For most men, symptoms of BPH improve after treatment. Infection, bleeding, incontinence, and erectile dysfunction may occur after some treatments. In some cases, scar tissue may form.
What are the Long–Term Side Effects of Treatment?
Side effects vary with the type of treatment you choose. Most side effects are temporary. It may take a while for sexual function to fully return. Most experts agree that if you were able to have an erection shortly before surgery, you will probably be able to do so after surgery. Most men find little or no difference in orgasm. You may have retrograde ejaculation (when semen enters the bladder rather than being sent out through the penis). For most men, side effects lessen with time. Some treatments may cause long-term side effects for some men.
How Can You Prevent a Recurrence of BPH?
Once you have been treated for BPH, taking medication can prevent symptoms from returning or getting worse. Some men may need additional treatment. Some men need repeated treatment to get rid of bothersome symptoms. In older men, it may be possible to control BPH symptoms to the end of life.
Experimental Therapies without Proven Benefit
Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE)
PAE is a new procedure for treating BPH that is still being tested in clinical trials in the United States. Clinical trials are research studies that test how well new treatments work in people.
In PAE, tiny round particles are injected through a catheter into the vessels that supply blood to the prostate. The particles block blood flow to the large blood vessels (arteries) of the prostate. This causes the prostate to shrink.
Because PAE is new and still being tested, little is known for sure about how well it works and what side effects it may cause. At this time, the American Urological Association advises that patients should be treated with PAE only in a clinical (experimental) trial.
Updated May 2019