While it is not considered a serious health issue, an enlarged prostate creates considerable discomfort and can lead to a series of associated problems. This new treatment does not involve any surgery and presents minimal side effects.
It is estimated that 50% of men over the age of 60 will show signs of an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia – BPH), and as time passes, the percentage also increases. BPH happens when the urethra narrows and the bladder needs to exert more pressure leading to the bladder muscle to contract even when it shouldn’t. This results in frequent trips to the bathroom and a constant feeling of uneasiness.
An enlarged prostate does not increase the risk or is an indication of cancer, but symptoms can be similar to a regular checkup is recommended. Left untreated, patients can develop some related issues, like bladder stones, infections, damage to kidneys.
There is a surgical option that is effective, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), but it is often avoided because of possible risks including bleedings and erectile dysfunctions.
A breakthrough minimally invasive procedure, called Rezum, could become the new standard. Under local anesthetic, a thin tube is inserted into the urethra, and bursts of steam are directed towards the prostate. This reduces the surrounding tissue and shrinks the gland.
This form of therapy offers a quicker recovery, less inconvenience and is comparable with TURP on effectiveness, but with fewer adverse effects.
Professor Hashim Ahmed of Hampshire Hospitals, one of the doctors that performed the first interventions, said that “This treatment will not only be a better alternative for men facing a longer procedure with added recovery time but we can also offer to those who are on life-long medication who opted not to have surgery because they were worried about side effects of traditional surgery.”