Older men often experience urinary problems, but unfortunately, many never discuss them with their doctor to get them addressed. They simply write them off to aging.
However, about half of all men over the age of 50 suffer from an enlarged prostate. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.
As the prostate gland becomes enlarged, it may begin to obstruct the urinary system, causing frustrating urination problems. Men with BPH often experience an interrupted or weak urine stream, leakage, urge incontinence and more frequent urination, especially at night. Similar symptoms can also be a sign of prostate cancer, so be sure to visit your doctor when symptoms appear.
Fortunately, there is a new treatment available for men age 50 or older, designed to to relieve symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate while preserving sexual function. It’s called the UroLift System — a permanent implant aimed at treating the symptoms associated with BPH.
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While medication is often the first line of therapy for BPH, relief can be temporary and may be associated with undesirable side effects. These side effects can include sexual dysfunction, dizziness and headaches. These symptoms can prompt some patients to quit using the drugs.
The new UroLift procedure is an outpatient procedure that provides men with a treatment alternative to this sort of drug therapy or more invasive surgery — surgery that cuts or ablates prostate tissue to open the blocked urethra.
While traditional surgeries can be effective at relieving symptoms, they also can leave patients with permanent side effects such as urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction.
However, the UroLift is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure that typically takes less than 30 minutes. It involves the insertion of an implant into the prostate, delivered through a hollow needle. The implant is made up of small, permanent sutures that lift the enlarged prostate open, thereby taking pressure off the urethra and bladder. In over 90 percent of cases, no catheter is needed following the procedure.
If you think you might have BPH and are looking for relief, it is recommended you discuss your symptoms with your physician. Your doctor can diagnose BPH by asking questions about your symptoms and conducting a physical exam. If you have BPH or a related problem, your physician can help you decide if UroLift might be an option for you.
Dr. Kevin Art is with KentuckyOne Health Urology Associates.