New Urolift procedure improving quality of life

More than 50% of men over the age of 50 suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as an enlarged prostate. While BPH is common for older men, causing the frequent urge to urinate — especially at night, and other symptoms like difficulty starting urination, having a weak stream or one that stops and starts, or the inability to completely empty the bladder.

For quite some time, the only solutions were medications or invasive surgical procedures. Men now have a new option available locally, thanks to the latest medical system that is providing a 15-minute treatment for lasting relief from BPH.

A new system called UroLift equips a same-day procedure to relieve the enlarged prostate’s impacts on the bladder and urethra. Recovery is much shorter than surgery, and four weeks after their treatment, men may stop their prostate medication. The symptom relief typically lasts up to 10 years, vastly improving overall quality of life.

This new procedure is an option for men with BPH who want to get off their BPH medications, preserve their sexual functions and promote bladder health. Side effects from medication or major surgery are a deterrent for some men seeking treatment for BPH; this new procedure addresses those concerns, enabling more men suffering from an enlarged prostate to receive care and experience relief. Medical providers like myself find this encouraging, as nearly 40 million men in the United States are suffering from prostate issues that can be treated effectively and with little downtime.

Since the FDA-approved the UroLift procedure in 2013, it has grown in popularity and become part of the standard of care for the American Urological Association in the treatment of enlarged prostates and is now covered by many insurances including Medicare. Locally, more than 200 UroLift procedures have been conducted at Barton Urology, with high patient satisfaction rates as the side effects are minimal.

This outpatient treatment is one of many elective procedures available at Barton Urology that can improve quality of life. If you may be experiencing symptoms of BPH or would like to speak with a member of our clinical team, call the Barton Urology office at 530-543-5400.

Dr. Brian Steixner is a board-certified urologist and medical director at Barton Urology.

The real skinny on urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence, the involuntary leakage of urine, is a common and distressing problem for many women. While the rate of incontinence increases with age and after delivering a baby, female incontinence affects women of all ages, and there are many therapies available to reduce leakage and improve your quality of life.

Women with urinary incontinence often do not seek medical care. Patients share they are not bothered by their symptoms, others feel ashamed, were led to believe there are no therapies, or they have been offered only a limited range of treatment options. Approximately 25 percent of young women, 50 percent of middle-aged women and 75 percent of older women have some degree of urinary incontinence. This data shows women in our lives suffer from a common medical issue that has a variety of ways to get relief.

There are two main types of urinary incontinence: Stress Incontinence is the loss of urine with physical activity, coughing or sneezing; and Urge Incontinence is leakage after strong urgency and frequency. There are many options and medical services available locally to help women with each type.

For Stress Incontinence, strengthening the pelvic floor muscles via Kegel exercises can have a profound impact and dramatically improve quality of life. Learning the proper Kegel technique to perform these exercises correctly is critical to them being effective. There are other options besides Kegel exercises, such as a minimally invasive bulking agent introduced into the urethra and bladder. Success rates for this new treatment are near 90 percent at preventing leakage, and last up to 10 years.

In regards to Urge Incontinence, the options can be tailored to the patient. Behavioral modification and diet changes can help, and sometimes medications are needed. While a prescription can greatly help, there are two new treatments for women who want to avoid taking medicine.

Stimulating the posterior tibial nerve, the small nerve near the ankle, can help regulate the bladder function. It’s similar to acupuncture and has been used in eastern medicine for quite some time. A second option and a surprising “game changer” for Urge Incontinence is Botox, which can be injected into the bladder muscle. Just as Botox relaxes the muscles of the face and reduces wrinkles, it can relax the muscles of the bladder; this procedure is typically done once a year and eliminates all symptoms.

If you or a loved one are experiencing incontinence, please talk with your primary care provider or contact Barton Urology to understand options. Safe, accessible medical services are available to improve quality of life and help you feel your best.

Dr. Brian Steixner is a Board-certified Urologist treating men, women, and children for incontinence and a variety of urological issues at Barton Urology in South Lake Tahoe. To view a complete list of patient services, visit bartonhealth.org/urology.

Essential screening for men’s health

June is Men’s Health Month, a time for us to consider what we’re doing to stay healthy. In addition to eating right and exercising, men need to make sure they’re up-to-date on important health screenings. This month marks the perfect time to focus on health maintenance, preventative care, and address common health issues that might have presented themselves.

Here are a few of the screening tests Barton Urology recommends to all men to prevent serious illnesses.

• Cholesterol test. This blood test helps alert you to heart attack and stroke risks by providing information about levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. You should start having this test at age 35.

• Blood pressure check. High blood pressure raises your risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. This simple test will let you know whether you need to change your lifestyle or take medications to lower your blood pressure.

• Prostate cancer tests. Prostate cancer is the number one cancer in men. Screening tests include a digital rectal exam and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Screening should start at age 50 for men of average risk, and age 40 for African American men and those with a family history of the disease. An elevated PSA can be a sign of prostate cancer, and yearly screening can help with early detection and treatment.

• Testicular cancer exam. This cancer is most common in men between ages 18 and 40. Learning the correct self-exam can help ensure an early diagnosis.

• Colon cancer screening. Either with a stool test or a colonoscopy, colon cancer screening is critical for men after age 40 or 50.

• Diabetes testing. If it’s not controlled, diabetes can damage your heart, your kidneys, and your vision. It can also cause nerve damage and impotence. A simple blood test can let you know if you have diabetes or prediabetes.

Talk to your provider to see if you need to schedule a visit to follow up on these screenings, and maintenance of any medical conditions – especially if you have a family history with any of the health issues mentioned above.

On top of these basic screening tests, Men’s Health Month is a great time to access the local care that’s available to help improve your quality of life. Minimally invasive treatments for enlarged prostates are now offered through Barton Health. In addition, new medicines for erectile dysfunction and low testosterone are now available.

To learn more about men’s health issues faced in our community, I invite you to join me virtually at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 25, for a free online wellness lecture hosted by Barton Health. Register at bartonhealth.org/lecture.

Dr. Brian Steixner is a Board-certified Urologist treating men, women, and children for a variety of urological issues at Barton Urology in South Lake Tahoe. To view a complete list of patient services, visit bartonhealth.org/urology.