What is Enlarged Prostate?

Enlarged Prostate? What is BPH?

Enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a natural condition where the prostate gland slowly grows; causing pressure on the urethra (the tube that drains urine from the body) similar to a clamp on a garden hose.

Normal prostate versus an enlarged prostate

This common non-cancerous condition effects one half of all men over 60.5; and can affect men even in their 40's. If left untreated, an enlarged prostate can cause permanent urinary problems.

Common Symptoms of enlarged prostate include:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night 6
  • Sudden need to urinate 6
  • Difficulty beginning urination 6
  • Pain or burning 6
  • Feeling that your bladder never completely empties 6
  • Dribbling or leaking 6
  • Weak urine stream 6

Understanding the Prostate

This muscular, walnut-shaped gland in men is located right below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) and is responsible for making the fluids that carry sperm.

prostate anatomy

As a man ages, the prostate slowly enlarges and may begin to squeeze the urethra, causing problems with urination.

While it may be a natural part of adulthood, that doesn't mean you have to live with the effects. There are effective options for treatment, including the minimally invasive thermotherapy treatment called TherMatrx®.

What are my BPH treatment options?

BPH Treatment Spectrum 5

Therapy selection is a decision between you and your physician. Each option has advantages and disadvantages that should be explored in detail.

Based on your enlarged prostate symptoms and your desired outcome, your doctor can recommend a number of BPH treatment options:

Watchful Waiting – In the initial stage when enlarged prostate symptoms are mild, doctors may recommend a “watch and wait” approach, often asking patients to track BPH symptoms, before pursuing other courses of treatment.

Enlarged Prostate Medications – Physicians will often prescribe medications to manage enlarged prostate symptoms. These medications include alpha blockers, which relax the muscles around the neck of the bladder, making it easier to urinate, and alpha reductase inhibitors, drugs intended to shrink the prostate gland. In some cases significant side effects, as well as prescription drug costs, make this not an option.

Microwave and Heat Therapies (TUMT) – These are minimally invasive treatments that use microwave or heat energy to reduce the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. No anesthesia is needed and it can be performed in the doctor's office in 40-60 minutes for long lasting relief of BPH symptoms.

Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) – This is a surgical procedure to remove enlarged prostate tissue.

Laser Therapy – This option removes enlarged prostate tissue through the use of high energy lasers.

Prostatic Stents – This option is reserved for those patients who are severely obstructed and otherwise unable to undergo surgery.

Enlarged Prostate Treatments: Knowing the Advantages and DisadvantagesOnly you and your doctor can decide which treatment is right for you. But here are some advantages and disadvantages of the most common courses of treatment, including TherMatrx® Office Thermo Therapy™, that you may want to consider.
treatment type treatment name advantages disadvantages
treatment type treatment name advantages disadvantages
Laser Therapy GreenLight Laser Therapy
  • Significant improvement in quality of life—AUA symptom score is lowered by 14 - 20 points 8
  • Long-lasting symptom relief
  • An outpatient procedure for healthy patients
  • Dramatic urine flow improvement
  • Shorter recovery time and fewer side effects than TURP
  • Quick return to normal activities
  • General or spinal anesthesia 9
  • A common side effect patients may experience is a slight burning when they have to urinate for about a week. However, this can be managed with mild pain and anti-inflammatory medications.
  • A small number of patients may see blood in their urine for a week or so
Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy of the Prostate (TUMT) TherMatrx
  • Safe and effective office-based solution
  • Performed with only a mild sedative
  • Long-lasting solution
  • Provides significant symptom relief
  • Minimal post treatment side effects
  • A catheter may be required for two to five days after treatment
  • Takes 6-12 weeks for patients to see symptom improvement
Watchful Waiting  
  • Symptoms may improve 9
  • No surgical recovery period 9
  • No medication side effects 9
  • There is a risk of developing acute urinary retention 9
  • Symptoms may worsen without treatment 9
Surgery Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
  • Provides long-lasting symptom relief
  • Provides an average 14 to 20 point drop in the AUA symptom score 9
  • Requires a 2 - 3 day hospital stay
  • Most patients are catheriterized for approximately 2 days
  • Prolonged side effects of TURP may include retrograde ejaculation, erection problems, painful urination, recurring urinary tract infections, bladder neck narrowing, and blood in the urine 9
  • Can cause excessive bleeding 9
Medications Alpha Blockers (Relax muscles around the bladder neck making it easier to urinate.) 9
  • AUA Symptom Score is lowered by 6 to 8 points 8
  • Tend to work quickly - within a day or two 9
  • Common side effects include reduced semen released during ejaculation, low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, stomach or intestinal irritation, stuffy or runny nose 9
  • Medications must be taken every day for the rest of your life to maintain symptom relief
5 Alpha-reductase Inhibitors (Helps shrink the prostate) 9
  • AUA Symtom Score is lowered by 3 to 4 points 8
  • These drugs may also reduce the chance of developing acute retention, that is, not being able to urinate at all, as well as the need for prostate surgery in the future 8
  • Must be taken for 6 to 12 months before any improvement may be seen 8
  • Common side effects include erectile dysfuction, decreased libido, and reduced semen during ejaculation 8

* What are BPH symptom points? The American Urological Association has created a simple survey to help you assess the severity of your prostate symptoms. The larger your score, the greater point reduction you’ll need to relieve your enlarged prostate symptoms. To take the survey, click here.


TherMatrx Office Thermo Therapy

You may first notice symptoms of enlarged prostate yourself, or your doctor may find that your prostate is enlarged during a routine checkup. When enlarged prostate is suspected, you may be referred to a urologist, a doctor who specializes in problems of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system.

The American Urological Association (AUA) has drafted a simple survey to help assess the severity of your urinary symptoms. If you are experiencing urinary symptoms, please complete this survey and take a copy to your urologist.

Finding Relief

Your doctor may recommend prescription drugs to reduce the symptoms of your enlarged prostate. Drug therapies are safe and effective, but they can be expensive and do not work for all men. They also may have unpleasant side effects like dizziness, nasal congestion, and sexual side effects. 5

Surgery is an option for some men whose symptoms have progressed or have other related urinary tract complications. But surgery requires a hospital stay as well as a lengthy recovery time. 5, 7

There is another choice. TherMatrx®.

TherMatrx Office Thermo Therapy. The safe and effective office-based solution for BPH.

1. Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy System. TherMatrx TMx-2000™. PMA P000043 summary of safety and effectiveness data. Approved June 29, 2001. Available at: www.fda.gov/cdrh/pdf/p000043.html.

5. BPH: A guideline on the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). AUA guidelines. 2003/updated 2006. at: www.auanet.org/content/guidelines-and-quality-care/clinical-guidelines.cfm?sub=bph

6. Treating your enlarged prostate. Patient Guide. Clinical practice guideline number 8. U.S. Dept. Health and Human Services. AHCPR Pub No. 94-0584. Feb 1994

7. Wojcik M, Dennison D. Photoselective vaporization of the prostate in ambulatory surgery. AORN J. Feb 2006;83(2):330-4 337-40, 343-5, 347-50.

8. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): A Patient's Guide. AUA Foundation 2005. On the net: http://www.auanet.org/guidelines/patient_guides/bph_guide_2003.pdf March 11, 2008.

9. Prostate gland enlargement MayoClinic.com Tools for healthier lives. Original Article: www.mayoclinic.com/health/prostate-gland-enlargement/DS00027/DSECTION=2 March 11, 2008.