symptoms which can range from a mere annoyance to downright embarrassing. Understanding BPH is an important step in the treatment for those men who have been diagnosed.
As stated before, BPH is an enlargement of the prostate. Basically what happens is the prostate grows so large that it restricts the flow of urine through the urethra. Most studies done on patients who have BPH have concluded that the prostate can begin to grow in patients as young as 30 and but symptoms usually do not become problematic until around age 50. The general consensus is that the underlying cause of BPH is androgens, which are hormones specific to men such as testosterone. Urologists, like those at Urology Specialty Care in Miami, are the specialists who diagnose and treat BPH.
The symptoms of BPH can be extensive, although some patients only experience a few of them. Some of the most frequent and obvious symptoms include a weak urine stream, the frequent urge to go, difficulty starting the urine stream, and in some cases, pain while urinating. These symptoms are annoying at best and can sometimes be downright miserable. One of the most common complaints of men with BPH is nocturia, when you get up at night to urinate so frequently that it disrupts sleep.
BPH is generally diagnosed via rectal examination of the prostate, which reveals its enlargement. In many cases, the symptoms of BPH are very similar to those of prostate cancer thus the procedures for diagnosis are very similar. Usually an ultrasound is performed to rule out cancer. In some cases a biopsy may be necessary.
There are medications that can control BPH, such as alpha blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. Both of these work to reduce the level of androgens in the body. It is possible to control the symptoms of BPH without the use of drugs. One obvious thing is reducing liquid intake before sleep. This will help control frequently going at night. Some severe cases of BPH can require surgery. A urologist may suggest a procedure called transurethral resection of the prostate. Essentially this means that a piece of the prostate is removed through the urethra allowing for improved urine flow.
Every urologist in Miami can treat BPH, but only Urology Specialty Care has the reputation for being the center of excellence in South Florida.