Enlarged Prostate? This Treatment Can Help You Avoid Sexual Side Effects
December 06, 2018
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate, is a common condition in men older than age 50. BPH occurs when the prostate gland becomes enlarged and begins to press on the urethra – the tube that carries urine out of the body.
When the prostate continues to grow, it can lead to urinary symptoms that include:
- Leaking or dribbling of urine
- Frequent nighttime awakenings to urinate
- Urinary retention or urgency
- A weak urine stream
BPH is not prostate cancer and it doesn’t lead to cancer. However, the two conditions may have similar symptoms in the early stages
So it’s important that men who experience these symptoms be evaluated by a men’s health specialist to rule out cancer and determine the best treatment options to relieve their symptoms.
Without treatment, BPH can lead to serious complications in some men, including incontinence, kidney or bladder damage, urinary tract infections and bladder stones. In some extreme cases, BPH can cause a total inability to urinate and require emergency catheterization.
How BPH is Treated
A number of medications can relieve symptoms of BPH. However, these medications may cause sexual side effects, such as ejaculation problems and erectile dysfunction.
Other nonsurgical therapies include transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT) and water-induced thermotherapy. Both use heat to destroy prostate tissue and reduce or resolve urinary symptoms.
If medications and/or thermotherapies are unsuccessful, surgery may be recommended.
Excess prostate tissue often can be surgically removed using a transurethral approach, which does not require an outside incision.
A more traditional, open surgery, which does require an incision, may be necessary if the prostate gland is very large or when the bladder has been damaged and needs to be repaired.
A New Treatment Option for BPH
Experts at University Hospitals now offer a new, minimally invasive approach to treat BPH called UroLift®.
Instead of removing prostate tissue, this procedure implants a device that pulls the prostate away from the urethra on both sides and holds it in place. This widens the urethra and restores normal urine flow.
“It’s like opening a curtain,” says UH urologist Irina Jaeger, MD.
“This procedure is a nice alternative, because the side effects are very minimal, it can be done in the doctor’s office in 15 minutes or less and very little sedation is required,” she says. “And the results are pretty instant.”
UroLift® has been in use for six years. Studies have shown that the procedure is safe, effectively relieves symptoms and does not affect sexual function.
The only side effects are a little irritation immediately after the procedure. Patients are typically back to their normal routines within a day or two.