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BPH, otherwise known as benign prostatic hyperlasia, is something you possibly never heard of, but in fact, it is one of the most common prostate issues for men at increasing ages. While our bodies are naturally changing as we age, for men who find themselves having difficulty urinating or an increased frequency to urinate, BPH may be the cause. Michael Blum, MD, NorthShore Urologist within the John and Carol Walter Center, shares the basic facts of BPH and NorthShore's innovative new approach for relieving its symptoms:
What is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? What causes it?BPH is a non-cancerous growth or expansion of the prostate gland, which sits just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube that drains the bladder. The prostate enlargement causes men trouble emptying the bladder. The cause is unknown. Are there certain men who are more at risk for BPH? This problem can run in families, but is often sporadic.What are the common symptoms of BPH?The symptoms include difficulty emptying the bladder (slow stream, difficulty starting, feeling of incomplete emptying), as well as difficulty holding the urine (urgency to void, frequency of voiding, leakage of urine and awakening repeatedly at night to urinate).If a patient doesn’t get their BPH treated, what are some possible complications that may occur?Ultimately, some men (not all) can suffer from infections, damage to the kidneys or damage to the bladder that prevents their ability to empty the bladder even if the blockage is treated.You are part of a team at NorthShore that’s performing the innovative UroLift procedure – can you tell us about this treatment?The UroLift procedure is an innovative, minimally-invasive procedure that relieves the blockage with far less difficulty for our patients than our prior procedures. It was begun in Australia about 10 years ago, has been available in Europe for several years, and more recently has been used in the US. We, at NorthShore, have been employing this procedure for the past 4 years.How is UroLift different from previous therapies used to treat BPH? Other surgical procedures require at least one night with a bladder catheter, some period of recovery and have the potential for bleeding and alteration of sexual function. The UroLift procedure rarely requires a catheter and has nearly zero incidences of bleeding, infection or changes in sexual function. Men are usually back to normal activity within a week following UroLift.What kind of changes have you seen in your patients that have had the UroLift procedure? With careful selection of the appropriate patient for this procedure, I have seen dramatic improvement or complete resolution of my patient’s urinary difficulties.