Benign (noncancerous) enlargement of the prostate, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is the most common prostate problem in men. Almost all men will develop some enlargement of the prostate as they age. However, some men will develop BPH symptoms, while others will not.
Dr. Youssef Tanagho, a urologist affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital, is the only doctor in East San Diego County certified to perform a breakthrough treatment for BPH called the UroLift® System, a minimally invasive procedure and effective solution. Here, he answers a few frequently asked questions about this common condition.
What is an enlarged prostate?
The prostate gland is located below the bladder in men and produces fluid components of semen. Under the influence of male sex hormones, the prostate continues to grow in size throughout a man’s adult life. The enlarged prostate gland presses on the urethra, which carries urine out of the body.
What are the symptoms?
Over half of men in their 60s, and as many as 90 percent of men in their 70s and 80s, have symptoms of an enlarged prostate. One of the most common symptoms of BPH is the need to urinate more frequently, as the bladder has to work harder to overcome the obstructive effect of the prostate on the urethra. The bladder becomes more and more irritable over time and eventually may start to contract even when only a small amount of urine is present. Other symptoms of BPH include:
- Difficulty or delay in starting urination
- A weak urinary stream
- A urinary stream that stops and starts
- A sense that you cannot completely empty your bladder
- Dribbling of urine at the end of urination
- An urgent feeling of needing to urinate
An enlarged prostate can put a damper on a man’s quality of life. It can cause loss of productivity, disruption of daily activities and interrupted sleep, often leading to emotional distress.
How is it treated?
Treatment options for BPH range from medications to invasive surgery, with minimally invasive surgical options in between. Medications include alpha-blockers, which relax the muscles around the neck of your bladder, facilitating urination; and alpha-reductase inhibitors, which shrink the prostate. While medications can help relieve symptoms for some men, patients must continue taking them long term to maintain the effects. Some patients may suffer side effects, including sexual dysfunction.
What other treatment options do you recommend to your patients?
Surgical options, such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) or photovaporization of the prostate (PVP), are very effective. However, these typically require general anesthesia, overnight hospitalization and post-operative catheterization. These surgical options also run the risk of loss of ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.
Are there any less-invasive treatment options available?
I’m excited about a breakthrough procedure now offered at Sharp Grossmont called the UroLift. It’s a simple procedure that does not require any cutting, heating or removal of prostate tissue. I use this device to lift and move the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way so it no longer blocks the urethra. Tiny implants are placed to hold the tissue in place, like tiebacks on a window curtain, leaving an unobstructed urethra for urine to flow normally again. This procedure typically doesn’t require an overnight stay, nor catheter use post-procedure. Notably, the UroLift preserves sexual function and does not require general anesthesia.
If you or someone you know is dealing with BPH, talk with your doctor to find out which option is best for you.
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