With SMH Interventional Radiologist Justin Lee, MD
More than 50% of men in their 60s report prostate problems, and nearly 90% of those age 70 to 89 experience symptoms of a benign enlarged prostate, recent studies have found.
The likelihood of developing an enlarged prostate (or benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH) increases with age, and the noncancerous condition is the most common prostate problem among men older than 50, according to the National Kidney and Urological Disease Information Clearinghouse. As the prostate enlarges, it may constrict the urethra, causing lower urinary tract symptoms.
Benign Enlarged Prostate Symptoms
An enlarged prostate can weaken urinary flow and can lead to urinary incontinence, increased urgency to urinate, an inability to empty the bladder and pain when urinating. Other common symptoms include:
- A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
- Difficulty starting urination
- Need to frequently urinate (worsens at night)
- A urinary stream that starts and stops
- Straining to urinate
- Continued dribbling of urine
- Returning to urinate again minutes after finishing
Many men suffering from BPH simply deal with the symptoms for months — even years — before seeking diagnosis or treatment. But enlarged prostate can lead to bladder stones, kidney failure, an inability to urinate or other bladder problems. It can also impact the quality of life for the men living with it.
“You're interrupted in everything you do, because … you have to be near a bathroom,” explained Sarasota Memorial urology patient Steve Kliff, who struggled with sleep deprivation when an enlarged prostate meant waking for multiple trips to the bathroom throughout the night. “Your sleep's totally interrupted. It affects clearly everything about your day the following day when you don't get enough sleep.”
Treatment options for benign enlarged prostate include medications, surgery and minimally invasive procedures. For Kliff, a procedure called “prostate artery embolization,” or PAE, was the game-changer he needed.
“Within short order, it addressed most of the symptoms,” Kliff said. “I was able to sleep completely through the night. I was able to fly coast to coast without having to go to the bathroom one time. So yeah, it was not within 24 hours of the procedure, but shortly after the procedure that I noticed an immediate improvement.”
Prostate artery embolization, a less-invasive solution than open surgery, is performed by interventional radiologists like Sarasota Memorial’s Justin Lee, MD, who is board certified in diagnostic and interventional radiology (IR).
Using specialized X-ray equipment, the physician guides a catheter to the vessels that supply blood to the prostate and injects microscopic beads into the prostate artery, allowing them to flow into the prostate gland, where they shrink the prostate by blocking off its blood flow. Since it is not performed through the urethra, no catheter is required. A minimally invasive, outpatient procedure proven to quickly improve symptoms, PAE shrinks the prostate 30% to 40%, and recovery is swift.
Who Can Benefit from PAE?
Prostate size commonly increases with age, but when it impacts health or quality of life, care and treatment is recommended. Prostate artery embolization should be considered when:
- Symptoms caused by enlarged prostate make it difficult to urinate.
- Surgery is not an option; PAE is ideal for patients who need a less invasive approach.
“Think about if you're a patient who you can't fully empty your bladder so you get routine infections of your bladder and you have to take antibiotics,” Dr. Lee explained. “We can now make you empty your bladder more completely. And now, you don't need to be on those antibiotics. It's a huge life-changing game for them.”
Click here for more information on the PAE procedure and benefits, or call 941-552-5500. For a look at other urology services at Sarasota Memorial, click here.