The prostate’s main function is to help make fluid for semen to help protect and boost the sperm. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. Hence, complications with prostate health can lead to urinary problems or even affect male fertility.
Among common prostate health problems that exist are, prostatitis – an inflammatory disease and prostate cancer. The most prevalent being – non-cancerous enlarged prostate also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Let’s dive into what exactly is BPH
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Often presenting as an enlarged prostate and/or urination problems, BPH is much more likely to afflict men at 50 or older. BPH also tends to increase in severity as you age. By 80, about 50% of men experience moderate to severe symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Here is the problem with BPH:
Enlargement of the prostate in BPH causes the urethra to narrow, leading to urinary retention. The inability to empty their bladder fully may lead to the dependency on a urinary catheter, which isn’t a viable long-term solution.
Genetics is another factor that comes into play when considering the severity of symptoms. Plus, someone with a family background of prostate diseases is much more likely to suffer from the condition.
The right lifestyle, however, may just help manage the symptoms. Exercise and a tailored diet would be the first step in regaining control over BPH.
Know Your Options
The first plan of treatment for enlarged prostate is medication. Prostate medication can help to control the growth of the prostate and reduce symptoms of BPH. A combination of medication may be recommended to alleviate symptoms depending on severity.
However, medication can sometimes be an unattractive solution due to unfavourable side effects like dizziness or fainting and even sexual dysfunction such as reduced libido. Often, the alternative in these cases would be minimally invasive procedures or surgical therapy.
More commonly known procedures include Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) surgery, and Transurethral Microwave Therapy (TUMT).
The former is a major surgery that involves inserting a small tube through your urethra, followed by parts of your prostate being removed by the surgeon.
On the other hand, TUMT is generally recommended to men with small to moderate-sized prostates. During this treatment, a small microwave antenna is inserted through your urethra. The antenna then emits a dose of microwave energy that heats and destroys excess prostate tissue that is blocking urine flow.
While these procedures may solve the problem at hand, they come with surgical risks as well as side effects like incontinence or retrograde ejaculation (failure to ejaculate on orgasm).
You will be glad to learn your options aren’t limited to medication and surgical procedures alone. An interventional radiologist may just be the answer to your problems while limiting the risks of side effects.
Have you heard of Prostate Artery Embolisation (PAE)?
It is a non-surgical treatment that uniquely treats the prostate through your arteries. Because of this, the common side effects that were mentioned above can be avoided.
PAE is performed through a small incision in the upper thigh or wrist to gain access to your arteries. A small catheter is then placed into the vessel supplying blood to the prostate. The catheter is injected with small particles (microspheres) which results in cessation of blood flow in the prostatic artery. The blocked blood flow causes the death of parts of the prostate, resulting in a reduced size.
PAE is open to patients with varying prostate sizes and can be performed on some patients who have undergone failed prostate surgery. Patients also observe continued improvement up to 6 months afterwards.
Surgery doesn’t have to be your only option. Here at NBIR, we would never treat you with interventional radiology if we didn’t think it was the best option for you.
It is important to check in with your doctor on the health of your prostate and the options available to you.