Prostate gland enlargement — medically referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH — is a common condition affecting millions of men worldwide. The primary risk factor is age, and as many as 50% of men have an enlarged prostate by the time they’re 80 years old.
As the name implies, BPH isn’t cancerous. Experts also don’t believe it leads to cancer. However, an enlarged prostate can cause several uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
- Incomplete bladder emptying
- Frequent urination
- Urgent need to urinate
- Weak or sporadic (off and on) urinary flow
- Difficulty with starting urinary flow
- Dribble after urination
While the amount of enlargement you have doesn’t necessarily correlate to the severity of the symptoms you’ll experience, in some cases you may have more serious side effects, like the inability to urinate or infections of the bladder or kidneys.
Whatever your symptoms, you should see a doctor about any urinary problems to get a diagnosis. If you have BPH, your doctor may or may not recommend treatment. If your doctor determines that your case requires treatment, it’s important to get the care you need to prevent complications.
One option for treating an enlarged prostate is UroLift surgery. With its numerous benefits over other methods, this procedure is worth discussing with your urologist. Some of the advantages are given below.
Fewer Side Effects Than Medication
First-line treatment for BPH typically consists of prescription medication. For many men wanting to avoid traditional surgery, this is an appealing option — but there are certain drawbacks.
BPH medications often come with unwanted side effects. These can include tiredness, light-headedness, and even sexual problems. When you couple these side effects with the fact that you may need to take medication for the rest of your life — and you may not experience complete relief — you can see why UroLift may be a better solution for you.
Lower Risk Than Traditional Surgery
Traditional surgery for an enlarged prostate is invasive and involves cutting out part of the gland. It takes anywhere from an hour to two hours, as long as there are no complications. This requires general or spinal anesthesia, which comes with certain risks. Although these risks are rare, they do happen.
In addition, any time there’s cutting involved, there’s also an increased risk of bacterial infection. Infections can happen during or after surgery and can be serious.
In contrast, the UroLift procedure involves no cutting and only takes about a half hour. It entails having small implants placed in the prostate area to lift tissue away from the urine pathway, which eliminates blockages without removing any part of the gland.
Because the procedure is only minimally invasive, done as an outpatient, and only about 30 minutes in length, you’ll need less anesthesia — and therefore have a lower risk.
Shorter Recovery Time Than Other Treatments
After invasive surgery for an enlarged prostate, most patients need a catheter for a few days and require several weeks’ recovery time. There’s also hospital time to consider — traditional surgical methods typically require at least an overnight stay in the hospital.
Urinary catheters are very uncomfortable and essentially take you out of commission while you deal with pain, leaks, and swelling.
When you get UroLift, you’re likely not to need a catheter. If you do need one, it will be for a day or so. You can have the procedure itself done as an outpatient at your doctor’s office. This allows for a quicker overall recovery in addition to a more rapid return to your normal activities. Your symptom relief should be fairly immediate.
Better Sexual Function Than Invasive Procedures
Sexual dysfunction after invasive surgery for BPH is a known issue, and erectile dysfunction is a side effect of some medications used to treat an enlarged prostate. UroLift is proven to preserve your sexual health and erectile function.
You’ll also maintain your ability to ejaculate, which invasive surgical methods can negatively impact. Notably, retrograde ejaculation — where you ejaculate into your bladder — hasn’t been reported in patients with a UroLift device.
Although both UroLift and traditional surgery have good overall results when it comes to treating an enlarged prostate, UroLift has fewer sexual complications.
Have a chat with your urologist to see if UroLift is right for you. With the potential for better results than medication and many benefits over traditional surgery, UroLift is a good option for those with an enlarged prostate.