There may be non-surgical alternatives to prostate surgery, depending on your circumstances.
If your enlarged prostate is only mildly troublesome, you may feel that you don’t yet need surgery. Surgery may have more impact on your quality of life than the symptoms, so you may want to think carefully about other options.
If the problem isn’t bothering you too much, your doctor may recommend simply monitoring the situation. Recent research indicates that one third of men get over their prostate symptoms without treatment. For one third of men they stay the same, and for the other third they get more troublesome.
There are a number of medications that work in different ways and can help relieve symptoms of benign enlarged prostate.
- Alpha-blockers such as prazosin, tamsulosin, sildenosin, or terazosin can help relax the muscles in your prostate and around the opening to your bladder. As long as your prostate isn’t too large, they can produce a quick result.
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors can shrink your prostate over time by counteracting the hormonal changes that have been making your prostate grow. They include finasteride and dutasteride. They take at least 6 weeks to work and up to 6 months to have maximum benefit.
- Tadalafil, a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction, can help with an enlarged prostate.
If 1 medication doesn’t work by itself, your doctor may suggest a combination of drugs.
Several natural remedies are being sold for the relief of benign enlarged prostate symptoms. They include saw palmetto, rye grass pollen extract, lycopene, nettle root, Pygeum africanum and beta-sitosterol. They’re available over-the-counter in Australia, but clinical trials have shown that they’re no more effective than placebo. Remember, one third of men improve with no treatment at all.
If you have any urinary symptoms, it’s important to consult with your doctor to establish their cause before deciding on treatment. As with conventional medicines, natural remedies can cause adverse effects, allergic reactions and interactions with other medications. Be sure to let your doctor know if you’re taking any.