BPH (Enlarged Prostate)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. It is a common side effect of aging. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that wraps around the urethra (the tube that transports urine from the bladder). As it enlarges, the prostate can put pressure on the urethra, causing symptoms such as a frequent need to urinate, weak urine flow, and difficulty starting or stopping the flow of urine. More severe cases of BPH can cause recurrent bladder infections, bladder and kidney stones, urine retention, and kidney failure.
BPH is treated based on how debilitating its effects are on the patient. Mild cases are simply monitored or treated with behavior modifications such as drinking small amounts of fluid more often, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, bladder training, and taking herbal supplements like saw palmetto. Medications can also be prescribed to help with symptoms of BPH. When BPH becomes more serious, surgery may be recommended. Doctors can resect, vaporize, or use other means to remove portions of the prostate that are obstructing the urethra. The most common surgery for BPH is called transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). During TURP, an instrument is inserted through the urethra and used to resect obstructing tissue off of the prostate.
A new technique called laser PVP or GreenLight is an alternative to TURP. It uses a particular wavelength of laser energy to vaporize portions of the prostate.