Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
DescriptionAn in-depth report on the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of BPH.
Alternative NamesTransurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
Certain lifestyle changes can help relieve symptoms and are particularly important for men who choose to avoid surgery or drug therapy. Men should take the time to urinate when it is convenient even if there is no urge. They should take aisle seats in theaters and when traveling. Cold weather and immobility may increase the risk for urine retention. Keeping warm and exercising may be useful. Stress reduction techniques may also help.
Some small studies have suggested the following:
Avoiding Medications that Aggravate Symptoms
Decongestants and Antihistamines. Men with BPH should avoid, if possible, the many medications for colds and allergy that contain decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). Such drugs, known as adrenergics, can exacerbate urinary symptoms by preventing muscles in the prostate and bladder neck from relaxing to allow urine to flow freely. Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), can also slow urine flow in some men with BPH.
Diuretics. Men who are taking diuretics, which increase urination, may discuss reducing the dosage or switching to another drug. These are important drugs for many people with high blood pressure, with a proven track record for saving lives; no one should go off these medications without medical supervision.
Other Drugs. Other drugs that may exacerbate symptoms are certain antidepressants and drugs used to treat spasticity.
A recent study reported that even moderate exercise can reduce urinary tract problems associated with BPH. According to a 2001 study, however, physical activity does not seem to protect against developing BPH.
Kegel (pelvic floor muscle) exercises, which were first developed to assist women with childbirth, are also useful for men in helping to prevent urine leakage. They strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor that both support the bladder and close the sphincter.
Performing the Exercises. Since the muscle is internal and is sometimes difficult to isolate, doctors often recommend practicing while urinating: