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How is benign prostatic hyperplasia treated?

Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD
Psychiatry
There are several treatment options for BPH available and symptoms should be evaluated as soon as possible. Some degree of BPH is almost always present if a man gets old enough, but a combination of medications and lifestyle changes helps keep the symptoms manageable. In some cases, BPH can convert into prostate cancer, so all cases should be evaluated by an urologist and followed periodically.  The earlier that any cancer is found, the more easily and completely it can be treated and the better their prognosis.
In Europe, the use of alpha-blockers to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate has increased, especially since the introduction of tamsulosin, which is easier to take and has fewer side effects. (In the United States, alpha-blockers already make up 85% of prescriptions for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)).

Doctors, especially in Germany and France, prescribe plant (herbal) extracts -- usually saw palmetto -- more commonly than in the United States. Finasteride use has remained fairly constant. Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is the most commonly used surgical treatment -- in both the United States and Europe. Minimally invasive techniques, which make up about 6% to 9% of surgeries, are not yet readily performed on either continent, but evidence is accumulating and techniques are being developed that may change this.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.