This New Treatment Can Shrink Your Enlarged Prostate

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This New Treatment Can Shrink Your Enlarged Prostate

It’s simple science: As you grow older, your prostate—a walnut-shaped gland situated above the urethra—grows larger. If it becomes too big, the gland will push against the urethra, and make it difficult for your bladder to empty completely.
This causes many of the symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or the official term for a prostate that enlarges for harmless reasons, not from cancer. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate include having to pee all the time, having to pee urgently, trouble starting to pee, a weak urine stream, or getting up at night to use the bathroom.
In some cases where symptoms become really bothersome, doctors will recommend surgery to remove prostate tissue or to widen the urethra. But that’s an invasive procedure that comes with side effects, like problems urinating or sexual dysfunction, according to the National Institutes of Health.
But new research suggests a less-invasive way to treat an enlarged prostate: A nonsurgical treatment called prostate artery embolization can relieve symptoms of an enlarged prostate—and keep them away for years, according to new research presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting.
In the study, researchers performed the prostate artery embolization—where doctors block blood flow to specific areas of the prostate, depriving the tissue of oxygen and causing it to shrink—on 1,000 men. The procedure had a 78 percent success rate after three years, they discovered.
That means it successfully reduced prostate size and symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate, such as urinary issues and sexual problems.
“Prostate artery embolization gives men with BPH a treatment option that is less invasive than other therapies and allows them to return to their normal lives sooner,” said João Martins Pisco, M.D., in a press release.
The researchers note that the technique may not be appropriate for all patients with BPH, such as those with heavy plaque buildup in their arteries. More research needs to be done on the technique—including putting it up against a sham treatment group, to make sure the placebo effect didn’t come into play—to confirm these findings.

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