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Fewer Men Having Surgery to Treat Enlarged Prostate: Study

WEDNESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Some men with enlarged prostate may not be receiving sufficient treatment and could suffer severe complications as a result, according to a new study.

Although more men are receiving oral treatment for enlarged prostate, the rate of men operated on for the condition declined over a nine-year period and the rate of discharges for men for enlarged prostate with acute kidney failure has skyrocketed, researchers found.

Non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate -- called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) -- is a common condition that affects millions of men in the United States each year. It can cause lower urinary tract symptoms ranging from frequent and painful urination to urinary retention, which can lead to kidney failure if left untreated.

Treatments include oral therapies and minimally invasive surgery.

In this analysis of U.S. hospital patient data, University of California, San Diego researchers found that the prevalence of BPH increased between 1998 and 2007 but discharges of patients treated for primary BPH decreased.

During that same period, discharges for patients who had surgery for BPH decreased 51 percent, discharges for patients with primary BPH with acute renal (kidney) failure increased more than 300 percent, and discharges for primary BPH with urinary retention, stones, or infection remained about the same.

The study was slated to be presented Tuesday during a special press conference at the American Urological Association's annual scientific meeting.

"Oral therapies for BPH are a common first-line treatment that can be effective in many men. However, it is imperative that patients be treated promptly if the drugs aren't working," press conference moderator Dr. Kevin McVary said in a news release.

"In many cases, surgical treatment for BPH can help prevent urinary retention, which can ultimately lead to acute renal failure that can be life-threatening," he added.

Because the study is being presented at a medical meeting, the results should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about prostate enlargement.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Urological Association, news release, May 17, 2011

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