Treatment Shrinks Enlarged Prostate
Pee less. Sleep more.
It looks like an ordinary bathroom door.
At night, however, when you are comfortably snoozing, it whispers “Come to me, come to me.” Once, twice, sometime four or five times it calls out to you. In the morning, you feel like you haven’t slept because – actually – you barely have.
Guys with enlarged prostates know what I’m talking about. They’re on the prowl all night long. Their oversized prostates press against their urethras, keeping them from emptying their bladders completely so they “have to go”.
The “right” name for an enlarged prostate is benign hypertrophy of the prostate. Benign means not cancerous (bad as it is, it could be worse.) Some drugs help but, for lots of guys, drugs only delay the day when they will have to sit down with the doctor and try to find a real answer. Hearing about the risk of erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence (with most surgical stuff) will make them think twice.
Here’s the thing.
There are new alternatives to relieving the symptoms of BPH without (hopefully) permanent side effects.
Dr. Francisco Carnevale, associate professor at the University of San Paolo just did a study of 120 guys. He treated their enlarged prostates with “artery embolization”. Embolization means putting an “embolus” (an obstruction) into the artery to reduce the flow of blood. If you do that to a guy’s prostrate, guess what? It has less blood in it and less volume.
For enlarged prostates, shrinking is good. It takes pressure off of the urethra and peeing gets back to the way it was in the old days.
That’s the concept.
How did it go with Francisco Carnevale’s 120 men?
Actually, it went amazingly well. (The study, by the way, was reported at the International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy.) Almost all (97%) of the participants in the study did better. However, within the 15 month study period, 14% of the patients started to have symptoms again. They had to be retreated or had to find another solution for their BPH other than artery embolization.
Embolization has a lot going for it. The innovative treatment is simpler (local anesthetic) and has virtually no side effects. If it all hangs together over a longer time period and with more people receiving the treatment, it has great potential.
Another interesting approach is an implantable device called a “UroLift” (made by NeoTract). The devices are inserted into the urethra in a minimally invasive (easy for me to say) procedure and they are anchored so as to pull the prostate tissue back and away from the urethra, relieving the pressure. Several UroLift devices may be required, depending on the size of the prostate. This device was approved by the FDA based on two studies with a little less than 300 men; they were followed for two years. As with the embolization effort, we want to see what things look like after more people get treated.
May you sleep soundly.
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The drawing is mine.