Self-Treatment for Enlarged Prostate: What Can You do to Avoid Surgery?

May 25, 2020

BPH, or enlarged prostate, and its associated urinary symptoms, is a fact of life for most men above the age of 40. Men as early in their 30s may begin to have symptoms of frequency, urgency, weak stream, frequent night time urination, leakage, or the inability to urinate. In males, the prostate is often the culprit for these symptoms.

If you have or believe you have BPH or enlarged prostate symptoms, there are a variety of conservative options to consider prior to jumping straight to a surgery or procedure. Depending on how mild or severe your BPH or symptoms are, there are things you may try to address your symptoms:

  1. Avoiding bladder irritants and certain foods – BPH symptoms may often overlap with bladder symptoms. Problems like frequency, urgency, pain with urination may actually be related to the bladder reacting to foods and drinks that we ingest. Common offenders include citrus, acidic foods, chocolates, ice tea, caffeine, alcohol. Smoking and tobacco may also irritate the bladder and avoidance of these practices will oftentimes resolve your symptoms.
  2. Saw Palmetto – This is a common herbal remedy and supplement that can be found at any grocery store or health foods store that is often taken for BPH or enlarged prostate. It has been postulated and suggested that Saw Palmetto works by preventing testosterone from being converted to DHT, another form of testosterone that is found in prostates. While some people believe Saw Palmetto may help treat BPH or enlarged prostate, numerous clinical trials and studies  have shown there is a lack of evidence suggesting that this may be the case.
  3. Other Prostate Supplements – Along the same lines, prostate supplements such as Prostatagenix ™ and Super Beta Prostate ™  that are marketed on television and online have also been suggested to improve some urinary outcomes but clinical evidence remains limited as their long-term effectiveness, safety, and ability to prevent BPH-related complications like bladder failure have not been properly tested.
  4. Medications – If you have mild to moderate BPH, your doctor may prescribe a medication such as a alpha blocker (alfuzosin, tamsulosin, silodosin, doxazosin), 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (finasteride, dutasteride), tadalafil, or a combination of any of these to treat your BPH or enlarged prostate symptoms.

It is important to note that while these options treat BPH and enlarged prostate symptoms, they often do not address the source of the problem, which is the prostate. These treatments will mask the symptoms rather than treat the prostate and, over time, fail, requiring other interventions. Unfortunately in some men, their prostates and symptoms may progress despite efforts to stall them and procedures are needed to avoid complications like total bladder failure and the inability to urinate at all. The good news, however, is that there are multiple BPH treatments and procedures available that can be personally tailored to every different man.

If you have any bothersome prostate, BPH, or urinary symptoms at all it is important to discuss them with either your family physician or to undergo evaluation with a urologist. Doctors Tsai, Shaw, and their staff at Austin Urology Institute are highly rated and acclaimed urologists in the Austin and Greater Austin area who are available to help with and treat any urinary issues.