What Are The Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments for Prostate Enlargement?

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Are you dealing with uncomfortable and inconvenient symptoms like frequent urination, increased urination at night, a weak urine stream, and an inability to empty your bladder fully? If so, you may have an enlarged prostate—a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Below, Interventional Radiologist Dr. Adam S. Gropper explains the causes and symptoms of BPH and its treatment. If you suspect you could have BPH, don’t prolong your suffering. Take our 3-Minute Quiz to determine your International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) and receive a call back from us, or contact Prostate Specialists of Miami now at (786) 500-5347 to schedule a consultation.

What Is the Prostate and Its Function in A Man’s Body?

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland located just below the bladder. It produces seminal fluid, which helps to nourish and transport sperm. The prostate also surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. During puberty, the prostate grows and continues to grow throughout adulthood.

What Is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in which the prostate enlarges and puts pressure on the urethra. As the prostate expands, it places increasing pressure on the bladder and surrounding structures, resulting in problems with urination. In some men, BPH may also create kidney or bladder complications—such as frequent infection. It primarily impacts older men, affecting 30 percent of men over 50 and 90 percent over 85. More than 14 million American men and 30 million men worldwide experience BPH.

Common Symptoms of BPH

While symptoms of BPH can differ from man to man, depending on the extent of the prostate’s growth and impact on the urinary tract, the most common symptoms we see in our practice include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased urination at night
  • Difficulty initiating urination
  • Weak urine stream
  • Stopping and starting constantly
  • Failure to empty the bladder fully
  • Forcing urination

However, less common symptoms of BPH, such as urinary tract infections and blood in the urine, can develop in some men.

How Can An Interventional Radiologist Diagnose and Treat BPH?

Interventional radiologists typically diagnose BPH using a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The DRE assesses the prostate gland’s size and shape, and the PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland. High levels of PSA may be associated with BPH. If the DRE and PSA test results suggest a patient could have BPH, the doctor may order further testing, such as an ultrasound, to confirm the diagnosis.

Several Potential Treatments for BPH

Lifestyle Changes

Reducing caffeine intake and avoiding alcohol can help decrease the severity of urinary symptoms.


Medications such as alpha-blockers, like Tamsulosin aka Flomax, relax the smooth muscle tissue in the prostate, making it easier to urinate. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, e.g. Finasteride aka Proscar, shrink the size of the prostate gland by reducing testosterone levels.

Standard, Minimally Invasive BPH Procedures

There are some standard, minimally invasive procedures to treat BPH when medications are ineffective or urinary retention has occurred.

    • TURP – the most common surgical procedure for BPH is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). During TURP, a surgeon inserts a small tube through the urethra and removes part of the prostate gland. However an unwanted and frequent side effect of TURP is retrograde ejaculation, which causes semen to flow backwards into the bladder instead of exiting through the penis. Retrograde ejaculation can lead to male infertility and other unwanted side effects, including temporary difficulty urinating, urinary tract infections, and rarely permanent erectile dysfunction.
  • Aquablation® – this minimally invasive BPH treatment procedure is performed through the patient’s urethra with the help of a robotic surgical system. This BPH treatment requires anesthesia and an overnight hospital stay, even though it usually takes less than an hour. The patient awakens with a catheter to urinate while his urethra heals. After he returns home, he may deal with mild burning or discomfort during urination for a couple of weeks, for which his doctor can prescribe pain medication.
  • UroLift® – this outpatient procedure is performed in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia. It uses small implants to lift and move the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way of the urethra. This procedure does not involve cutting, heating, or removing the prostate tissue. Instead, UroLift® compresses tissue blocking the urethra to improve urine flow. Patients who undergo a UroLift® may experience side effects, including frequent urination and blood in the urine. It is suitable only for patients with prostate glands under 50 gms.

Why Is Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) the Superior Choice for Treating An Enlarged Prostate?

Prostate Artery Embolization, or PAE, is a safe, effective, and minimally invasive in-office procedure that improves BPH-caused lower urinary tract symptoms. In this procedure, an interventional radiologist inserts an ultra-thin catheter and guides it to the prostate artery, where it releases microspheres that reduce blood flow and shrink the enlarged prostate gland.

Patients who undergo PAE experience improved symptoms within two- to- three weeks. PAE has a high success rate, with over 85 percent of men reporting relief following the procedure. According to research, PAE provides most men with long-term success. Eighty-two percent of men report continued successful PAE results three years after the procedure.

Unlike the other procedures discussed in this article, PAE does not affect normal sexual performance. Patients can engage in sexual activity 24 hours after PAE but should know that they could see blood in their ejaculate for seven to 21 days. It is normal and not a cause for alarm. In addition, they can resume strenuous activity and return to work 24 hours after their PAE.

Dr. Adam S. Gropper and Prostate Specialists of Miami: The Only Choice for Your PAE Procedure

When it comes to your prostate and choosing the best interventional radiologist to perform your PAE, look no further than Dr. Adam S. Gropper and Prostate Specialists of Miami. Dr. Gropper has been practicing vascular and interventional radiology in Florida since 1999. He has training as an engineer and a medical doctor and a decade of experience as chief of radiology. Over the years, Dr. Gropper has performed countless vascular procedures. When you choose Dr. Gropper and Prostate Specialists of Miami for your PAE procedure, you can rest assured that you will receive top-notch medical care that combines state-of-the-art technology with a caring, patient-centric approach. To schedule your PAE consultation, call us at (786) 500-5347 or complete our online form.

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Prostate Specialists of Miami
15400 Biscayne Boulevard #104
Aventura, FL 33160

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