Penn Urology

Testing & Treatment

If you're having problems urinating, talk to your doctor. He may order some of the following tests to see if BPH has affected your bladder or kidneys and to rule out cancer as a cause of your symptoms. Urodynamic studies refer to a group of studies designed to test how well your bladder fills and stores urine and how well it empties.

The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is a blood-screening test for prostate cancer. While BPH does not cause cancer, some men can have BPH and cancer at the same time. It's important to remember that the PSA test is not perfect. Some men receive false- positive PSA test results showing they have cancer when they don't. Others will receive a false-negative showing no cancer when they actually do have it. For that reason, not all doctors agree that PSA tests are helpful.

Because each man with BPH is different, you and your doctor should discuss if this test is right for you. Your doctor may recommend additional procedures, depending upon your situation.

Do You Need Treatment?

If you have BPH, it doesn't necessarily need to be treated. You may have BPH and never experience any symptoms. If your symptoms are mild, you may not need treatment right away. And you may fall into the one-third of men whose mild symptoms go away without treatment.

Your BPH needs to be treated only if your urinary tract has been damaged, is in danger of being damaged, or your symptoms are severe enough to bother you.

When deciding whether you need treatment, talk to your doctor. You also need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do my symptoms keep me from doing the things I enjoy?
  • Do I want treatment now?
  • What are the risks? Do I understand them? Am I willing to accept those risks in order to get rid of my symptoms?

Once you've decided to be treated for your BPH, you'll have a number of options available to you, including monitoring, medication or surgery.

Each treatment has its own benefits and risks. Talk to your doctor about which treatment is best for you, and ask these questions:

  • What is this treatment's success rate?
  • How much better will I feel after this treatment?
  • What are this treatment's risks? What are my chances of experiencing adverse side effects?
  • How long will this treatment work?