Radial Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Among many prostate problems facing men, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common. It is an age-related problem that affects about 50% of men between the ages of 51 and 60, and as much as 90% of men above 80. Though it is associated with age, its real cause is yet to be fully understood by medical professionals. BPH is more likely to develop in:
- Men above 40
- Men with a family history of the condition
- Men with heart and circulatory problems, obesity, and type 2 diabetes
- Men who don’t engage in physical exercise
- Men with erectile dysfunction
This article tells you all you need to know about BPH and how to access one of the safest and most efficient treatment modalities for the condition, known as radial extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy.
What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as prostatic hypertrophy or prostatic obstruction, is a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges. Due to its physical appearance, some tend to mistake it to be cancerous. The prostate, a walnut-shaped gland that is part of the male reproductive organ, goes through different stages of growth when puberty sets in.
The prostate is found below the bladder and surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that carries semen and urine out of the penis. In the early stages of puberty, the prostate doubles in size. At around age 25, another round of growth begins. This second growth will continue during most of a man’s existence and it is at this stage that BPH typically develops.
So, as the prostate gets bigger and presses against the urethra, the bladder wall gets thicker, and the bladder, which is responsible for storing urine, might become weak and lose the ability to completely empty urine. The inability to empty the bladder is the primary cause of the problems associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
What are the Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?
An enlarged prostate due to BPH will generally affect the urinary system as it might impede or block the bladder. With BPH, you may have the following symptoms:
- Always feeling that your bladder is full, even after just urinating
- Nocturia – frequent urination at night
- A weak urine stream
- Difficulty passing out urine. Needing to stop urinating several times
- Difficulty in starting to urinate
- Needing to push or strain before urinating
- The condition gets worse with age and may lead to more complications, such as damaged bladder, blood in the urine, infection, and kidney damage.
Can Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
Though benign prostatic hyperplasia affects men in different forms, both are major concerns for men and their sexual partners. Many men who have BPH also experience erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory problems. While BPH does not directly cause erectile dysfunction (ED), these two conditions have some connections.
Some drugs commonly used in BPH treatments have been linked to erectile dysfunction. For instance, finasteride (Proscar) is one of these drugs. It has been discovered to be responsible for ED in 3.7% of those who use it and has caused a diminished libido in 3.3%. Additionally, some men who used a surgical technique called transurethral resection of the prostate for BPH treatment may also experience erectile dysfunction.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Diagnosis and Treatments
If you are having the above symptoms or any other related signs, it’s time to seek medical help before these symptoms get worse. A BPH diagnosis can be based on your family and personal history, a medical test, or a physical exam. There are various treatment options for BPH, which include watching to see if the symptoms are still at a moderate or mild level, meaning your BPH will be monitored but not actively treated.
At this stage, diet and medicine might suffice while monitoring symptoms. But if the condition gets worse, other treatments might be recommended by your medical care provider. Other treatment options for BPH are medications, surgery, and non-invasive therapy procedures such as radial extracorporeal shockwave therapy. Among these numerous options, radial extracorporeal (rESWT) is relatively new, yet highly efficient and preferred by patients and medical experts for a variety of reasons.
What is Radial Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy?
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is a non-invasive method which has been in use in the field of urological medicine for decades. It has been used in treating different conditions such as lithotripsy, musculoskeletal disorders such as muscle hypertonia, capsular fibrosis, calcific tendinitis, and other chronic pains. However, as research on shockwave treatment increases, more discoveries are being made on its numerous uses.
Radial extracorporeal shockwave therapy (rESWT) is a more recent development in the medical use of shockwave therapy. It has been used effectively in treating various severe pelvic pain, including BPH. From the available results, rESWT appears to be more effective than other methods of shockwave therapy because of its application, which is more suitable for the steric structure of the prostate.
How Does It Work?
Shockwave machines come in two types: low and high energy. The therapy is administered at different intensity levels or frequencies depending on the condition it is meant to treat.
For urological conditions like BPH, rESWT makes use of low-energy waves to improve blood flow, repair an affected part of the body, and regenerate new tissue from the existing one. It will not only repair the damaged parts of your reproductive organ but will also stimulate the natural process of urination after the treatment.
Depending on your situation, shockwave therapy is typically administered and completed over a period of 6 to 12 sessions. For most clinics, each session will last for about 15 to 20 minutes and will likely occur once or twice a week, after which there will be follow-ups to monitor the healing process.
How Effective Is Radial Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?
The efficacy of radial shockwave therapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment has been established by various studies. Naturally, many BPH patients dread surgery due to its associated pains and complications afterward while some people’s conditions might not be ideal for surgery.
For patients that are poor candidates for surgery or those who are not interested in going under the knife, rESWT has been found to be a great recourse. A medical journal published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine detailed the beneficial effects of this therapy. The study had 29 BPH patients who went through rESWT, documenting their improvement during the treatment as well as the progress made during follow-up appointments afterward. This improvement was based on their lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTs), quality of life, erectile function, and improvement in International Prostate Symptom Score after undergoing rESTW once a week for 8 weeks. The following are a few of the positive results of the study:
- Throughout the 8 weeks, there was no complication recorded except for the mild perineum pain or discomfort that occasionally occurred during the process. And the pain usually vanished within 3 days.
- For some of the patients, urination was smoother and there was no record of urinary retention during the study.
- There was an improvement in their International Prostate Symptoms Score (IPSS) as significant reductions recorded during the treatment were maintained throughout the follow-up period.
- Similarly, the quality of life of the patients and the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) also improved significantly
- Conclusions drawn from the publication recommended that more studies be conducted for using rESWT for BPH. However, the fact that the participating patients maintained their improved quality of life all through the 3-month followup, was yet another attestation to the efficacy and safety of the treatment option.
Are there Side Effects?
Currently, shockwave therapy is one of the safest and most preferred treatment options in urological medicine. This is because, since its first use in urology, there have not been any side effects apart from occasional minimal discomfort which hardly lasts for 3 days before disappearing.
It doesn’t require any form of surgery and has long-lasting effects. Unlike surgery and some other treatments, shockwave therapy is a simple and stress-free procedure that lets you resume your normal daily activities immediately after each session.
Though it is yet to gain FDA approval because there is still a need for more studies to ensure its clinical efficacy, the ongoing clinical trials such as the one cited above clearly show that the procedure is not only effective but also free of any lasting negative side effects.
Where Can I Get Radial Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a popular procedure around the world. In the U.S, there are several clinics offering shockwave therapies for different treatments. Ours is one of the medical outfits offering the best shockwave services in the U.S. A thorough assessment of the condition must first be carried out on your case to ascertain if you are a right candidate for rESWT and to determine the ideal number of sessions you will need. It is also worth noting that shockwave therapy isn’t just for benign prostatic hyperplasia. It is also used for several other urinary and sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction.
How ePowerWave Can Help
While there are multiple treatment modalities for benign prostate hyperplasia, patients prefer the option that is low-stress, highly effective, and safe. These and many more are the most significant advantages of radial shockwave therapy for BPH offered by our team at ePowerWave.
At ePowerWave, we have a team of highly trained medical experts specialized in using the best and latest technology in shockwave treatment for various chronic pains and helping men overcome their urinary and sexual problems. You can book an appointment with us today simply by filling out this contact form.
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