New Treatment for Men with Urinary Problems

Thursday, March 15, 2018
Lance Marr, MD

For a lot of men, more frequent trips to the bathroom is a part of aging. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. It is common for the prostate to grow and stiffen throughout a man’s life. As this occurs, it can cause urinary problems which are called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH. 

Common symptoms of BPH include needing to urinate more often or difficulty emptying the bladder completely. This can lead to bothersome symptoms that can impact quality of life, such as getting up at night to frequently to empty the bladder.

Men typically experience BPH symptoms around the age of 50. The symptoms usually increase with time and a greater percentage of men experience symptoms as they age.

The treatment of BPH can be as simple as taking a daily pill. For more moderate cases, patients experiencing side effects, or patients who do not want to take medication, there are procedures or surgery to help alleviate symptoms. 

The prostate surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries the urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. All BPH procedures effectively widen the urethra as it traverses the prostate. The most common surgical procedure is laser vaporization, where a laser is used to remove the excess tissue blocking the urethra. Another surgical option is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), where instruments are used to shave the prostate, usually with electrical energy.

A newer surgical option, done mostly in the office, is a prostate lift called the UroLift. This procedure uses tiny implants to physically hold the prostate open, which widens the urethra. This form of therapy is the only form that does not use energy and therefore minimizes the side effects. Most patients are treated in a half hour session and are able to leave the office without a catheter. The side effects of the UroLift are mild and usually resolve within a few weeks, as opposed to a more invasive surgical options.

Given the side effect profile and effectiveness, UroLift is becoming an increasingly popular treatment for BPH. The durability of the UroLift appears to be robust and comparable to other treatment options. The UroLift is a good fit for someone looking for an alternative to medication or surgery.