Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
If you have benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, your prostate gland is enlarged.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in men.
Just beneath your bladder, your prostate gland surrounds your urethra, the tube through which urine and semen exit your body.
Your seminal vesicles and prostate make fluid that combines with sperm cells to create semen.
During normal urination, urine flows from your bladder through the part of your urethra inside your prostate,
then through the rest of your urethra to leave your body.
For unknown reasons, your prostate gland may enlarge as you get older.
If you have benign prostatic hyperplasia, your prostate may grow large enough to narrow or block the part of your urethra that runs through it.
As a result, your enlarged prostate may slow or block the urine flow out of your body when you urinate.
The symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia include:
frequent urination or urge to urinate, especially at night;
a weak, or interrupted urine stream; and straining to urinate.
Overtime, untreated benign prostatic hyperplasia may cause the following complications:
inability to urinate, damage to your bladder and kidneys,
bladder infections, bladder stones, and urine leakage called incontinence.
If you have benign prostatic hyperplasia with mild or no symptoms, your doctor may recommend watchful waiting,
which includes getting your prostate checked every year to make sure your symptoms or health are not getting worse.
If you have moderate symptoms that bother you, your doctor may recommend medication, such as alpha-blockers.
Alpha-blockers relax muscle tissue in the neck of your bladder and in the urethra to improve your urine flow.
Five alpha reductase inhibitors may also improve urine flow over several months by reducing the size of your prostate.
You may receive a combination therapy of both types of drugs.
If medication isn’t relieving your symptoms,
your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure called transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP.
During this procedure, your surgeon will insert an instrument, called a cystoscope, through your urethra to reach your prostate.
Then, a wire tool, called a resectoscope, will be inserted through the cystoscope to shave off tissue, which will widen your urethra.
Other minimally invasive variations on this type of procedure use lasers,
microwaves, radio waves, or electrical energy from tools inserted through the cystoscope to remove some or all of your prostate gland.
If your prostate is very large, your doctor may recommend an open prostatectomy procedure.
In open prostatectomy, your surgeon will make an incision in your lower abdomen.
After exposing your prostate, your surgeon will make an incision in its outer capsule.
Next, the tissue inside your prostate will be removed,
and the capsule incision will be closed with sutures.
Finally, your skin incision will be closed with sutures or staples.
You can’t prevent benign prostatic hyperplasia, but the following lifestyle changes can make your symptoms less severe:
Avoid medication that can make it harder for you to urinate, such as antihistamines and decongestants.
Stop drinking fluids for a few hours before bedtime. Avoid drinking alcohol or fluids that contain caffeine.
Try to empty your bladder by double voiding. To double void, urinate, wait a few minutes, and then try to urinate again.