Enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a common condition that men experience.

As men age, the prostate grows. This increases the likelihood of symptoms, such as:

  • an urgent or frequent need to urinate
  • a slow or weak urinary stream
  • trouble completely emptying the bladder
  • difficulty or delay in starting urination
  • a urinary stream that starts and stops

While BPH is not often a topic of conversation, it is more common than you might expect. In fact, 50 percent of men who are age 50 or older may have symptoms. This increases 10 percent for each additional decade of life: 60 percent of men age 60, 70 percent of men age 70, etc.

Treatment options

While there is not a test to diagnose BPH, symptoms guide treatment. The treatment for each patient is based on each man’s individual symptoms, prostate size, age, and tolerance of potential side effects of treatment. Fortunately, we have a variety of treatments for enlarged prostate available at our Minimally Invasive Urology Institute (MIUI).

  • Medications: Often, medications are given as an initial treatment for BPH. Some may not be able to tolerate the side effects of these medications. These may include lightheadedness, dry mouth, low blood pressure, falls, headaches, erectile dysfunction, retrograde ejaculation, reduced libido, nausea, or vomiting. If these occur and become burdensome, other treatment options should be explored.
  • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP): This is a procedure designed to remove excess tissue that is blocking urine flow. The procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis or may include an overnight stay in the hospital.
  • UroLift: This is an outpatient procedure that helps to create an unobstructed passage of urine. The procedure uses suture-like implants to move prostate tissue that is blocking urine flow, without any cutting, heating, removal of tissue, or sexual dysfunction. Patients resume normal urinary function and daily routines within about one week.
  • GreenLight laser prostatectomy: A minimally invasive and highly effective procedure that uses a laser to remove prostate tissue that is blocking the flow of urine. It is performed on an outpatient basis.
  • Simple prostatectomy: For men who have extreme enlargement of the prostate, or for those with a significant obstruction or urinary retention concerns, there is another option – a simple prostatectomy. A robot-assisted simple prostatectomy is a minimally invasive approach to what was traditionally performed as an open surgery. The robot-assisted simple prostatectomy allows the surgeon to more precisely remove the inner part of the prostate. The benefits of performing this surgery with robot assistance include smaller surgical incisions of one inch or less, less blood loss during surgery, reduced need for blood transfusion, less pain and discomfort, a shorter hospital stay, and faster overall recovery. The MIUI performed the first robot-assisted simple prostatectomy in New England and is one of only a few institutes to offer this treatment.

You can read more about our treatments for BPH here.

There are also lifestyle changes you can make to minimize the symptoms of BPH. If you smoke, quit. You should also avoid or limit foods or drinks that can irritate the bladder, including:

  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • spicy foods
  • chocolate
  • citrus
  • carbonated drinks

Many men will cut back on how much water they drink in an effort to reduce frequent trips to the bathroom. Actually, this can negatively affect you. It is important to stay hydrated throughout the day.  If you are getting up multiple times overnight to use the bathroom, try to avoid drinking large amounts of fluids right before bedtime. 

There is no need for men to suffer the effects of an enlarged prostate. With new and evolving minimally invasive procedures, our team will work with you to identify the best treatment options to help you get back to your life.

Learn more about our program and how we can help you.

Minimally Invasive Urology Institute »

Gyan Pareek, MD, FACS

Gyan Pareek, MD, FACS

Dr. Gyan Pareek is chief of the Division of Urology and is co-director of the Minimally Invasive Urology Institute and director of the Kidney Stone Center at The Miriam Hospital. His areas of expertise include kidney stones, prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia.