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New procedure with steam against enlarged prostate
The benign enlargement of the prostate (“benign prostate syndrome” (BPS)) is the most common urological disease in men. Health experts say it usually begins at age 50, but relatively young men can also be affected. Surgery is often necessary for patients. However, a new procedure using steam can also help those affected.
"Almost every man has problems with an enlarged prostate at some point," explains the urologist Dr. Armin Secker from the University Hospital Münster (UKM) in a message. Because the organ grows in the course of life - combined with the known complaints when urinating. Most enlargements are benign, but often only surgery can help. Or a quite new procedure with steam, which is also used in the urology clinic at the UKM.
Complaints often become a heavy burden
"Frequent urge to urinate, going to the toilet at night and the feeling that the bladder never gets completely empty: these are typical complaints with a benign enlarged prostate", explains the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) on the portal "gesundheitsinformation.de" ". Many men adjust to the symptoms and cope quite well, but for some they become a heavy burden because they have to use the toilet so often that they cannot get enough sleep at night and are exhausted during the day.
“Benign enlargement of the prostate can be very annoying, but is usually harmless. If treatment becomes necessary, there is usually no need to rush. Before deciding on a treatment, you can calmly inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of the various options. This is particularly useful before an operation, since an intervention can also lead to long-term complications, ”write the experts.
Different treatment options
As the IQWiG explains, it can be enough for minor complaints and without complications to change everyday life and go to the check-up about once a year. According to the information, this strategy is sufficient for around 30 out of 100 men who seek medical advice for an enlarged prostate.
There are also various herbal medicines that are intended to alleviate BPS symptoms and are available without a prescription. However, most of these preparations have not been well researched. And others have shown no influence on prostate complaints. The German Society for Urology therefore does not regularly recommend them for treatment.
Around 70 out of 100 men who seek medical advice because of their symptoms decide to take medication. The drug tamsulosin is mostly used, which relaxes the prostate and bladder muscles and thereby facilitates urination.
And as an alternative to a conventional operation, steam jet treatment can also be used, which can shrink an enlarged prostate in a timely manner.
Younger men are also affected
Older people are mostly affected by an enlarged prostate. "But problems with an enlarged prostate are not only for 70-year-olds," says Dr. Armin Secker, Head of the Endourology Section and the Kidney Stone Center of the Clinic for Urology and Pediatric Urology at the UKM. "Even relatively young men from the age of 35 can be affected by a urinary drainage disorder".
With 46-year-old Sven Hutter, the problem with the urological examination was palpably enlarged: "My prostate was felt to be 100 years old," he says in the UKM report. He woke up four to five times a night and had to go to the bathroom.
A few weeks ago, Mr. Hutter underwent a minimally invasive procedure that is supposed to finally solve the problem of constant urge to urinate: In the so-called water vapor ablation with the Rezum ™ system, 107 degrees Celsius of hot water vapor was distributed in the prostate tissue using an endoscope.
“All of this is done endoscopically through the urethra and on sight, which means we can see exactly where we are treating. The water vapor only acts up to the capsule of the prostate and evaporates excess glandular tissue. Nerves for the erection are not affected, ”explains Secker.
The excess tissue is broken down up to three months after the procedure and the gland shrinks. This virtually eliminates undesirable side effects that may result from invasive surgery in the small pelvis. The minimally invasive nerve-saving procedure maintains the ability to have an erection and thus the potency.
Positive results are well backed up by studies
"Water vapor ablation is still a relatively new procedure, but the positive results have already been well confirmed by studies," said Dr. Fabian Queißert, Head of the Neurourology Section and the Continence and Pelvic Floor Center. Regardless of how pronounced the finding is, this is the first time that a promising procedure is at hand that goes beyond taking medication or the possibility of a surgical procedure.
“Young men experience the same condition after the procedure as before their illness - the prostate often remains at normal size for years. This enables us to successfully treat non-surgical elderly patients with prostate hyperplasia who may also be taking blood thinners and who may be at risk from surgery ”.
According to the information, Sven Hutter only feels a small stinging when urinating six weeks after the procedure. He survived the anesthetic without any problems, the pain was manageable and he was able to return home on the third day after the operation. "All in all, the method of water vapor ablation is really relaxed compared to the 'heavy gun' of an invasive operation with risks that cannot be ruled out," says the patient. At the latest at the last follow-up examination in September, his problem should no longer be an issue. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- University Hospital of Münster (UKM): Instead of surgery: with steam against the enlarged prostate, (retrieval: 26.08.2019), University Hospital of Münster (UKM)
- Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG): Benign prostate enlargement, (accessed: August 26, 2019), gesundheitsinformation.de