New BPH Treatments For Enlarged Prostate

An enlarged prostate, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a common condition that affects men as they age. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, more than half of men over age 50 and nearly all men over age 80 experience some degree of BPH.

What are the symptoms of BPH?

  • Frequent urination or feeling an urgent need to urinate
  • Needing to urinate often at night, which interrupts sleep
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Difficulty emptying one’s bladder
  • Weak urine stream or trouble beginning urination at the start

For most men, the symptoms of BPH tend to worsen over time.

What is BPH treatment for Enlarged Prostate?

There are a number of treatment options for BPH. There are multiple treatments available for men experiencing symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate, including non-surgical treatment methods. 

Sky Ridge Medical Center is the only medical facility in Colorado that offers prostate artery embolization (PAE), an innovative, minimally-invasive treatment method for BPH. Other types of enlarged prostate treatments include, but are not limited to: medication, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), laser therapy and surgical intervention.

A new treatment option for BPH

For men with an enlarged prostate, some BPH medications can result in unwanted or unpleasant side effects, such as erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control) or retrograde ejaculation (where semen flows backwards into the bladder).

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2017, PAE (prostate artery embolization) is a low-risk, non-surgical treatment option for BPH. The procedure involves inserting a catheter into the patient’s wrist or groin. When the catheter reaches the enlarged prostate gland, the surgeon injects microscopic beads (called Embosphere Microspheres) through the artery and toward the gland. These beads cut off the blood supply to the prostate gland, which causes it to shrink.

Are there any risks related to this procedure for BPH treatment?

PAE is an outpatient procedure and the majority of patients are discharged from the clinic within a few hours. Dr. Charles Nutting, DO, FSIR, surgeon at Sky Ridge Medical Center, is one of the very few surgeons in the U.S. to have performed over 100 PAE procedures.

Dr. Nutting says that in one to three months after the procedure, a vast majority of patients see a great improvement in their symptoms related to BPH.

“[After the PAE procedure], 90 percent of patients have significant improvement in their lower urinary tract symptoms,” Dr. Nutting says. “They’re able to sleep through the night and not have to look for a bathroom at every grocery store.”

BPH Causes and Diagnosis

The causes of BPH are unclear or uncertain, but there are several risk factors related to developing an enlarged prostate. The main factor is age, but other risk factors for BPH could include family history, excessive DHT (a sex steroid and hormone), obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, among others.

In order to diagnose BPH, a physician will perform a physical exam and administer some tests, including a blood test and a urine test. Some men with an enlarged prostate might have minor urinary symptoms. However, in general, symptoms of BPH do worsen over time or as men age.

Sexual Function and BPH Treatment

For men, having an enlarged prostate (BPH) is not the same thing as erectile dysfunction (ED). However, certain treatments for BPH could possibly result in side effects that might cause erectile dysfunction or a loss of sexual function.

Men who have undergone a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) might experience retrograde ejaculation (which is not harmful and does not affect one’s pleasure), or experience some degree of urinary incontinence. While TURP is considered a relatively safe procedure, there are some potential side effects.

When it comes to PAE, Dr. Nutting says the procedure has yet to have a negative impact on a patient’s sexual function.

“In the case of PAE, 20 percent of patients have improved sexual function after the procedure,” Dr. Nutting says. “Nobody’s sexual function has deteriorated.”

Long-term outcomes for BPH treatment

Following a PAE procedure, roughly 10-15 percent of men with an enlarged prostate redevelop symptoms. While this occurrence is rare, these patients are candidates for undergoing the procedure again. According to Dr. Nutting, patients who have a second PAE procedure do experience a major or significant improvement in their symptoms.  

“Any of these surgical interventions (for BPH) could be performed afterwards,” Dr. Nutting says. “So why not start with the least invasive procedure first.” 

A Leader In Men’s Health and Prostate Treatment 

According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. While both BPH and prostate cancer affect the prostate gland, an enlarged prostate is not considered a precursor to prostate cancer. However, these conditions are common men’s health problems for which one should be aware. 

At Sky Ridge Medical Center, we are committed to providing the best treatment options for prostate-related conditions and health issues, including BPH and prostate cancer. Our expert surgeons and specialists use the latest technology to improve treatment outcomes and a patient’s quality of life. Men experiencing symptoms of BPH should talk to their doctor about their treatment options, which could include PAE and other non-surgical methods.