By Paul Pyo, MD
Urologist, Hartford HealthCare Medical Group
Men can exercise, eat right and get enough sleep to stay healthy. But some conditions aren’t preventable, even if they’re treatable. Unfortunately, too many men avoid the signs of a pretty common condition that can be fixed by a visit to the doctor and a simple procedure.
One of those conditions is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), which, simply put, is an enlarged prostate. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. As the prostate grows, it may squeeze or partially block the urethra. BPH can cause trouble urinating, leaking, increased need to go, and other issues.
BPH is a common problem for men over 50. In fact, by the age of 70, more than half of all men will have some symptoms of an enlarged prostate. To be clear, BPH is not cancer, although it can cause some of the same symptoms. The condition can impact your life, but it is usually not a serious problem, and in most cases, it is treatable.
Physicians can diagnose BPH by asking about symptoms and your health history. A physical exam will also be done, that may include a urinalysis and a digital rectal exam so the doctor can feel the size of the prostate. In some cases, a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is done to help rule out prostate cancer.
One remedy for BPH is a relatively new and minimally invasive procedure called UroLift. It is an alternative to medication and more invasive procedures.
UroLift is typically done with local anesthesia. Using a camera, small implants are put into the prostate to push back the enlarged prostate tissue and relieve obstruction of the urethra. The procedure takes less than 30 minutes and patients go home the same day instead of one to three days with other procedures.
With UroLift, prostate tissue is not cut, heated or removed. Blood loss is minimal and there are minimal sexual side effects associated with the procedure.
As with any procedure, UroLift is not right for everyone. Your body and the size of the prostrate must be considered.
Symptoms may return five to 10 years after UroLift. At that point, you can opt for another or an alternative treatment if needed.
Urinary problems from BPH don’t have to be a way of life for men over 50. A visit to the doctor can change your health for the better.
For more information on BPH, UroLift and other men’s health issues, click here.