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Do You Need Surgery for BPH? Here's What to Know

Consider surgery if symptoms don't improve with lifestyle changes.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition that affects a vast portion of older men, but the good news is that it’s benign. In other words, it’s not cancer. Still, BPH can be painful, especially during urination. (Here’s more information about how BPH affects the body.)

There are a variety of treatment options for BPH. Most doctors recommend lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity, losing weight, controlling diabetes, and not drinking too much alcohol. Studies have found that men who follow these healthy habits have less prostate growth than those who do not.

However, if lifestyle changes and medication for BPH do not bring relief, there are surgical options for treating BPH. The primary surgery is called transurethral resection (TURP), which accounts for 90 percent of all BPH surgeries.

Here’s how it works: During a TURP surgery, doctors insert a tube through the urethra. The enlarged prostate obstruction is then scraped away.

One risk of this surgery for BPH is that it might cause “retrograde ejaculation,” which is when semen enters the bladder instead of the urethra during an orgasm. This might sound not-so-great, but it actually isn’t dangerous.

Another surgical option for BPH is transurethral Incision. In this surgery, doctors use radiofrequency, lasers, or ultrasounds to remove tissue from the enlarged prostate and widen the urethra.

The other possibility is a prostatectomy, or the removal of the entire prostate. This is used in cases where the prostate has become very large, so it is less common.

If your BPH symptoms have become too painful and are affecting your life, shake off any embarrassment and talk to your doctor about treatment options for BPH.

Paul Knoepflmacher, MD

This video features Paul Knoepflmacher, MD. Dr. Knoepflmacher is a clinical instructor of medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, where he also maintains a private practice.

Duration: 1:26. Last Updated On: Nov. 8, 2017, 6:14 p.m.
Reviewed by: Mera Goodman, MD, Preeti Parikh, MD . Review date: Jan. 10, 2017
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