One of the most common health problems for men over 50 is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Put simply, the condition is the result of prostate gland enlargement. It can cause a number of varying symptoms, including uncomfortable urinary issues, blocking the flow of urine out of the bladder, and urinary tract and kidney problems.
The prostate grows continually in most men throughout life. Often, this ongoing enlargement of the prostate is enough to cause urinary difficulties or significantly block the flow of urine. It is not clear exactly what causes the prostate to enlarge, but most experts agree it happens because of changes in the balance of sex hormones as men age.
Diagnosis of BPH is achieved through a number of tests, including a digital rectal exam, urinalysis to check for infections that cause similar symptoms, blood test to rule out kidney problems, and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Other tests also might be needed to check urine flow and voiding volumes, in order to determine how constricted the urinary tract might be.
Untreated, BPH could lead to urinary tract infections, bladder stones and damage, kidney damage, and urinary retention (the inability to urinate). When not emptied completely, the bladder weakens over time, and the muscular wall may no longer contract properly. Fortunately, there are new, less-invasive procedures available right now at Dayton Physicians Network that can ease these symptoms without major surgery.
The size of the prostate does not necessarily dictate the severity of the symptoms — some men experience severe problems, while others may have few issues at all. Although in some cases symptoms gradually diminish over time, it’s usually a good time to see the doctor as soon as the symptoms become troublesome. If unchecked, symptoms can become more severe and other serious issues arise, like blockage of the urinary tract.
Most men, about one-third, experience some type of enlarged prostate symptoms by age 60, but very few under 40 have problems from it. Family history, obesity, and those with diabetes or heart disease can have a higher risk of BPH. However, proper diet and exercise can help lower the risk of BPH.
Treatment options for BPH
There are a number of treatments for BPH including medication, minimally invasive therapies, and surgery. One procedure now being used at Dayton Physicians Network to treat BPH is called the “UroLift System,” a new, minimally invasive approach for patients who want an alternative to drug therapy or invasive surgery.
According to clinical data, the UroLift System is safe and effective and can improve BPH symptoms three-to-four times better than medication alone. The goal of the procedure is simple: to relieve urinary symptoms and help patients resume daily activities. The less-invasive method of UroLift also helps reduce the likelihood of infection or other complications from surgery.
Michael Yu, MD, FACS, is a urologist with DPN who recommends the procedure to his qualifying patients. “UroLift, a prostatic urethral lift, is a great alternative to invasive surgical procedures where appropriate,” he said. “Good candidates are men over 45 who are experiencing BPH. We begin with a series of tests, including a cancer screening to rule out anything more serious, then determine the best options for treatment.”
The procedure uses tiny, highly specialized implants to lift and hold the enlarged prostate tissue so that it no longer blocks the urethra. This allows for the resumption of normal urine flow without cutting, heating or removal of the prostate tissue.
“When medications are not effective, and surgery is determined too invasive, UroLift is an option for some patients that will improve symptoms and recovery time,” said Dr. Yu. “The average recovery for a surgical patient is six-to-eight weeks, but because there is no cutting involved, UroLift recovery is as little as two or three days.”
For more information on treatment for BPH and the UroLift System at Dayton Physicians Network, call 937-293-1622937-293-1622 or click here. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as blood in the urine, you should see your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.