Prostate Enlargement

Prostate Enlargement: Glossary

Here are definitions of medical terms related to prostate enlargement.

Alpha blocker: A drug that blocks the effects of impulses sent by certain fibers in the nervous system.

Balloon urethroplasty: A method of widening a narrowed portion of the urethra by threading a narrow tube into the urethra and inflating a balloon at its tip when it is in the appropriate position.

Benign: A growth that is not cancer.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): An increase in the size of the prostate gland due to an increase in the number of gland cells and certain other cell types in the prostate gland. It is noncancerous.

Bladder: The muscular sac in the pelvis that stores urine. The urine passes out of the bladder through the urethra.

Bladder neck: The narrow outflow portion of the bladder surrounded by the prostate gland.

Catheterization of the bladder: The insertion of a narrow, flexible tube through the opening of the penis and into the bladder.

Cauterize: To burn tissues with thermal heat, usually to destroy tissue or seal bleeding blood vessels.

Cystoscopy: The direct visualization of the urinary tract by means of a tube (called a cystoscope) with a camera that is attached to a monitor. The cystoscope is inserted in the urethra, and the images it records are displayed on the monitor.

Digital rectal exam (DRE): An exam that helps a physician assess the size and firmness of the prostate gland, DRE involves gently placing a gloved finger through the anus into the rectum and pressing against, and along the length of, the prostate gland.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT): A chemical derived from the hormone testosterone that promotes cell growth in the prostate gland and which is formed when testosterone is acted on by a specific enzyme.

Estrogen: A female hormone that is also normally found in small quantities in a man’s bloodstream.

High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU): A minimally-invasive treatment for BPH in which an ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum and placed next to the prostate gland. It radiates focused ultrasound energy to specific portions of the prostate tissue.

Hormone: A complex chemical substance which is secreted directly into the blood stream from a gland in one part of the body and initiates or regulates the activity of an organ or a group of cells in another part of the body.

Hyperplasia: A noncancerous increase in the number of cells in a specific structure of the body, such as the prostate gland.

Impotence: An inability to achieve penile erection or, much less commonly, to ejaculate after achieving an erection.

Intravenous pyelography (IVP): An x-ray examination of the kidneys and urinary tract after an injection of a special dye into a vein, allowing the kidneys and urinary tract to be clearly viewed.

Prostate gland: A chestnut-shaped gland in men that surrounds the neck of the bladder and a portion of the urethra and which secretes substances that liquefy the semen

Prostatectomy: Surgical removal of all, or a portion, of the prostate gland.

Stent: A tube-like device that, once properly inserted in the appropriate position, keeps the area open and prevents it from narrowing.

Semen: Fluid made up of sperm cells and products of accessory sex glands, which is passed through the urethra to the outside during ejaculation. Also called ejaculate.

Testosterone: The primary male reproductive hormone. Made in the testes, it is responsible for the growth and maturation of the primary male reproductive organs and the development of characteristics such as a low-pitched voice, the male’s unique distribution of body hair, the relative lack of fat below the skin, and bigger bone structure.

Transurethral: Performed through the urethra ( the passage through which the urine passes through the penis )

Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA): A minimally-invasive treatment of BPH that involves inserting two needles into the prostate gland and directing focused heat energy through the needles to the surrounding portions of the prostate gland.

Transurethral microwave thermotherapy: Microwaves of controlled energy content vaporize portions of the prostate gland surrounding the urethra while the surrounding tissues are protected by a cooling system.

TUIP (transurethral incision of the prostate): A surgical procedure performed through the urethra, in which the urethra is widened by making a few cuts in the prostate gland and bladder neck without removing tissue surgically.

TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate): A procedure during which part of the prostate is removed using a device that is inserted through the urethral opening of the penis.

Urethra: The passage that runs from the bladder through the penis, through which urine and semen are passed from the body.

Urinary frequency: The need to pass urine more frequently.

Urinary hesitancy: Difficulty with starting or passing urine as well as a less powerful stream of urine.

Urinary incontinence: The inability to control urine flow. Urination occurs involuntarily.

Urinary tract: The organs (kidney and bladder) and ducts (ureters and urethra) involved in the formation and elimination of urine from the body.

Urination: The act of passing urine from the body.

Urine: The waste fluid secreted by the kidneys, transported by the ureters, stored in the bladder, and voided through the urethra.

Watchful waiting: Careful periodic monitoring without providing any treatment.

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