Medical Therapy for BPH
What is Medical Therapy for BPH?
Medical therapy includes the use of drugs to relieve symptoms caused by hyperplasia, as well as the adoption of measures to keep urinary issues under control.
Medication is important in cases where symptoms are extreme and restrictive and impact significantly on patients’ quality of life. When this treatment does not have the effects expected, the alternative is surgery.
In less serious cases, however, patients may be able to manage their symptoms effectively through changes in habits and behaviour
How is Medical Therapy Administered?
There are various measures a patient can take to help relieve issues caused by BPH.
These behavioural strategies and changes in habits consist especially of:
- Cutting liquid intake from the afternoon onwards (to reduce trips to the toilet at night) or in situations where access to the toilet may be difficult (e.g. before a show);
- Urinating before leaving work (when returning home) and before and during a journey;
- Emptying the bladder often (e.g. every 2 or 3 hours) and not trying to hold urine in; urinating when you first feel the desire to do so;
- Avoiding long periods without urinating, as it can lead to a full and distended bladder;
- Avoiding some types of food (e.g. acidic or spicy foods);
- Squeezing the urethra after urinating to help avoid dripping;
- Avoiding medication that worsens the symptoms (e.g. nasal decongestants).
These and other measures must be discussed with your urologist to make them as effective as possible and also to learn whether they are good enough to prevent the disease worsening and if they cause complications that can arise if no treatment is given.
In the medical treatment of BPH, three major groups of medication exist:
- Alpha blockers (tansulosin, alfuzosin, doxazosin and silodosin, the newest);
- 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors (finasteride and dutasteride);
- Plant extracts – phytotherapy (countless substances have been tested, the most commonly used of which is saw palmetto).
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What is the Follow-Up with Medical Therapy?
Each group of drugs has a specific effect, a particular modus operandi and also specific potential side effects.
Given this, the patient undergoing medical therapy must have regular follow-up consultations to assess the treatment’s efficiency and the symptom-relieving measures.
If necessary, the medication is readjusted or other measures suggested.
The aim is always to help the patient effectively manage their symptoms and significantly improve their quality of life.
Dr. José Santos Dias
Clinical Director of the Instituto da Próstata
- Bacherlor's Degree from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Lisbon
- Specialist in Urology
- Fellow of the European Board of Urology
- Autor dos livros "Tudo o que sempre quis saber Sobre Próstata", "Urologia fundamental na Prática Clínica", "Urologia em 10 minutos","Casos Clínicos de Urologia" e "Protocolos de Urgência em Urologia"
FAQs about Medical Therapy for BPH
What is the most suitable treatment for BPH?
Is pharmacological treatment for BPH possible?
How important is pharmacological treatment?
How do alpha-blockers work?
How effective are alpha-blockers in treating BPH?
- DIAS, José Santos. Urologia Fundamental: na prática clínica. Lisboa: Lidel - Edições Técnicas, Lda, 2010.
- DIAS, José Santos. Tudo o que sempre quis saber sobre a Próstata. Lisboa: Lidel - Edições Técnicas, Lda, 2014.
- How is an enlarged prostate treated? - https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/further-help/enlarged-prostate/enlarged-prostate-treatment
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) - Diagnosis and treatment - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370093
- Enlarged Prostate Treatments - https://www.webmd.com/men/guide/treatments-enlarged-prostate-bph#1
- Treatment / Benign prostate enlargement - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-enlargement/treatment/