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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, is a condition associated with the enlargement of the prostate gland. The prostate gland in males is located below the urinary tract surrounding the urethra. The condition is referred to as benign, suggesting it is not cancerous. The term ‘prostatic’ is associated with the prostate gland, and ‘Hyperplasia’ refers to the enlargement of the gland.
The primary function of the prostate gland is to produce the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm (seminal fluid). However, people with an enlarged prostate find it difficult to empty their bladder properly due to the narrowing of the urethra. This results in the frequent urge to urinate, especially at night. It is estimated that more than 70% of men are likely to have an enlarged prostate over 50 years, out of which 25% require surgical procedures.
The leading cause of BPH or enlarged prostate is still under debate. However, prostate gland enlargement mainly occurs due to hormone changes that trigger prostate cell growth. Some studies have revealed that high levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is found mostly in men older than 50 years supports prostate development. Other reasons for BPH can be lifestyle, eating disorders, obesity, heredity, etc.
The doctor will recommend the following tests to rule out the possibility of enlarged prostate due to other conditions. Some of the diagnostic tests include –
Diagnosis by the doctor:
The diagnosis for enlarged prostate involves a combination of physical examination along with some tests to confirm BPH. Since heredity is a risk factor for BPH, the doctor analyzes your family history report. These diagnostic exams are recommended by the doctor in case of moderate as well as complex cases-
Digital rectal exam – The doctor inserts a finger into your rectum to check for any signs of prostate enlargement.
Cystoscopy – A light, flexible scope called a cystoscope is inserted into your urethra to allow the doctor to see inside your bladder.
Prostate biopsy – The doctor uses needles guided by a transrectal ultrasound to take a tissue sample of the prostate and analyze the tissue to rule out the chances of prostate cancer.
Urodynamic and pressure-flow studies – This test measures the bladder pressure and determines how well your bladder muscles work using a catheter that is inserted through your urethra.
The severity of BPH is categorized into three grades based on the comprehensive review of the lower urinary tract symptoms, digital rectal examination, urinalysis, and PSA measurement. The scores are given with respect to AUA (American Urological Association) symptom index after careful observation.
score of 7 or less – Mild BPH
score of 8 to 19 – Moderate BPH
score of 20 to 35 – Severe BPH
During the surgery
The surgical procedures for BPH surgery are safe and efficient to treat enlarged prostate. However, like any other surgery, there are several risks involved with the procedure that can lead to several complications. It all depends on the medical condition of the patient and the surgical expertise of the surgeon.
Some of the risks associated with the different surgical procedures of BPH are as follows –
Complications of an Open Prostatectomy
If left untreated:
Enlarged prostate or prostatic hyperplasia is a serious medical condition that can lead to several health problems in men above 50 years of age. There are several risks and complications that can result due to prolonged BPH. Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor as soon as you experience symptoms of enlarged prostate.
If left untreated, BPH can cause-
There are several lifestyle changes that can help you prevent BPH and keep your prostate healthy. These include several lifestyle changes and dietary restrictions. Here are some measures that can prevent BPH –
It is important to seek medical attention if you’re having issues related to the urinary tract. Patients who experience symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate, such as improper emptying of the bladder, nocturia, or any obstruction in the urinary tract, are at risk of BPH. Consult a urologist if you are experiencing the following symptoms –
Non-surgical methods for BPH include various medications, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications. However, these medications mostly reduce symptoms associated with the enlarged prostate and do not cure the disease.
The surgical procedures for an enlarged prostate include minimally invasive techniques and laser surgery. However, the choice of surgery depends on the size of your prostate, the severity of the condition, your medical health, and the age factor. Surgical procedure is usually recommended when medications are ineffective that can progress the condition.
The surgeries for BPH are done to reduce symptoms that cause great discomfort due to enlarged prostate. Lack of treatment can cause severe complications that may require surgical procedures. Therefore, a surgical procedure to treat BPH is deemed a medical necessity.
So, some medical insurance companies cover the cost of surgical procedures for BPH partially or entirely. However, the insurance claim will depend on the type of your insurance policy and the terms and conditions set by the insurance provider. There are also other payment options to pay for the BPH surgery. A few of the insurance providers that may cover the cost of enlarged prostate are as follows:
Star Health Insurance
New India Health Insurance
Insurance coverage for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
The recovery from enlarged prostate surgery can vary depending on the patient’s health condition and the surgical expertise of the surgeon. The post-recovery tips provided by the doctor also depend on the type of surgical technique used for the procedure. However, it is important to consult with your doctor regularly to avoid any complications and ensure a faster recovery. Some of the post-operative care after your BPH surgery are-
Do not lift heavy equipment for around a week after your surgical procedure.
Restrict heavy exercises for about 6 weeks after prostatectomy.
Drink plenty of fluid during the first 2 weeks after the surgery to flush any new bleeding from the bladder.
Avoid alcohol and coffee for the first few weeks after the procedure.
Avoid food that can cause constipation or force you to strain during bowel movements.
BPH can get worse with age leading to improper emptying of the urinary bladder. This can result in infection, bladder damage, and blood in urine which can cause kidney damage.
Some risk factors that contribute towards the progression of enlarged prostate are-
Prostatitis refers to the inflammation of the prostate due to traumatic injury to the prostate or due to the bacteria that entered the prostate from urine or during sex. Benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH refers to the enlargement of the prostate gland that squeezes the urethra, making it hard to empty the bladder completely.
Inform your doctor of any pre-existing medications before your BPH treatment. These medicines can worsen your BPH symptoms. Avoid following medications if you have any symptoms related to an enlarged prostate –
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
If left untreated, BHP has the potential to lead to serious complications, ranging from UTIs, stone in bladder to kidney damage and complete renal failure.
An enlarged prostate or BPH is completely benign meaning it is not cancerous. It is not a precursor to prostate cancer.
An enlarged prostate or BPH is completely benign meaning it is not cancerous. Prostate cancer occurs when the cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control.
Avoid following foods and drinks to prevent enlargement of the prostate gland –