Later in life, going with the flow isn’t such an easy feat for some men. The prostate transitions through two primary growth phases in life; the first is during puberty when it doubles in size, the second starts around age 25 and continues for the duration of a man’s life.
If you’re experiencing an incessant urge to empty your bladder, getting up more often to urinate during the night, dribbling after urinating, or having difficulty urinating, you may be experiencing Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). A condition that occurs in the second growth phase, BPH results in an enlarged prostate, and can lead to a host of uncomfortable symptoms.
When it comes to the human body, location is everything. You could say that the prostate gland is situated on problematic “real estate” – that is, below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Because it encapsulates the urethra – the “highway” that carries urine from the bladder to a man’s penis, enlargement of this organ can make emptying one’s bladder feel like a challenge. It’s very important to completely empty the urine from one’s bladder; failure to do so can result in kidney stones, urinary tract infections, or in serious cases – kidney damage.
If you are noticing any of the aforementioned issues, you’re not alone; almost all men over the age of 40 exhibit at least minimal prostate enlargement. The prevalence only increases the longer one lives; according to the National Library of Medicine, a whopping 90% of men above the age of 80 have dealt with this condition.
Your physician will begin by conducting a digital rectal exam – which can detect enlargement of the prostate. They may also order a urine test, which will rule out the possibility of other ailments or infections. Many medical establishments offer blood test options to record Prostate-specific antigens (PSA); a surplus of these can be a good indicator of an engorged prostate.
Those with mild to moderate symptoms of BPH will find relief from medications. Acting as a muscle relaxant for the prostate gland, alpha blockers are effective in restoring the regular flow of urine. According to patient.info, once-a-day medications such as alfuzosin, doxazosin, and tamsulosin are all convenient and well-received options. For those who have tried alpha blockers with no success, or are looking for a more permanent fix, surgery may be a viable choice. Luckily, there are many procedures available for the treatment of BPH.
One such procedure is known as Rezum, which is a minimally invasive BPH treatment that uses RF thermal therapy in a water vapor form, directly targeted to the prostate tissue. Rezum helps to reduce the prostate enlargement by damaging the cells that are causing obstruction, in the least invasive way possible. Some of the benefits of the Rezum treatment are reducing dependency on prescription drugs, and that it is a quick outpatient procedure that often shows palpable results in as little as two weeks.
UroLift is a minimally-invasive treatment that doesn’t require any cutting, heating, or removal of tissue. It’s actually quite simple when you think about the anatomy involving the urethra and prostate gland. During the UroLift procedure, small implanted bracers are used to hold the enlarged prostate away from the urethra, essentially keeping the channel open so urination isn’t inhibited. This is a viable option for a man who doesn’t want to have a more invasive procedure, or deal with the side effects and schedule of taking a pill every day.
GreenLight Laser therapy is another less invasive treatment option similar to Rezum that can vaporize the surface tissue of an enlarged prostate with precision and speed. It is quickly becoming a superior choice over surgical procedures, as the results are both a smaller prostate, and less bleeding and complications associated with surgery. While general anesthesia may still be needed, the recovery time is very quick.
GreenLight Laser therapy is the go to procedure for many urologists who want the best, quickest, and safest results for their patient. Risks associated with GreenLight Laser Therapy are generally low, and while in some cases an overnight stay is needed after the procedure, many patients can go home the same day.
If BPH is interfering with your daily life, go against the stream; speak to your urologist about cutting-edge options to alleviate this condition. Dr. Alvi and the experienced staff at Urological Surgeons of Arizona will work with you to develop a plan of action that you’re comfortable with, and will give you the results you need. For more information, call (480) 409-5060.