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August 19, 2014 12:42 ET

What You Need to Know About Prostate Enlargement

Robotic Prostate Surgeon David B. Samadi, MD, Talks Green Light Laser Therapy for the Treatment of the Most Common Prostate Problem in Older Men

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Aug 19, 2014) - Prostate enlargement, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is the most common prostate problem in men aged 50 or above, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Aging typically causes prostate enlargement, which should be monitored on an annual basis.

"Although not life threatening, BPH causes men discomfort and could lead to more serious conditions like kidney and prostate cancer," said David B. Samadi, MD, Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. "Testosterone accumulates in the prostate and converts into a compound called dihydrotestosterone. This causes the prostate to grow, resulting in BPH."

Common BPH symptoms include blood in the urine (usually brought on by straining), feeling that the bladder is not completely empty after urination, frequent urination and/or nocturnal urination, delayed or interrupted urination, weak urine stream, incontinence or leaking, recurrent sudden urges to urinate, burning sensation while urinating, erectile problems and weak ejaculations.

Managing BPH
However, these BPH symptoms can be managed. Medications, like Proscar and Avodart, which are FDA approved, block the formation of dihydrotestosterone. Other treatments such as Cardura, or Flomax help relieve urinary symptoms in many patients.

"If BPH patients do not treat their urinary symptoms, they are at risk for urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder stones, incontinence, as well as bladder and even kidney damage," said Dr. Samadi. "Monitoring your prostate is key and managing any irregularities will save you from much discomfort."

Surgical Treatments of BPH
Surgical treatments include removal of the extra prostate tissue. A transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is an invasive procedure and removes prostate tissue through an incision or directly through the urethra. However, sometimes the TURP procedure needs to be repeated because of scar tissue formation or other side effects.

"The minimally invasive GreenLight Laser outpatient procedure is a great treatment for enlarged prostates," said Dr. Samadi.

During GreenLight Laser therapy, a laser beam which is applied to the prostate tissue, evaporates it within moments, opening the urethra for improved urinary flow. It reduces the patient's urge to urinate, although some may experience frequent urges for a short while. General anesthesia is used, and the patient usually needs a catheter for about 24 hours. A burning sensation during urination and blood in the urine are occasional short-term side effects. Unlike during other prostate procedures, urinary symptoms are relieved faster, and healthy urine flow returns more quickly.

"GreenLight Laser therapy offers similar results to TURP but with fewer side effects such as bleeding and erectile issues," said Dr. Samadi. "Another plus: GreenLight Laser Therapy benefits can last five years or more."

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