The prostate is a gland which helps form part of the male reproductive system. It is a muscular organ and it’s function is to secrete and project prostate fluid which is a major component of semen.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a medical term used to represent an enlarged prostate gland. This is a naturally occurring process in men as they age. Some men may be more susceptible to developing more severe symptoms which can include:
- Dribbling of urine
- Weak flow of urine
- Feeling the bladder is still full after urinating
- Trouble starting to urinate
When symptoms of BPH are only mild there is no medial need to intervene as this condition is not linked to developing prostate cancer.
Medications which work to either relax the muscles of the prostate and bladder or medications which reduce the size of the prostate can be prescribed by a specialist. In more symptomatic cases a combination of the these medications can be used.
The most common surgery to address BPH is a transurethral resection of the prostate also commonly referred to as a TURP. This procedure is normally performed under a general anaesthetic but occasionally is performed under a spinal anaesthesia if there are certain general anaesthetic risks identified. TURP surgery normally requires a stay in hospital of between one and three days to monitor your recovery.
A TURP procedure involves a tool known as a resectoscope being carefully inserted in to the urethra. The resectoscope allows the surgeon to carefully examine the urethra and the prostate which lies around the urethra.
The same tool allows the surgeon to remove the enlarged parts of the prostate which are narrowing the urethra and leading to urinary difficulties.
This surgery has excellent outcomes but with any surgical procedure there are risks. These can include the following:
- Complications associated with anaesthetic such as sickness and nausea.
- Long term loss of bladder control
- Retrograde ejaculation (this leads to the semen being ejaculated directly in to the bladder)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Heavy bleeding following surgery
Other forms of surgical treatment for BPH can include techniques using a laser or electric current to remove or burn away the part of the prostate causing the urethral compression.
These surgical techniques are newer than the traditional TURP procedure but carry a similar success rate.