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Wisdom. Respect. Success. Confidence. Humility. There are a lot of great things that come with age. But for many men, there's an unwelcome (and very common) condition that is brought on by the passing years: enlarged prostate.
Also called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, enlarged prostate affects about 50 percent of men over age 50 with the rates that continue to soar with age, according to Jared Wallen, MD, a urologist at Florida Hospital.
Dr. Wallen shares more about BPH, including a new in-office procedure called Rezum that is helping many of his patients quickly and safely overcome the condition, and get back to living a full life.
The prostate is a gland that is an important part of the male reproductive system. It surrounds the urethra where it joins the bladder.
"During a man's life, the prostate gland experiences two main growth periods," says Dr. Wallen. The first during puberty and the second beginning around the age of 25 and continuing with age.
"It's during this second growth phase where BPH occurs. This condition can significantly affect a man's health and quality of life, so it's important to seek treatment," he advises.
Symptoms of BPH
As the prostate gland enlarges, it can collapse on the urethra, narrowing it and obstructing the flow of urine from the bladder. This can also cause the bladder to thicken, weaken and not empty adequately.
As a result, many men experience these symptoms of BPH:
- Urinary incontinence
- Frequent or urgent urination
- Recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Disrupted sleep
- General discomfort
- Sexual dysfunction
- More serious complications such as kidney failure
"If you have BPH and are unable to empty your bladder well, this can create chronic pressure that can build up, which is ultimately transmitted to the kidneys. Over time, this can lead to renal failure if not treated," explains Dr. Wallen.
New treatments for BPH
Dr. Wallen says, "It's important for men to know that there are multiple treatment options for BPH, many of which are non-surgical."
He adds, "We evaluate each patient and develop a personalized treatment plan collaboratively based on medical history, current health and individual preferences. Treatments can range from medications, surgery and in-office procedures. There are so many things we can do to help men with BPH feel better."
And one of the newer treatments with which Dr. Wallen has had great success is the Rezum minimally invasive procedure, which is performed in-office.
Dr. Wallen is currently the only urologist in Brandon, Fla. and one of just a few physicians in Tampa Bay performing this new technique.
Benefits of the Rezum procedure
"The beauty of this procedure is that it is one of the most effective treatments for BPH that we have with the least amount of side effects, and it can help patients avoid surgery," says Dr. Wallen.
Performed in-office under only local anesthesia and sedation, the Rezum procedure allows Dr. Wallen to remove the inner 30 percent of the prostate tissue using a precise steam vaporization technique. Compared to surgery, the procedure has shown equally effective outcomes, but with fewer side effects.
Prior to the Rezum procedure, medications or surgical removal of the prostate tissue were the primary treatment options. While they can be very effective, they do bring risks of unfavorable side effects.
"For younger men who are planning on families, medications and traditional surgery to treat BPH can cause disruptions in the prostate's flow of fluids, which can impede reproduction," notes Dr. Wallen. "Surgery can also affect the nerves outside of the prostate, which can hinder sexual health and require further intervention to correct."
"In addition to avoiding these side effects, the Rezum procedure often prevents the need for surgery under general anesthesia, so it can be indicated for older patients who have serious health conditions that would put them at high risk for complications during surgery in the operating room," Dr. Wallen describes.
It is important to note that while the Rezum procedure is indicated for most patients, some patients with very large prostates still do require surgery. And in some cases where patients are on medications or being treated for chronic conditions, the procedure is completed in careful coordination with a patient's specialists to ensure safety and the best possible outcomes.
Dr. Wallen's message to you:
"If you are suffering with symptoms of BPH, know that there are many different procedures and treatments out there, and we can help you navigate all of your options to find the most safe and effective option that you are comfortable with, too."
"Rezum is just one of the least invasive, most effective treatment options that I'm exploring in our practice. I'm passionate about being on the cutting-edge of the most advanced and beneficial treatments for a wide range of conditions to treat both male and female conditions affecting the urinary system and overall health," Dr. Wallen concludes.
For more information about Dr. Wallen, visit his practice website, or call (813) 278-8850.