Prostate Treatment

There is no reason for older men to suffer in silence with an enlarged prostate and the health problems it causes, according to Urologist Herkanwal Khaira, M.D., of NorthBay Medical Group in Fairfield.

“Many think that urinary problems are a natural and untreatable part of the aging process,” said Dr. Khaira. “As a result, too many men silently suffer from enlarged prostate and do not seek treatment. Unfortunately, when these men are finally driven to seek evaluation and treatment, the chronic prostate enlargement may have caused irreversible bladder damage.”

With the new minimally invasive treatments for enlarged prostate, men should not fear discussing urinary symptoms with their doctor, he added. Early evaluation and treatment for enlarged prostate can optimize long term health and quality of life.

Most men live their early lives completely unaware of their prostate. This is because the prostate is a small organ deep in the pelvis and when healthy has no sensation.  The prostate serves as a male reproductive organ. Located beneath the urinary bladder, the prostate also surrounds a part of the urethra (the tube that urine passes through to leave the body). When a man empties his bladder, the urine passes from the bladder, through the middle of the prostate and ultimately out of the penis.

After the age of 40, the prostate often grows larger. Fifty percent of men in their 50s have prostate enlargement and by the time men get to their 80s, more than 90 percent have prostate enlargement.

“An enlarged prostate can cause a multitude of symptoms and if left unchecked, severe health-related problems,” said Dr. Khaira.

By compressing the urinary channel (imagine stepping on a hose) an enlarged prostate can result in slow urinary flow, difficulty starting the stream, and incomplete bladder emptying. When the bladder struggles to empty through an enlarged prostate, men can find themselves going to the bathroom often during the day and/or night, rushing to the bathroom, sometimes even losing control of the bladder and leaking urine. When not treated, enlarged prostate can result in urine infection, bladder stones, kidney injury, or kidney failure.

“Numerous factors impact a man’s decision to not seek attention for enlarged prostate,” Dr. Khaira said. In addition to common misconceptions such as believing the symptoms are “normal,” men sometimes worry about treatments which could be painful or have permanent side effects. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Modern imaging and diagnostic techniques are very comfortable. Today’s treatments for enlarged prostate include lifestyle changes, medicines, surgeries, and most recently a revolutionary new procedure called Urolift.

The Urolift implant is a nonsurgical approach to the treatment of enlarged prostate. The Urolift implants are placed in the prostate without cutting, heating or removing the prostate. Instead, the permanent implants hold back obstructing prostate tissue.  Like the ties that are used to open window curtains, the Urolift implants create an open channel through the prostate.

“After the Urolift procedure, men typically experience much improved bladder emptying and urinary stream greatly strengthens,” explains Dr. Khaira, who has specialized training in placing the Urolift. Side effects from the procedure are typically mild and short lived. Long term problems are very rare.

New data released at the American Urologic Association annual meeting last month demonstrated that men who had the Urolift procedure had similar improvements in their urinary symptoms compared to more invasive surgical removal.  Most amazing was the improvement continued to be seen 5 years after the procedure. As a result of this study, urologists around the world have begun adopting this ground breaking procedure.