Surgery or medication.
That used to be the choice to treat an enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
BPH is common as men get older. In fact, by age 55, one in four men experience symptoms of an enlarged prostate. It affects up to 90 percent of men over the age of 70. As the prostate enlarges, it presses against the urethra, which causes a frequent or urgent need to urinate. It can cause a weak or interrupted urine stream. The pressure on the urinary tract also can cause pain during urination or ejaculation.
Confronted with the choice of either surgery or medication, many men choose to work around the condition. This makes long car rides or non-aisle seats at the baseball game difficult. It also can leave you tired the next day when you have to get up to go repeatedly in the middle of the night. Many men decide it isn’t bad enough to go through surgery and risk sexual dysfunction or to begin taking another pill every day.
Then came the UroLift System.
Cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2013, UroLift uses small permanent titanium implants to hold the enlarged prostate tissue away from the urethra. With the pressure taken off the urethra, men no longer feel the urge to urinate frequently. Think of it almost like opening the curtains on a window. UroLift serves as the tiebacks.
So how exactly is the procedure done? UroLift can be performed under local or general anesthesia in an outpatient setting. First, the delivery instrument is used to compress the lobes of the prostate and then the instrument delivers the implant that holds the prostate tissue away from the urethra. No tissue is destroyed or removed and sexual function is preserved.
Typically, no catheter is required after the procedure and patients can go home that day. Relief of symptoms is seen as early as two weeks later.
The most common side effects, which usually resolve within two to four weeks after the procedure, include pain or burning with urination, pelvic pain, blood in the urine and an urgent need to urinate or the inability to control the urge.
But, wait, you may be thinking. This is a relatively new procedure — how can you know what might happen down the road? While it’s true that there is no long-term data on UroLift, a five-year study showed a lasting improvement in both BPH symptoms and urinary flow, with a low retreatment rate of 2 to 3 percent per year.
Is your enlarged prostate getting in the way of your life? If so, contact us today to schedule an appointment. You just have to put up with a few things in life. Having to go to the bathroom every hour isn’t one of them anymore.