Non-invasive Treatments of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)
If a man is diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, there are numerous treatments available. These include, herbal supplements (such as Saw Palmetto, Pygeum africanum, nettle root, flower pollen, beta-sitosterol, vitamin B, zinc, amino acids, pumpkin seeds, and essential amino acids), and FDA-approved medications. Finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart) are classified as 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, and block the formation of a hormone that promotes prostate growth. Although the prostate itself may shrink from these therapies, some men find that their urinary symptoms aren’t completely relieved. Other treatments, such as smooth muscle relaxants (alpha-blockers) such as Hytrin, Cardura, Flomax, Uroxatral and Rapaflo improve urinary symptoms in many patients.
If men with BPH do not receive treatment, they are at risk for urinary retention urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder stones, incontinence, and bladder and/or kidney damage.
A physician may suggest an alternative to medication, which is the minimally invasive removal of the extra prostate tissue via a procedure called transurethral needle ablation (TUNA). It’s an outpatient procedure, and radio-frequency energy is used to destroy excess prostate tissue. A more invasive procedure is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), which removes prostate tissue through an open incision or through the urethra. Sometimes these procedures work very well the first time, but often they must be repeated due to scar tissue formation or other effects.
Transurethral Microwave Therapy (TUMT) for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) uses a small instrument to send out microwave energy. The instrument heats the inside of the prostate. The hot instrument is used to damage some of the tissue in the enlarged prostate. As the prostate heals, it will shrink and the patient will find significant relief. Ideally this procedure is for a patient that has not responded well to medications. TUMT is generally only performed on men with benign prostate enlargement, and not any form of prostate cancer.
TUMT can be done in just one single session, without the need for an overnight stay. It is generally not a particularly invasive procedure and uses a local anesthetic and sedation during the procedure. Men who have undergone TUMT can general return to work after a day or two, and can resume sexual relations within 7 to 14 days. Complications can include urinary irritation, inability to ejaculate during healing time, retrograde ejaculation (ejaculation in to the bladder) and blood in the urine.
Greenlight Laser Therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the insertion of a small fiber into the urethra through a small tube called a cystoscope. The fiber utilizes laser energy to heat up and destroy the prostate tissue by vaporization. Unlike many other prostate procedures, urinary symptoms are relieved very quickly, and healthy urine flow returns promptly. It offers similar results as transurethral resection of the prostate (known as TURP) but has fewer of the side effects associated with TURP such as bleeding and erectile issues, and the patient may feel relief faster. In addition, the relief provided by Greenlight Laser Therapy can last five years or more, and a majority of the nearly 400,000 men who have undergone the procedure have been thrilled with the positive outcome. General anesthesia is used, and the patient will usually be catheterized for approximately 24 hours. Burning during urination, as well as blood in the urine are occasional side effects that do not affect the ultimate outcome of the procedure. Side effects such as blood in the urine, fever, chills, or shakes are rare and should be reported to the physician immediately.