Problems With Your Prostate: Things That Can Help
If you're a man 50 years of age and older and are waking up multiple times in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, you're not alone. Nearly half of all men who have hit the half a century mark deal with the uncomfortable symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate.
It's not clear as to what causes an enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, but there are links to age and changes in hormone levels. As you age your prostate gland starts to grow larger, which for some, may cause uncomfortable symptoms.
BPH can cause urinary symptoms ranging from a frequent or urgent need to urinate, increased frequency of urinating at night, a urine stream that stops and starts, dribbling, and the inability to completely empty your bladder. These symptoms can affect your quality of life and if you're experiencing any of them, I urge you contact your doctor or schedule an appointment with a urologist--there are treatments that can help.
First, your doctor will need to confirm that these symptoms are in fact due to BPH. There are a number of different tests used to diagnose BPH and rule out other conditions such as prostate cancer. From there your options for treatment will be discussed. Your course of treatment will depend on the size of your prostate, your age, and the amount of discomfort it is causing you. In some cases, your doctor will monitor your symptoms before moving forward with any form of treatment.
For mild to moderate symptoms, medication is the first course of action, you and your doctor will determine which medication would be best for you. For those who have more moderate to severe symptoms, or for those who have had no success with medication, minimally invasive or surgical therapy can provide relief.
At Sturdy Memorial Associates at Plainville, we offer the full range of different treatments. Options include bipolar transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) also known as a "roto-rooter", Greenlight laser prostatectomy, angioembolization of the prostate, and robotic simple prostatectomy. Two less invasive, yet effective options include Rezum® Thermotherapy and Urolift®. At Sturdy, we understand that there is no "best" procedure, only the "best" procedure for you. Through shared decision-making, we discuss what your treatment options are, and what would be the most safe and effective in improving your quality of life.
Rezum® can be performed in an outpatient setting and uses thermal energy in water to treat the extra tissue of your enlarged prostate that causes your symptoms. Rezum® relieves your symptoms safely and effectively while preserving your sexual and urinary functions. There is minimal downtime and you can notice improvement in your symptoms within a couple of weeks.
Urolift® is a procedure that uses tiny implants to lift and hold the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way so it no longer blocks the urethra. Urolift® is done on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic. You can expect to be heading home in under two hours. Unlike some other surgical procedures, most patients do not need a catheter. Urolift® also preserves sexual function. You will begin to feel relief from symptoms almost immediately, but will experience the maximum benefits within a few weeks.
Bipolar TURP is a procedure where the prostate tissue is removed through the use of a camera. In the past this operation required hospitalization and close monitoring for electrolyte disturbances. With the use of bipolar technology this procedure is now safely performed as an outpatient without the risks of electrolyte disturbances and has reduced bleeding complications. Some men who are on blood thinners that cannot be discontinued can benefit from GreenLight laser prostatectomy which uses laser energy to vaporize the prostate tissue while allowing continued use of blood thinners.
Most men are fearful of BPH treatments as some have been known to cause sexual dysfunction, but advancements in technology have limited this effect helping men improve their quality of life. You don't need to suffer through the discomfort. If you're one of the millions of men just dealing with the symptoms caused by BPH, schedule an appointment with your local urologist to discuss proper diagnosis and treatment options for you.