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What are the benefits of watchful waiting for BPH?

The primary benefit of watchful waiting for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate is that a man avoids treatment that may have significant, adverse side effects. For example, some adverse effects of alpha-blocker drugs include dizziness, fatigue, and lightheadedness. Likewise, finasteride (Proscar) may cause sexual difficulties, and surgery may result in bleeding, infections, impotence, and ejaculatory problems. Because it is unknown which side effects may affect each person, the best strategy for reducing the risk of complications is to forgo treatment.

Also, using a watchful-waiting approach may actually result in an improvement of symptoms over time. One study found that nearly one-half of men with symptomatic BPH improved when given a placebo. This suggests that improvement is, in part, a matter of perception. You can take advantage of the power of the placebo by making some changes in your lifestyle habits that may improve urinary function. Treatment should be taught when necessary.

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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.