Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
For most men, the prostate grows larger as you age. For some men, this growth can lead to a common condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia. Our urologists are here to provide tailored-to-you treatment to help ease your symptoms.
What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, also referred to as BPH, is when the prostate gland becomes enlarged. This condition is common and often affects older men.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is not prostate cancer and it doesn’t make you more likely to get it. There are also many treatments available — from lifestyle changes to medication and surgery.
Symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia
As the prostate enlarges, it can squeeze your urethra, causing symptoms that tend to gradually worsen over time. Symptoms can vary and may include:
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Waking up at night to urinate several times
- Difficulty getting started when you urinate
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Having a weak urine stream
- Difficulty emptying bladder
- Incontinence (loss of control over when you urinate)
Diagnosing benign prostatic hyperplasia
Our highly trained team of urology specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating benign prostatic hyperplasia.
To diagnose benign prostatic hyperplasia, your doctor will first talk with you about your personal and family medical history, then he or she will discuss your symptoms and may perform some tests. Tests may include:
- Blood tests – Your doctor may perform a blood test to check for potential kidney issues. He or she may also order a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which can help confirm an enlarged prostate.
- Urine tests – Urine tests can rule out infections or other potential causes of your symptoms.
- Advanced tests – Your doctor may perform additional testing to better understand your condition. These tests may include an ultrasound of your prostate or bladder, a biopsy to rule out prostate cancer and tests to evaluate your bladder function.
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Treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia
Treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia will depend on your age, the size of your prostate and how much the condition is affecting you. You may put off treatment and monitor your symptoms or you may use a combination of treatments to manage them. Treatment options may include:
Making certain lifestyle changes may help you find relief from your symptoms. These changes include:
- Exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
- Reducing your intake of caffeine and alcohol
- Lowering the amount of fluids you drink before bed
If medication or lifestyle changes aren't helping your symptoms, your doctor may perform a minimally invasive procedure to remove a part of or all of your prostate. Minimally invasive procedures do not require large incisions and mean a quicker recovery time. Options may include:
- Laser surgery – Laser surgery at Geisinger is performed in an outpatient setting, which means you'll likely be able to return home the same day. During the procedure, your doctor will insert a thin fiber (called a cystoscope) into your urethra and use a safe laser to remove tissue from your prostate gland.
We offer several types of laser surgery, including holmium laser enucleation of the prostate or HoLEP. As one of the few centers in Pennsylvania to offer HoLEP, this minimally invasive procedure is a non-surgical alternative to transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). It helps relieve urinary symptoms and improve function by reducing urinary obstruction caused by BPH.
- Aquablation – During this minimally invasive procedure, your surgeon will use a stream of water to remove enlarged prostate tissue.
- Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) – In this procedure, your doctor will use a scope and remove pieces of your prostate gland with a wire loop.
- A transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP) – During this procedure, your doctor will make a few small cuts in your prostate gland to reduce the pressure on your urethra.
- Rezum therapy – During this minimally invasive procedure, water vapor therapy is used to treat the enlarged prostate. This therapy has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of BPH and can be completed in one visit.
In some cases, your urologist may suggest traditional surgery or minimally-invasive robotic surgery in order to remove some or all of your prostate.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia care at Geisinger
Our urology team is here to provide you and your loved ones with compassionate care and the most advanced treatments available. We offer the latest, most minimally invasive procedures for both diagnosis and treatment. Quicker recovery and less time in the hospital means more time for you to do the things you love with those you love.
- Unmatched expertise – Our urology team consists of surgeons and specialists, many of whom are fellowship trained. This highly experienced team of specialists provides care for patients with urologic diseases and conditions, including those affecting the male and female urinary tract system and the male reproductive organs.
- Minimally invasive treatment options – To minimize discomfort and get you back to the life you love, our urologists treat with the least invasive procedures when possible. Robotic surgery, for example, requires smaller incisions, which means less pain and faster recovery time. Our urologists have performed more than 2,000 robotic urological surgery procedures — more than any other healthcare provider in the region. We routinely perform complex procedures that are often unable to be performed elsewhere in the area, including robotic prostatectomies for prostate cancer.
- World-class care, close to home – With locations throughout central, northeast and south-central Pennsylvania, our experienced urology team provides consultations and comprehensive care. We offer leading-edge treatment options and tailored-to-you care backed by the expertise and innovation of a nationally recognized health system.
- Genetic testing and counseling programs – Special research programs such as MyCode®, are only available at Geisinger. Participating in MyCode allows you to contribute to genetic research. By participating, some may receive information about their own genetic risks. Learn about MyCode.