Benign prostatic hyperplasia: When to 'watch and wait,' when and how to treat

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Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a clinical diagnosis. While BPH is a common cause of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men, LUTS can signify a number of other disease states. For this reason, the patient evaluation, which includes a digital rectal examination, and careful differential diagnosis are crucial in men with LUTS. Many men with BPH are asymptomatic, and many others are not bothered by their symptoms; watchful waiting is appropriate management for these patients. When symptoms affect quality of life, pharmacologic therapy should be an option; choices include an alphablocker, a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor, or, for men with larger prostates, a combination of the two. Surgical intervention is indicated when BPH leads to other medical complications, including urinary retention and renal insufficiency.


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