08:45pm Sunday 22 October 2017

New treatment for older men with ‘slow flow’ problems

Human urinary system in gray x-ray - Istock

Human urinary system

Up and down to the toilet at night? Slow flow? Bladder never feels empty?

A study by urologist and UNSW Conjoint Professor Prem Rashid has shown a simple procedure may be the solution for the mild urinary symptoms commonly experienced by older men.

The study found the walk-in walk-out procedure, called a prostatic urethral lift (PUL), restored good flow rates in 44% of men and was durable for up to three years.

Professor Rashid said the surprise finding of the study was that the procedure did not cause the sexual side-effects experienced by men from medication and surgery.

“PUL doesn’t appear to affect men’s emissions or erections and while it has some temporary mild side-effects no permanent ones have yet emerged.

“Although the study showed the procedure improved flow rates for three years, there was a subtle drop-off, probably because the prostate continues to grow with age.”

The results of the three-year randomised study of 140 men were presented this week in Adelaide at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ).

Urinary problems tend to arise in mid-life because the prostate swells with age. The swelling is benign and quite different from prostate cancer.

As urine leaves the bladder, it goes down a channel that runs through the middle of the prostate. When the prostate swells, it often squeezes this channel, interfering with the flow.

The procedure, which uses a visual telescope inserted into the urethra channel, pulls the two side lobes of the swollen prostate apart a little, widening the central channel and restoring flow.

While there is no age limit for PUL, it can’t be used on men who have prostate cancer or who have had previous surgery for a benignly enlarged prostate.

USANZ President Professor Mark Frydenberg said PUL should be included in the suite of possible treatments for men with benign prostate enlargement.

It would suit men with mild urinary symptoms who didn’t like taking daily tablets or didn’t like the tablets’ side-effects, Professor Frydenberg told The Australian Financial Review.

As this three-year study did not compare PUL with surgical and medical treatments, it was not possible to say if it was equivalent, better or worse.

The trial will continue for another two years.

A version of this story was published in the Australian Financial Review. 

Media Office, UNSW Sydney NSW 2052 Australia
Telephone. +61 2 9385 2864, Email. media@unsw.edu.au
Authorised by Director, Media Office, UNSW


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