Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the condition we refer to as BPH. It is the condition in which a man’s prostate has become enlarged. Studies have indicated that approximately half of all men develop BPH between the ages of 51 and 60. In the over-80 age group, nearly 90 percent of men experience the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Most men recognize bladder issues as a sign of BPH; a need to urinate frequently and being met with weak urine flow. BPH can also cause a full bladder sensation immediately after urinating. The pressure on the bladder may make it difficult to start urinating and to fully empty the bladder, leading to dribbling. These are relatively well-known facts about BPH. What might not be as obvious is the connection between an enlarged prostate and sexual issues. Some issues relate to BPH directly and some to the type of treatment a man is prescribed to manage his prostate health.
- Diminished sexual satisfaction may occur when a man is woken several times a night by his need to urinate. Sleep issues often coincide with anxiety and, together, the two may result in a general decline in sexual satisfaction.
- Libido may decrease as a side effect of certain medications prescribed to treat an enlarged prostate. This most commonly occurs with 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. If libido decreases after beginning a course of oral medication for BPH, a man should speak with his doctor about alternative treatment modalities such as straight alpha-blockers or laser ablation.
- Erectile dysfunction affects up to 10 percent of men who undergo TURP for the treatment of BPH. TURP, or Transurethral Resection of the Prostate, is a minimally invasive procedure that also carries a risk of incontinence and impotence. As an alternative to this technique, many men consider laser ablation to reduce the symptoms of BPH.
- TURP may also cause retrograde ejaculation, a condition in which semen enters the bladder rather than exiting the body from the penis. When a man has retrograde ejaculation, conception becomes a challenge because, although he will reach climax and have an orgasm, it will be what we call “dry.”
At UT Urology, we are continually researching treatments that help men maintain sexual and prostate health throughout their lifetime. To learn more about current treatment options for BPH, call our Chattanooga office at (423) 778-5910.