Treatment for Enlarged Prostate
There are a number of different treatment options for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), enlarged prostate. Treatments include surgery, non-invasive medical interventions and medications. Some people find that certain supplements help relieve the symptoms.
First, talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor and decide which treatment, if any, is best for you. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of each treatment and side effects of any medications. If you choose to take supplements, it is still important to discuss these with your doctor.
You might want to delay treatment
Treatment isn’t always necessary. You might have mild symptoms and prefer to wait and see – if the symptoms worsen you can begin treatment but for now, if the symptoms don’t bother you or interfere with your life, you might want to delay treatment.
High blood pressure medication may help
A group of medications called alpha-blockers, originally used to treat high blood pressure, help to relax the muscles of the prostate and bladder and improve urine flow. These medications help reduce symptoms but they do not reduce the size of the prostate. Side effects can include headaches, dizziness, fatigue and ED.
Medications called 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors can increase urine flow and shrink the size of the prostate. However, these medications must be taken indefinitely. They might work well for men with a large prostate. Side effects can include ED, reduced libido and reduced semen during ejaculation. In men with a large prostate, these medications are sometimes combined with alpha-blockers.
Minimally invasive procedures
Transurethral needle Ablation (TUNA) is a minimally invasive procedure that uses low-level frequency radio waves to kill some of the prostate tissue. Once the prostate shrinks, the symptoms are reduced. Another procedure is Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy (TUMT) which uses high-frequency radio ways to thermally injure the prostate. This type of therapy has seen advances in the past several years however, there are still concerns and this is not used as often as it has been in the past.
If medication or noninvasive treatments do not offer relief, your doctor might suggest surgery. There are several different types of surgery, where some of the prostate is removed, mainly the inner portion, to help reduce the size of the prostate and therefore reduce the associated symptoms.
There are a number of herbal supplements that are sometimes used to combat the symptoms of BPH. The American Urological Association does not recommend any herbal supplement to treat BPH and there is conflicting evidence on whether these treatments work. The following slides will highlight a few of these supplements.
Saw palmetto is a small palm tree found in the eastern United States. Some small studies have shown improvement in BPH symptoms after taking this supplement but other studies have not shown any improvement of symptoms. It can cause stomach upset.
Rye Grass Pollen Extract
Rye Grass Pollen Extract is made from three different types of grass pollen – rye, timothy and corn. A review of previous studies, published in BJU in 2000, showed that this supplement helped reduce the symptoms of BPH, including the need to urinate during the night. Men in the study were given either the extract or a placebo.
Stinging Nettle is commonly used in Europe for BPH. A number of studies have shown that it can be helpful in reducing symptoms; however, a review of these studies, published in Phytomedicine in 2007, indicated further research was needed. Discuss with your doctor on which treatment options work best for you.