June is Menâ€™s Health Month, and itâ€™s a good time to reflect on how we are taking care of ourselves. We can exercise, eat right and get enough sleep to stay healthy. However, there are some conditions that arise that arenâ€™t preventable, but can be completely treatable. Too many men avoid the signs of a pretty common condition that a visit to the doctor and a relatively simple procedure can remedy.
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 difficulty urinating, leaking, urgency incontinence, 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. Prostate cancer and BPH are not related, but they can cause some of the same symptoms. The condition can be a nuisance, but it is usually not a serious problem, and in most cases, it is treatable.
Physicians can diagnose BPH by asking questions about symptoms and by receiving information on health history. A physical exam will also be done, that may include a urinalysis and a digital rectal exam, which enables the doctor to feel the size of the prostate. In some cases, a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is performed to help rule out prostate cancer.
One remedy for BPH is a procedure called Urolift. Urolift is a relatively new and minimally invasive procedure that can provide relief from BPH. It is an alternative to chronic medication usage and more invasive procedures.
So, how does it work? The Urolift procedure is typically done with local anesthesia. Using a camera, small implants are placed into the prostate, pushing back the enlarged prostate tissue, relieving the obstruction of the urethra. The procedure usually is performed in less than 30 minutes, with patients requiring no hospital stay.
With the Urolift procedure, there is no cutting, heating or removal of prostate tissue. Patients go home same day without a catheter, in contrast with more traditional procedures, which necessitate catheter placement for one to three days and an overnight stay.
Blood loss is minimal and there are minimal sexual side effects associated with the procedure.
As with any procedure, not everyone is a candidate for Urolift. Anatomy and the size of the prostrate are some of the determining factors that a physician will examine.
Urolift offers medium-term relief, as symptoms may return within five to ten years, at which point a repeat procedure or alternative treatments may be necessary.
Urinary problems due to BPH donâ€™t have to be a way of life for men over 50. Just a visit to the doctor can change your health for the better.
Paul Pyo, MD, is a urologist with the Hartford HealthCare Medical Group. For more information on BPH, Urolift and other menâ€™s health issues, visit www.hartfordhealthcare.org/men .