What are my treatment options?
There is no cure for BPH and treatment usually focuses on reducing symptoms. There is wide variety of treatment options for BPH, ranging from the ”wait and see” approach to other invasive surgical alternatives with significant risks, side effects and hospitalization required.
This section describes some of the various treatment methods. It is important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages with your physician before choosing the best option for your situation. We would advise any patient or physician to pay attention to long term results and/or complication rates with any method under consideration.
BPH treatment options generally fall into one of these categories:
- Minimally invasive treatment, including CoreTherm
- Non-invasive, symptomatic medication
Minimally Invasive Treatment
There is a range of minimally invasive treatment options to help alleviate moderate to severe symptoms, with varying degrees of side effects and proven, long-term effectiveness. Typically, these procedures can be performed in-office or during an outpatient procedure and do not require hospitalization.
Modern treatment methods such as CoreTherm thermotherapy are so convenient and effective that it is now possible to consider treating these problems at a much earlier stage than in the past.
CoreTherm,® a newer type of TUMT, is an office-based outpatient therapy for BPH without general anesthesia. CoreTherm works by applying heat to reduce the size of the prostate. Heat is administered through a patented feedback system, which monitors the temperature of the prostate at all times and moderates the heat dose based on the patient’s specific situation. The actual treatment takes approximately 6-15 minutes and it is an active alternative to surgical treatments with the same efficacy and long-term outcome.
CoreTherm is a particularly effective option for patients with a temporary solution such as an indwelling catheter or intermittent self-catheterization who are seeking long-term relief.
Drug therapy is often the first line treatment for BPH, and it usually works in one of two ways:
- Alpha-reductase inhibitors, such as Proscar® and Avodart®, reduce the size of the prostate gradually and thereby help to relieve symptoms. These medications typically have a slow onset of action, ranging from 3-6 months, so it is important to understand the particular situation and how long a patient can wait for symptom relief.
- Alpha-blockers, such as Cardura®, Flomax®, Hytrin®; Minipress® and Uroxatral®, relax muscle in the prostate helping to improve urine passage. These drugs typically have a quicker onset, ranging from days to weeks.
In many cases, the effects of medications are only moderate and temporary.
Common side effects include headache and dizziness, fatique, nausea and impotence, and oftentimes the symptom relief is only moderate and temporary. Some patients notice an improvement, while some notice only slight effects or no effects at all.
If you are currently using medication for your prostate problems but do not feel that you are getting an adequate effect, please contact your doctor to discuss your treatment options.
- Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
This procedure is performed using fiber optics and a tube passed through the urethra. An electric coil is used to cauterize regions of the prostate. The procedure takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour. Hospitalization for 3-5 days is necessary. Patients may not experience the full effects of the treatment for several months. Problems that may occur after treatment include:
- Risk of sexual dysfunction such as dry ejaculation (seminal fluid empties into the bladder) and impotence
- Permanent urine leakage/incontinence
- Clot formation
An incision is made in the abdominal wall and the enlarged portion of the prostate gland constricting the urethra is removed. Hospitalization for 3-5 days is necessary. However, with this procedure it may also take several months before full effects of surgery are realized are realized. Problems that may occur after treatment include
- Risk of sexual disfunction such as dry ejaculation (seminal fluid empties into the bladder) and impotence
- Permanent urine leakage/incontinence
- Clot formation
When the prostate grows over time it can compress the urethral passage, leading to total blockage and persistent urinary retention.Some patients choose temporary relief by using a Foley catheter, which is inserted into the bladder and allows it to empty completely and helps prevent damage the urinary bladder and kidneys. Prolonged use of a Foley catheter has negative effects, however. The bladder may shrink, lose its function and become too small. Chronic or recidivating urinary tract infection may also lead to bladder stones.
Clean Intermittent self catheterization
Another temporary solution is clean intermittent self-catheterization. In this situation, if patients are completely unable to urinate, they will insert a catheter into the bladder to provide relief. This treatment is highly disruptive and inconvenient for most patients, and significantly compromises quality of life.
If your prostate enlargement affect quality of life for you or your partner, or if your medicine no longer effectively relieves symptoms, or you don´t want to do surgery or have urinary retention, CoreTherm may be your best option.
Talk to your Doctor about CoreTherm.
If you’re tired of the bothersome symptoms associated with your BPH and you’re ready to find out more about CoreTherm Therapy, be sure to ask about it by name to make sure there is no confusion with other non-surgerical or minimal invasive procedures. It is important that you and your doctor discuss all options and select the one that meets your individual needs.
Feel free to print off information from this site and share it with your doctor. It’s always good to be a well-informed, active participant in your treatment.
If you’d like to find a CoreTherm urologist in your area, click here.