Your prostate gland grows over your life, starting in puberty when it doubles in size and continuing through old age. That’s why at least 50% of men have signs of an enlarged prostate by age 60, and over 90% struggle with it by age 80.
When the prostate grows too large, it can cause benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Because the prostate surrounds your urethra and is under your bladder, BPH can trigger frustrating symptoms, including:
- Pain during urination or after ejaculation
- Trouble starting to urinate
- Slow urine stream
- Dribbling urine after visiting the restroom
- Frequent and strong urge to urinate
- Frequently getting up at night to urinate
- An inability to empty the bladder
- Increased risk of urinary tract infections
- Changes in the color or odor of urine
When not treated, BPH can eventually block the urethra, triggering more serious issues, such as kidney damage, bladder stones and infections, and a complete blockage of your urethra.
At Alate Health, our board-certified interventional radiologists are committed to giving men in Houston, Texas, the safest and most effective treatment for BPH. That’s why our practice uses minimally invasive prostate artery embolization (PAE).
Keep reading to learn more about PAE, if it’s the right treatment for you, and what you can expect after your procedure.
What is prostate artery embolization?
Prostate artery embolization uses X-ray technology and microscopic beads, called microspheres, to restrict the blood supply to the prostate gland. This causes the prostate gland to shrink, easing pressure on your urethra and bladder so you stop experiencing frustration symptoms related to incontinence and ejaculation.
This outpatient procedure is performed under local anesthesia and only takes a few hours to complete. Your provider makes a small incision to access the blood vessel, then uses X-ray imaging to place the microspheres.
You’ll be able to return home the same day, and most patients can return to work and other regular daily activities in a day or so. It takes a few weeks for the prostate gland to shrink and urine to flow more easily.
Am I a good candidate for PAE?
The right treatment for BPH depends on several factors, including the size of your prostate, symptoms, overall health, and age. That’s why it’s best to see a BPH specialist to learn which treatments are best for your condition.
Very mild cases of BPH may only require “watchful waiting” or medication, while severe cases may require surgery. You may be a good candidate for PAE to treat your enlarged prostate if:
- Medications aren’t enough to control your BPH
- You prefer a minimally invasive treatment rather than surgery for your BPH
- Your prostate has grown too large for other treatments to find success
- You’ve had BPH surgery but haven’t found enough relief
Some conditions mean you’re not eligible for PAE. For example, if you’re allergic to contrast dye or have extensive kidney damage or disease, PAE isn’t the right treatment.
What happens after PAE?
One of the best things about PAE is the very high success rate. Over 90% of men say their BPH symptoms improve dramatically within a year of their procedure, and the majority continue to enjoy relief 3+ years after their PAE treatment.
You’ll need to wait a few weeks while your prostate gland shrinks, but as it does, you can expect many benefits, including:
- Fewer urinary symptoms
- Better sexual function
- Overall better quality of life
- Able to stop using a catheter
- A quick recovery (1-2 days)
- Ability to get other BPH treatments if needed
Find out if PAE is the best treatment for your enlarged prostate by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at Alate Health in Houston, Texas.