Radiofrequency pulsed electromagnetic fields (EMF) may provide a non-invasive treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), researchers reported.

Greek investigators randomly divided 20 BPH patients into two groups of 10 each. One group was treated with alfuzosin 10 mg/day for at least four weeks and the other group underwent EMF treatment, which consisted of exposure to short-duration radiofrequency pulsed EMF generated by a device called an ion magnetic inductor. Treatments lasted for 30 minutes daily for five consecutive days for each of two weeks. For the treatment, the antenna loop of the device was centered over the pubic area and under the perineum of patients at a maximum distance of 5 cm from the skin, the authors explained.

The EMF-treated patients experienced significant improvements in International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), from 20 before treatment to 14 afterwards, ultrasound-estimated prostate volume (from 33 to 30 cm3), mean urine flow rate (from 8 to 11 mL/sec), and ultrasound-estimated residual volume (from 100 to 70 cm3). In the alfuzosin-treated group, the only significant improvement was in IPSS (from 19 to 16).

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The researchers, led by Angelos M. Evangelou, MD, of the University of Ioannina in Ioannina, Greece, published their findings in International Urology and Nephrology (2011;43:955-960). They noted that EMFs are thought to induce alterations in the cell proliferation rates, changes in mRNA, and protein synthesis, as well as other effects. They explained that BPH is considered to be an immune-inflammatory disease, and pulsed and static EMFs may exert anti-inflammatory effects.