Treatments & Therapies

Treatment of an enlarged prostate – treatment, effects & risks

Treatment of an enlarged prostate

Dripping urine, a weak stream of urine or the urge to urinate at night are common symptoms of an enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate is usually a benign enlargement of the prostate (prostate gland) and has nothing to do with prostate cancer. 

This disease is also known as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and is now a widespread disease. Prevalence increases with age, and more than half of men over the age of 60 suffer from BPH. You can find out what you need to know about the cause, symptoms and therapies here.

What is an enlarged prostate?

An enlarged prostate is usually a benign enlargement of the male prostate gland. The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that is about four centimeters in size. It surrounds the urethra , which carries urine from the bladder through the prostate and penis, in a ring and sits just below the urinary bladder .

The prostate secretes a secretion that is responsible for the mobility of the semen. However, it can be observed that the interior of the prostate tissue often overgrows with age. This then leads to an enlarged prostate.

Symptoms of an enlarged prostate

The first symptoms appear especially when urinating. In addition to the urge to urinate at night, incomplete emptying of the bladder, weak urination or dribbling urination are symptoms of BPH.

Nocturnal urge to urinate

The first symptoms are usually the urge to urinate at night as well as the delayed start of urination. In addition, the stream of urine becomes weaker and the urge to urinate is often interrupted. It takes much longer for the bladder to be emptied and it often happens that there is still dribbling after urinating. The problem is that the muscles of the bladder have to work so much more, which means that they can be damaged over time and a so-called bar bladder develops.

Bladder emptying is incomplete

If no immediate action is taken, more and more symptoms will appear. As it progresses, it is almost impossible to completely empty the bladder. This means that there is always residual urine in the bladder, which then leads to urinary congestion and infections. Bladder infections or urethritis are then no longer uncommon. Kidney damage can also occur.

Complications if left untreated

Those who do not seek treatment must expect complete urinary retention. This means that urination is no longer possible. Complete urinary retention is not only associated with very severe pain, but also with urinary incontinence. There is also a risk that the ureters and kidneys can be permanently damaged, leading to chronic kidney weakness and kidney failure.

Problems with urination should always be clarified by a doctor. Because the symptoms can also indicate a malignant growth of the prostate (prostate cancer). It is therefore all the more important to see a doctor if you have any symptoms.

Causes of an enlarged prostate

The causes of an enlarged prostate are age-related. The older you get, the more your body adjusts. Hormone production is slowed and there is an imbalance between male testosterone and female estrogen.

This imbalance then causes the prostate tissue to grow and proliferate. The enlargement puts more pressure on the urethra or bladder, causing the urge to urinate at night.

Treatment of enlarged prostate

There are several treatment options for BPH. In addition to drug treatment, surgery is also an option. As a rule, however, drug treatment usually takes place. Only about 20% of those affected require surgery.

Drug treatment of BPH

There are various active ingredients that are used in drug treatment. On the one hand, there would be the so-called alpha blockers, which relax the muscles in the urogenital tract and thus ensure easier urination. Furthermore, alfuzosin, tamusulosin, terazosin or doxazusin are used, which unfortunately only treat the symptoms but cannot influence the size of the prostate.

Finasteride and dutasteride are drugs that can affect the growth of the prostate gland, but also have very serious side effects. Years of loss of libido, erectile dysfunction and ejaculation problems are not uncommon with these active ingredients. Depression and suicidal thoughts are also triggered by the active ingredients. For this reason, the Federal Office for Drugs and Medical Devices warns against these substances.

Operative procedures of a BPH

There are different procedures for an enlarged prostate. An increasingly popular surgical method is holmium laser enucleation (HoLEP), which has become more and more popular since 2006. The advantage of this procedure is that an open operation is avoided and the disadvantages of conventional resection procedures can be significantly minimized.

The risk of intraoperative bleeding and postoperative bleeding is extremely low. At the same time, this also means that the catheter residence time and the hospital stay are very short and the patients can go home no later than the 3rd day after the operation.

Natural remedies for enlarged prostate

Of course, there are also various natural remedies that can support conventional medical therapy. However, it is important here that the intake is clarified with the doctor treating you so that there are no interactions with the medication. In addition, no self-treatment should be carried out, since the symptoms could also indicate prostate cancer . Therefore, a doctor should always be consulted.

Pumpkin seeds, for example, have proven to be helpful. According to scientists, they can influence the metabolic process in the tissue of the prostate. However, it is not known whether this can actually inhibit growth.

Nettle root, rye pollen or sabal fruit are also popular remedies for prostate problems. But even here there is no scientific evidence that the swelling of the prostate can be reduced.

preventive measures

Everyone can do something themselves to prevent an enlarged prostate.

  • The most important thing is that the urge to urinate is not suppressed and the bladder is not overfilled.
  • Frequent and complete emptying of the bladder is recommended.
  • You should also avoid alcohol or hot spices and carbonated drinks.
  • Occasional sitz baths are recommended.
  • Regular bowel movements also ensure that there is no additional pressure on the urinary tract and bladder.
  • Body weight is also important. Being overweight can adversely affect an enlarged prostate.
  • A high-fiber diet, physical activity and plenty of exercise are recommended.
  • From the age of 45, the early detection examination of the prostate should be used. Thus, it can be quickly recognized whether the prostate is enlarged.

As a rule, an enlarged prostate is not dangerous if it is recognized and treated early. Therefore, you should consult a doctor at the first symptoms and have the symptoms clarified.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.