What’s going on?
As men age, it’s very common for their prostate gland to enlarge. This is also known as Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, or BPH. (Translation: Benign means non-cancerous, and thus not dangerous. Hypertrophy is the term for growth)
What is BPH?
I recently spoke with Dr. Edward Karpman from El Camino Hospital about BPH. He was reassuringly candid. According to Dr. Karpman, BPH affects just about every man. It’s not a question of why, it’s really a question of when.
Why the frequent trips to the bathroom?
Because the prostate is located just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body), as it enlarges and grows, it may press on the urethra causing narrowing and making it more difficult for men to completely empty their bladder. It’s like traffic getting backed up when lanes are closed.
What’s the biggest misunderstanding?
According to Dr. Karpman, many men are reluctant to discuss this all too common issue and assume that they are the only ones who are having flow problems. Dr. Karpman also explained that many men only remember hearing about the old medications and surgeries and assume that the only treatments available have side effects that are much worse than the problem.
What treatment is best?
Dr. Karpman explained that men need to see a urologist for a thorough evaluation to determine which type of treatment would be best. There are several new treatments available that have fewer side effects, including fewer sexual side effects and are helping improve men’s quality of life.
This is considered minimally invasive because there is no cutting or removal of tissue. Using a cystoscope, a very thin scope that can be placed into the urethra, a urologist can identify the area of blockage. The UroLift, which is a new FDA-approved treatment, works by pulling the prostate away from the urethra.
Green Light XPS Laser treatment for BPH
The Green Light XPS Laser treatment for BPH is a great option with high success rates for most men with enlarged prostates.
If you or someone you care about has been hesitant to seek information or help for frequent urination, don’t delay and don’t let fear prevent you from getting the information you need. Talk to a urologist about what might be best.
This article first appeared in the July 2015 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.