Questions To Ask Your Doctor About BPH
BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), or enlarged prostate, is very common. In fact, about 32 million men worldwide experience moderate to severe symptoms of enlarged prostate. By the age of 50, 50% of men will feel the effects of BPH. By the age of 80, 80% of men will have BPH symptoms.1 Unfortunately, it cannot be prevented. However, patients now have more options for the treatment and management of BPH than at any time in the past. Their first line of defense is a patient assessment and diagnosis.
Men beginning to the see the symptoms of BPH should start by consulting a urologist to learn more about treatment options. Depending on the patient’s current medical condition, severity of their symptoms, and treatment preferences, the urologist will assist the patient in determining the appropriate treatment which may include watchful waiting, medication, minimally invasive in-office therapy or surgery. The decision as to which treatment to pursue should be a shared decision between patient and urologist.
Patients should know that each of these BPH treatment options has different benefits and risks. To fully understand their options, patients may wish to ask the following questions:
- What is the likelihood of improvement or elimination of symptoms and how long will that relief last? Certain options are more effective and more durable than others.
- What is the most conservative, yet effective, form of treatment available for the patient’s particular situation? Is it worth considering a staged progression of treatment, starting with the most conservative therapies, to minimize risks?
- What are the most common side effects of each of the options? Remember that all BPH treatment options could have side effects, some more serious than others. Patients should fully understand the risks and benefits before they commit to a treatment option.
- What is the cost of treatment, bearing in mind long-term maintenance? While medication may seem like a lower cost option, patients will have to take medication indefinitely to maintain symptom improvement.
Ultimately, the most successful patients begin by arming themselves with knowledge. There are various factors that must be weighed. Spending time evaluating options and researching available treatments, will help ensure a successful outcome.
If you are interested in finding a urologist and taking the first step towards relief, please visit the Urologix Find a Urologist website page.
1 Contemporary Diagnosis and Management of The Enlarged Prostate, McVary, K., Helfand, B., Miner, M., Handbooks in Health Care Co., pg 24, ©2011