Whitesburg KY

Medicines can usually remedy large prostate

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have been told and have read in many articles that nothing can be done for a diffusely and extremely enlarged prostate gland. Is this true? – J.C.

ANSWER: No, it’s not true.

With age, all men’s prostate glands enlarge. Diffuse enlargement – enlargement of the entire gland, not just a part – is the usual kind of enlargement. The normal prostate gland is about the size of a peach pit. Through the middle of the gland runs the urethra, the tube that empties the bladder. An enlarged gland squeezes the urethra so urine cannot properly drain from the bladder. Affected men have to run to the restroom all the time, day and night.

Medicines are one treatment for gland enlargement. One group of medicines relaxes the muscles within the prostate gland that pinch the urethra. They also relax the muscles at the bottom of the bladder to make emptying it easier. Uroxatral, Flomax and Hytrin are names of some of these medicines.

Other medicines actually shrink the gland. Proscar and Avodart are examples. It takes months before the results of these medicines take hold, but, given time, they work for many men.

Surgical procedures abound for men who don’t respond to medicines. A TURP – transurethral resection of the prostate – is the standard operation. No incision is made. Instruments are passed through the urethra to the prostate location and the excess prostate tissue is pared away.

Newer procedures, not suitable for every man, can reduce the prostate size with lasers, microwaves, radio waves or balloon compression of the gland. The names of these procedures all begin with TU – transurethral. Like a TURP, they are done with the instruments inserted into the urethra without any skin incision. Many of them are done in the doctor’s office and the patient goes home the same day as the procedure. A urologist can tell you which one is best suited to you.

The booklet on the prostate gland explains both an enlarged gland and a cancerous gland. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue – No. 1001W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6.75 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.

(c) 2007 North America Synd., Inc.

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