Tired of having to get up at night to go to the toilet? Benenden Hospital Urologist Steve Garnett explains Urolift®, a procedure to help.
What is prostate enlargement?
Prostate enlargement is extremely common in men over the age of 50 and mainly affects men over 60. Often men are reluctant to see the doctor about these sorts of issues, but with increasing number of story in the media about prostate problems, hopefully this will change.
Prostate enlargement is usually nothing to do with prostate cancer and is due to benign prostate enlargement (BPE). The prostate sits just underneath the bladder and, as it enlarges, it can block the way out of the bladder making the flow of urine slower when a man passes urine. In time this can lead to other effects on the bladder such as wanting to go more often and having to get up a lot at night.
The flow can become increasingly slow and intermittent and it can be difficult to empty the bladder. Many men find they are having to get up a lot at night and this can lead to disturbed sleep for both themselves and their partners. Eventually men can get to the point where they cannot pass urine at all and this is an emergency when a catheter is needed to be inserted.
For most men things don’t get this bad, but they have slowly worsening symptoms that they may put up with for a long time and not even realise until things are treated how bad the situation had got. Additionally some men find that they are having to rush to the toilet without much warning as the bladder is trying to empty even when it’s not completely full.
What treatments are available for prostate enlargement?
There are many treatments for prostate enlargement but some of these do have significant side effects.
The standard treatments for prostate enlargement such as TURP or laser surgery are very effective but are bigger procedures with a longer stay in hospital and all standard procedures have risks of retrograde ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and incontinence. These problems are not seen with the Urolift® procedure.
Drug treatments are often prescribed in the first place and these can be effective but the Urolift® procedure is actually preferred by many men to long term tablet treatment and has fewer side effects than taking drugs in the long term.
Why is Urolift® different?
Urolift® is a small procedure performed under sedation in which a small implant is placed, pulling the prostate open. By doing this the flow improves and the bladder emptying improves resulting in fewer urinary symptoms. As it’s a small procedure this requires no overnight stay.
The procedure has been recognised and approved by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) as a safe and reliable treatment.
We are excited to offer this procedure at Benenden Hospital as a local anaesthetic procedure done under sedation, rather than general anaesthetic which allows an even quicker recovery and allows patients to get home the same day with low risk of nausea.
Does Urolift® have any side effects?
Unlike traditional operations which all involve cutting there is no risk of sexual side effects or incontinence. Because Urolift® is the first treatment for prostate enlargement that doesn’t involve destroying the prostate itself there are far fewer side effects. It also has fewer side effects than most of the drug treatments for prostate enlargement.
How can I get referred for Urolift® treatment?
If you are interested in this procedure, please contact your GP for a referral to Benenden Hospital.
Once approved, you'll have a full assessment to check on your prostate size and urinary flow rate and assess whether your are suitable. Assessments are straightforward and can easily be performed as an outpatient.
Published on 15 January 2020