DEAR DR. ROACH: I would be interested in your thoughts regarding the use of Botox injections or stents to relieve the effects of BPH. — B.T.
ANSWER: BPH is benign prostatic hyperplasia — enlargement of the prostate gland. It is nearly universal in older men. Its symptoms vary, but often it causes difficulty in urinating. First line treatment is usually medication, but for men who don’t do well or can’t take medication, there are a variety of surgical options. These include lasers, and heating and freezing the prostate tissue. Botox and stenting have been evaluated as additional options.
Botulinum toxin (Botox and others) paralyzes muscles for a prolonged period. Because the prostate has muscle tissue (a special kind of muscle called smooth muscle), botulinum toxin has been tried and initially seemed effective. However, two large trials randomized men to botulinum toxin versus saline, where neither the doctor nor the patient