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Understanding Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is a common medical condition in older men. It occurs when the prostate becomes enlarged and inhibits the ability of the lower urinary tract to function properly. The prostate is a walnut-sized organ in the male reproductive system that secretes a fluid vital to keeping sperm protected following ejaculation. It is located just below the bladder and encircles part of the urethra. A natural result of getting older, BPH occurs in approximately 50 percent of men between the ages of 51 and 60, and in as many as 90 percent of men over the age of 80.

Though noncancerous, benign prostatic hyperplasia can be a particularly challenging medical condition to live with. That’s because a prostate that enlarges past a certain point will begin to pinch the urethra. As a result, this part of the urinary tract becomes partially obstructed and is unable to let urine pass in a normal fashion. Men with BPH often find themselves:

  • Frequently having to urinate
  • Having their sleep disrupted by the need to urinate
  • Straining during urination
  • Unable to start urinating
  • Dribbling after urinating
  • Unable to make it to the bathroom in time

Not all men are at the same risk of developing this condition. Besides aging, other factors that heighten the risk include a family history of BPH, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and lack of exercise.

Tampa General Hospital offers an innovative procedure that is clinically shown to address the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia while significantly reducing the risk of side effects associated with traditional BPH surgery. Called prostate artery embolization, or PAE, this procedure is minimally invasive and is performed on an outpatient basis, requiring less than six hours at the hospital. Instead of removing the prostate, PAE simply cuts off the blood supply to the organ, causing it to shrink and eliminating BPH symptoms. The procedure is performed through a small incision in the left wrist. The procedure, in early clinical trials, has yielded better results in massively enlarged prostates, which often cause more complications when treated with traditional surgery.

Contact TGH’s PAE program coordinator at (813) 844-5072 or fill out our online form to begin the process of determining whether you qualify as a candidate for PAE.