Prostate enlargement is frequently seen in many male patients as they age. It is a non-cancerous increasing of the size of a man's prostate organ that takes place as the individual grows older. It is also often commonly referred to as BPH or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Estimates indicate that greater than fifty-percent (50%) of all males over the age of sixty years old suffer from an enlarged prostate gland. That means that more than half of all sixty year old men have some form of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). The occurrence significantly increases when men reach the age of seventy, with estimates of a eighty-percent (80%) chance for a man having prostate enlargement by the time that he is 80 years old or more.
What Does The Prostate Do?
Firstly, let's answer the age old question of "Do women have a prostate gland"? The answer is no. Only men actually have one. The prostate gland is basically a reproductive organ or gland found only in men. The prostate's primary function is the secretion of prostate fluid. Prostate fluid is a component of a man's semen or seminal fluid and accounts for roughly a third of the volume of a man's semen. The prostate gland also is comprised of muscle tissue that helps to propel this semen or seminal fluid into a man's urethra during the ejaculation process. When a man ejaculates, his sperm moves from his testicles through small tubes (known as the Vas Deferens) into man's prostate area. His prostate's muscles then contract, thus releasing fluid into his urethra to push the semen through.
Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate Gland
Normally a man's prostate gland is about the size of a small peach or tangerine. It "surrounds" a man's urethra just beneath his bladder. Unfortunately, while the prostate's physical location is perfect for its role in a man's ejaculation, the location becomes a real problem when the gland becomes enlarged or grows in size. The result is that the prostate then presses on the man's urethra and his bladder, thus interfering with his normal urination.
Symptoms are seen because the enlarged prostate's pressing on a man's bladder results in his inability to completely empty the bladder. Diagnosis of the condition is based on having the symptoms and they can include:
- Frequent urination or peeing
- An urgent need by the man to urinate
- A significantly increased frequency of urinating at night (this is medically known as nocturia)
- Difficulty in starting to urinate or pee
- The inability to start to pee or initiate urination at all
- A weak or slow stream of urine that may also "start and stop"
- A leaking of urine or "dribbling" when finished peeing
- A loss of a man's bladder control
If left untreated, the enlarged prostate can result in severe complications such as chronic kidney or renal problems, urinary-tract infections (or UTIs), blood in the urine, damage to the bladder and/or kidneys, and even the formation of bladder stones.
Treatment Options For Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Although the exact cause is still unclear today, there are certain risk factors that are associated with being diagnosed with BPH. These risk factors may include:
- A family history of prostate enlargement
- A patient also having diabetes (type-2)
- Extremely overweight or obese
- Lack of physical exertion and lack of exercise
- Erectile dysfunction
Treatment options for a patient will obviously depend on the severity of the patient's symptoms and can be grouped into four primary categories:
1. Lifestyle Modifications - In patient's with extremely mild symptoms, changes in a man's lifestyle can help minimize or reduce his symptoms. An increase in exercise, some significant weight loss and reducing caffeine intake have been shown to all help.
2. Medications - For patients experiencing more enhanced symptoms, prescription medications may be utilized. Commonly prescribed drugs include alpha blockers (such as tamsulosin sold under the brand name of Flomax) or 5α-reductase inhibitors (such as finasteride sold under the brand name Proscar).
3. Surgery - In extreme cases of BPH, the actual surgical removal of a part of the prostate may be performed. This is usually reserved for extreme cases where the patient simply does not show any improvement with any other forms of treatment. Possible complications from prostate surgery include impotence, incontinence, infection and retrograde ejaculation (a situation where semen flows into a patient's bladder).
4. Procedures - Non-invasive procedures such as UroLift have become an extremely viable treatment option for men with benign prostatic hyperplasia. They clearly offer a patient with BPH a good alternative to having to take prescription drugs on an ongoing basis (keeping in mind that the medications may stop working), or to undergo a surgical procedure that can result in lasting complications and side effects.
UroLift For Treating Prostate Enlargement
The UroLift® System is an FDA approved treatment that is now being used with great results and success to treat men with enlarged prostates. This minimally invasive approach to treating an enlarged prostate is actually a quite simple procedure performed by a qualified urologist at his office. The UroLift System raises or secures the enlarged prostate tissue in a position where it can no longer block the patient's urethra, thus allowing a normal flow of urine again. No cutting, heating or removal of any prostate tissue is required, so typically a patient can go home the same day without even needing a catheter.
At Philadelphia Urology Associates, Dr. Sloane now offers this revolutionary treatment to his patients. During the simple procedure, Dr. Sloane places tiny implants to hold the prostate lobes apart, thus relieving the enlarged prostate's compression on the urethra. This will allow the urine to flow normally again. Dr. Sloane's patients are seeing rapid relief of their symptoms, preservation of sexual function and very durable results from the treatment.
To talk to Dr. Sloane about an enlarged prostate, BPH or the UroLift® System, please call 215-563-1199 now to schedule a consultation or contact us online today!