Answers from Board-Certified Urologist, Dr. Burrows
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, abbreviated as BPH, is a condition that affects many men and the size of their prostates. Men with an enlarged prostate are at risk for a number of concerning and frustrating symptoms, including difficulty while urinating, pain when urinating, or even accidental leakages of urine (urinary incontinence).
Fortunately, the urologists of Arizona Center for Vasectomy and Urology each possess extensive experience in diagnosing and treating BPH. During this process, many patients ask similar questions related to BPH, its symptoms, and methods commonly used to treat the condition, which is why our experts would like to offer some of their professional insights and answers.
What Causes BPH?
It is not perfectly clear as to what leads the prostate to grow larger and larger during a man’s life. Significant growth during puberty is expected and completely normal, though research shows that the prostate again begins slowly increasing in size from age 25 and continues throughout the man’s life.
Who Is at Risk for BPH?
Since gradual prostate growth is consistent among a large majority of men, it is extremely common for this condition to be diagnosed in those of an older age. Statistically speaking, BPH affects:
- 20% of men over 50
- 60% of men over 60
- 70% of men over 70
- 90% of men over 80
In addition to age, other risk factors include having a family history of BPH, being obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle that does not include regular exercise, having type 2 diabetes, and experiencing erectile dysfunction.
How Does Dr. Burrows Diagnose BPH?
Men typically have the health of their prostate evaluated during yearly physical examinations with their physician. This simple screening is often able to detect superficial abnormalities of the prostate, such as unusually large sizing.
Patients who schedule a consultation with Dr. Burrows regarding BPH will begin by thoroughly discussing their symptoms, personal medical history, and family medical history. A physical evaluation is often performed as well, and additional diagnostic tests may be ordered to analyze the functionality of the patient’s urinary system.
Do I Have to Undergo Treatment for BPH?
Not necessarily. Some patients may elect to hold off on treating their enlarged prostate and instead choose to monitor the progression of their symptoms over time. Dr. Burrows will typically suggest more frequent checkups at Arizona Center for Vasectomy and Urology to regularly assess the health of the prostate and determine if the patient’s BPH is worsening.
While men can choose to avoid treating their BPH, it is highly encouraged to speak with a specialist about treatment options if symptoms caused by the condition are negatively affecting daily tasks and activities.
What BPH Treatments Are Available?
Lifestyle changes and medications are often the first options recommended for men that experience mild symptoms caused by BPH. Reducing liquid intake, avoiding stimulants, and practicing pelvic floor strengthening exercises can all help patients regain a bit more control over their urinary functions, while some forms medications have shown to slow or completely stop the growth of the prostate.
Through new technological advancements within the healthcare industry, there are many minimally invasive procedures available to men suffering from more considerable urinary difficulties. These include:
- Transurethral microwave therapy
- High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)
- Rezūm™ Water Vapor Therapy
- The UroLift® System
In some instances, Dr. Burrows may suggest surgery to offer patients with a more complex case of BPH to achieve effective relief from their symptoms. These traditional surgical procedures include transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) as well as transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP). Given Dr. Burrows unique expertise in using the da Vinci Surgical System, it is possible to avoid open surgery in favor of minimally invasive techniques.
What Can Happen If BPH Is Left Untreated?
Most patients will not experience severe complications caused by an enlarged prostate. However, it is entirely possible for BPH to lead to daily dysfunctions in a man’s life as he struggles to manage worsening symptoms, or for this condition to lead to significant damage to the kidneys, urinary tract, or bladder.
Is BPH Related to Prostate Cancer?
No. Because BPH is a benign condition, its symptoms have absolutely nothing to do with cancerous cell growth of the prostate.