Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), more commonly referred to as an enlarged prostate, is a common condition that typically develops as men age. Around 50% of men have BPH by age 60, which rises to 90% by age 80.
If you’re among this large group affected by BPH, chances are you’re ready to end the frustrating symptoms it causes. The board-certified interventional radiologists at Alate Health offer effective interventions to men in the Houston, Texas, area who are tired of dealing with BPH.
One of the safest therapies is a minimally invasive therapy called prostate artery embolization (PAE). Many of our patients considering PAE are curious about what the procedure feels like—especially if it will hurt. Keep reading as we answer your PAE questions.
All about PAE
BPH develops when your prostate, a small gland that produces seminal fluid, grows too large. Because the gland is beneath the bladder and around the urethra, it can trigger problematic symptoms, including:
- Inability to urinate
- Inability to empty your bladder
- Dribbling after urinating
- Urinary incontinence (urge incontinence)
- Frequently needing to pee at night
- Straining with urination
- Pain with urination or ejaculation
- Slow or weak urine stream
- Delayed start to urinating
- Urinary tract infections
If you’re tired of living your life around the symptoms of BPH, prostate artery embolization may be the answer. This outpatient procedure uses X-ray technology to guide microspheres (microscopic plastic beads) through the artery that delivers blood to your prostate.
Once in place on both sides of the prostate, the microspheres restrict blood flow to the gland, causing it to shrink. Your provider threads a small catheter through a small incision into the artery and ensures the right placement using imaging technology.
The PAE procedure takes 2-3 hours and requires only local anesthesia. You’re free to return home after your treatment.
What PAE feels like
If you’re nervous about PAE, you can rest easy knowing the treatment isn’t painful. The most discomfort comes from having to lie flat for the entire procedure.
Your provider gives you a local anesthetic to numb the location where the incision for the catheter is made. Some patients say they experience a warm sensation when the beads are placed but not pain.
If you’re worried about the procedure or are experiencing a lot of anxiety, your provider may prescribe a sedative medication to help you stay calm and relaxed.
Results after PAE
After PAE, most men notice a quick improvement of their symptoms—often within days. The procedure has a high success rate, with over 90% of those treated reporting a drastic improvement of symptoms within a year and continued relief after three or more years.
Who should consider PAE
Whether PAW is the right treatment for you depends on different factors, such as the severity of your symptoms, the size of your prostate, and your overall health and age. The BPH specialists at Alate Health evaluate your condition and make personalized treatment recommendations.
Good candidates for PAE generally share these traits:
- Medications aren’t helping control your BPH enough
- You want to avoid BPH surgery
- Your prostate is too big for other treatments
- Your BPH surgery hasn’t provided enough relief
Men with certain conditions aren’t eligible for PAE, such as having an allergy to contrast dye or a history of significant kidney disease.
Learn more about PAE by scheduling an online or phone consultation at Alate Health in Houston, Texas, today.