The statistics say it all: Men are 1.4 times as likely as women to die from almost every chronic medical condition and on average live five years less than women.
Q. Let’s first start with BPH, or Benign Prostate Hyperplasia, the formal term for an enlarged prostate. Nearly 20 percent of men in their 40s are dealing with this, but they don’t always seek help. What is it?
A. An enlarged prostate gland can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms, such as blocking the flow of urine out of the bladder. There are a variety of ways to treat an enlarged prostate that we use at Hartford HealthCare.
Q. What are some of treatments you offer for BPH at Hartford HealthCare?
A. While behavioral modifications and medical management are the initial strategies to improve these symptoms, with persistent bothersome symptoms there are a wide array of operative interventions we offer. Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), urolift procedure, green light laser vaporization of the prostate, and Holmium ablation of the prostate (PVP) are techniques to unobstruct urine flow through the prostate. These procedures are all performed in the operating room under anesthesia and often patients are able to be discharged home the same day. Another option is a prostatectomy. However, this is now reserved for very large glands and can be done through either a single incision or with several small incisions using a robot. Prostate artery embolization (PAE) is another new technology, which is a procedure performed by interventional radiologists under sedation.
Q. Take us through the process once a man enters the Tallwood Men’s Health Center. How is his care coordinated through these different services?
A. The first time a man enters the Men’s Health practice, regardless of the reason, is an opportunity to address preventative health care. That’s why we created age-appropriate men’s health checklists for each man to complete. Some men may not have a family physician or be up to date with screenings; this is our chance to get them caught up.
And central to our coordination of care, of course, is a dedicated nurse coordinator. She integrates care between physicians in the center and works with established primary care physicians to ensure men are getting the care they need and deserve.
Q. In regards to men’s sexual function and men’s sexual health, what do you want men to know?
A. I have two important points to convey to men regarding sexual function and health. First, you’re not alone. Whether it is erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low drive, or penile curvature also known as Peyronie’s disease, many men are struggling with the same problems. Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner and your doctor. These are important things that should be addressed because there could be another issue at hand that could help fix both concerns.
And secondly, remember that there are experts out there who can help you. Find someone who has training and experience helping men like you. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet or hear on the commercials. It’s important to get the whole you checked out.
Q. Based on what you see with your patients, why do men have such a difficult time committing to going to the doctor? What advice do you have for loved ones to get them to commit?
A. There are many reasons men don’t typically see a doctor. When we’re young, we feel invincible. As we age, we adopt the attitude: If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Loved ones, we want to keep the men in your life healthy so please encourage them to see their doctors and bring up those concerns.