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What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known simply as an enlarged prostate, is a common condition that occurs in men as they age. The prostate, located below the bladder and surrounding part of the urethra, begins to grow, which can press on the urethra and make urination difficult. Symptoms include frequent urination, trouble starting urination, weak urine stream, and a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying.


The diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia usually begins with a discussion of symptoms and medical history, and a physical examination. One of the key tests is a digital rectal exam, where the doctor feels the prostate through the rectum to assess its size and texture. Other diagnostic tools may include urine analysis, urine flow rate measurement, prostate ultrasound, and in some cases, measuring the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination.


Benign prostate enlargement can be treated in various ways, from lifestyle changes and medications to different types of surgery. Two popular and effective surgical methods are endoscopic prostate surgery (transurethral resection of the prostate or TURP) and laser prostate surgery.
Endoscopic prostate surgery involves inserting an instrument through the urethra to the prostate, where the inner part of the prostate is cut and removed to facilitate urine flow. This is the gold standard for surgical treatment of an enlarged prostate and is usually recommended when medications are not sufficiently helpful.
Laser prostate surgery uses laser energy to remove or reduce excess prostate tissue. This method is less invasive and often associated with quicker recovery, less blood loss, and shorter hospital stays. In any case, the decision on the best treatment depends on the size of the prostate, the severity of symptoms, the presence of other health issues, and the patient’s personal preferences.