Male lower urinary tract symptoms, benign prostatic hyperplasia, enlargement of the prostate, and bladder outlet obstruction are common among aging men and will increase in socioeconomic and medical importance at a time of increased life expectancy and aging of the baby boomer generation. This article reviews the epidemiology, management, and therapeutic options for these conditions. In patients bothered by moderate to severe symptoms, providers can make educated and differential choices between several classes of drugs, alone or in combination, to treat effectively and improve the symptoms in most men. Despite the efficacy of medical therapy, there will be patients who require referral to a urologist either early, to rule out prostate cancer and other conditions, or later, after initial medical therapy and lifestyle management has failed. Perhaps as many as 30% of patients fail to achieve sufficient symptom improvement with medication, lifestyle adjustment, and fluid management, and may require more invasive or surgical treatment options.
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