One of the most common conditions men face as they get older is an enlarged prostate. As a man ages, the prostate gland continues to grow and can eventually lead to blocking the normal flow of urine. This benign growth condition is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). An enlarged prostate is the most typical superficial tumor found in men. A minimally invasive surgical procedure has been found to effectively treat lower urinary tract symptoms that are caused by BPH. This surgery is referred to as Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE).
What is BPH and What Causes It?
Weighing about an ounce and about the size of a walnut, the prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. This gland goes through two different growth phases in a male’s life. The first is at puberty when it doubles in size. And the second growth phase is when a man is approximately 25 years of age and this growth phase continues for the rest of his life. If the enlargement of the prostate (BPH) is significant enough, it can cause urinary tract symptoms and lead to blocking the normal flow of urine and other urinary incontinence problems.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous condition and most often occurs in the second growth phase. Although there is not a specifically identified cause for BPH, there are several factors that have been taken into consideration.
Because BPH most commonly occurs in the second growth phase of the prostate, men usually don’t begin to have any signs or symptoms until after the age of 40. Between the ages of 60 and 80, about half of men experience moderate to severe symptoms. So, the older a man ages, the more important it is for him to get routine prostate screenings with his physician.
If a man’s immediate family, such as his brother, father, or grandfather, has a history of prostate problems, he is more likely to have prostate problems as well. It is important to know what medical conditions are in your bloodline.
Living a healthy and active lifestyle is always beneficial to one’s overall health and can help lessen the risks of some medical conditions. Being overweight and not maintaining a healthy diet increases the risk of BPH, while exercise and good nutrition can lower your risk.
High insulin levels can stimulate prostate growth, making diabetes a contributor to the development of BPH in men. For men with diabetes, their body doesn’t respond well to insulin, spiking blood sugar levels. The pancreas then tries to bring the blood sugar levels down with more insulin, resulting in these high insulin levels.
What Are the Symptoms of BPH?
Symptoms of BPH may include problems urinating and/or bladder control. All types of urinary incontinence symptoms should be taken seriously, so if you have one or more of the following signs and symptoms, you should speak to your doctor:
BPH and Urinary Incontinence
When the prostate gland is enlarged (BPH), it is common for a man to experience urinary incontinence associated with an overactive bladder. Because of the enlarged prostate, urine has a difficult time flowing freely from the bladder. The muscles of the bladder then begin to spasm and contract on their own, bringing on a strong urge to urinate. The sudden and powerful urge related to an overactive bladder can result in unintentional leakage of urine. This can be a very embarrassing problem for men suffering from BPH and the complications that come along with this condition. There are effective treatments for BPH and one of them is Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE).
Prostatic Artery Embolism (PAE) for BPH
PAE is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure performed by an interventional radiologist (IR). Without the use of surgery, this doctor uses X-rays and advanced imaging to see inside the body and treat the enlarged prostate (BPH) condition. The interventional radiologist uses x-ray guidance to insert a small catheter into a patient’s upper thigh or wrist They then thread the catheter into the arteries supplying the prostate and inject small particles into the bloodstream to partially block blood flow to the prostate. This shrinks the prostate and helps with discomfort related to benign prostatic hyperplasia, including urinary incontinence and kidney problems.
How Long Does PAE Last?
PAE has been shown to relieve lower urinary tract symptoms and maintain long-term effectiveness for at least three years after the procedure. Traditional BPH surgery involves either removal of the prostate gland or the insertion of a special instrument through the urethra to remove prostate tissue that is blocking the passageway. These surgical procedures involve anesthesia and overnight hospital stays.
- Conscious sedation instead of using general anesthesia
- 90% success rate according to several studies
- Prostatic Artery Embolization is an outpatient surgical procedure
- Lower urinary tract symptom relief within a few days
- Fewer side effects
- High patient satisfaction
Is PAE Covered by Medicare?
Prostatic Artery Embolism may be approved by insurance. However, since the procedure is so new, some insurance companies may not offer coverage unless certain criteria are met. These may include a full evaluation and referral from a urological surgeon and conditions that must be met such as blood in the urine or moderate to severe lower urinary tract symptoms. Your doctor should be able to discuss your medical history with your insurance provider to check to see if you are covered.
It’s important to be open with your doctor about any concerns regarding your prostate health and any urinary tract symptoms or urinary incontinence problems you are experiencing. BPH doesn’t always mean medical treatment is required. It’s possible that your doctor will suggest you have routine checkups to monitor your symptoms and keep a close eye on the size of your prostate.
Urinary incontinence can greatly impact a man’s quality of life. It may be necessary to wear absorbent incontinence pads for men to make it through lengthy meetings at work or long flights. Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan that helps you manage your symptoms to live a full and healthy life.
For any questions regarding the incontinence pads for men that we offer at Personally Delivered, please give us a call. Our Product Experts are ready to help.