What are the treatment options for an enlarged prostate?

There are three main types of treatment for an enlarged prostate.

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Lifestyle changes

If your symptoms are not having a big impact on your life and you have no complications, the best approach may be to try changing your lifestyle and wait and see how your condition develops. The condition usually develops slowly and your symptoms may not get any worse. Lifestyle changes, such as drinking less alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners and fizzy drinks may help improve symptoms.

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Medicines

If lifestyle changes are not enough to improve your quality of life, medicines may help control your symptoms. The main types of medicine are alpha-blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. You may have both medicines together.

Alpha-blockers relax the muscles in the prostate and around the neck of the bladder, making it easier to pass urine. They do not cure an enlarged prostate but they can help to relieve symptoms.

5-alpha-reductase inhibitors reduce the size of the prostate gland, taking pressure of the urethra and making it easier to pass urine.

Like any medicines, alpha-blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors can cause side effects. These affect each man differently, and you may not get all of the side effects. Read the information leaflet that comes with your medicine for more information, or speak to your doctor, specialist nurse or pharmacist.

Some men find that herbal remedies help to control their symptoms. However, we don't know whether herbal remedies affect other medicines you may be taking. We need more research before herbal remedies can be recommended as a treatment for an enlarged prostate. Always tell your doctor or nurse if you are taking any kind of any kind of herbal or complementary therapy.

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Surgery

If lifestyle changes or medicines do not control your symptoms, or your symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend surgery. There are several different types of surgery available including transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP), transurethral vaporisation of the prostate (TUVP), bladder neck incision, and open prostatectomy. You can read more about TURP in our online fact sheet.

If surgery is not suitable for you, your doctor or nurse may recommend a catheter to drain urine from your bladder.

You can read more about treatment options in our booklet, Enlarged prostate: A guide to diagnosis and treatment.

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Questions to ask your doctor or nurse

  • How will an enlarged prostate affect my day-to-day life?
  • What can I do to help manage the symptoms myself?
  • What tests will I need to have?
  • Which treatment would be most suitable for me? And why?
  • What are the possible side effects of the treatments?
  • How long can I take to decide which type of treatment I want?

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References

You can find a full list of references here.