The prostate gland is a small, walnut-sized organ of the male reproductive system. Although not a part of the urinary system, it can cause a raft of urinary problems when it´s not working properly or is enlarged. These include:
- Difficulty starting to urinate
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
- Frequent urination, especially at night. This is known as nocturia
- A sensation of not being able to completely empty the bladder
- Straining to urinate
- Painful urination
- An urgent need to urinate
In this article, we´re going to look at the body´s urinary system and how the prostate can affect urination.
The Urinary System
Most of the body´s waste products are removed by the urinary system and are passed in urine. This efficient drainage system is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located in the abdominal cavity near the lower back. They are vital organs responsible for filtering waste and toxins from the body, as well as regulating electrolyte balance, water balance and acid-base balance. They are also responsible for producing hormones that control blood pressure, red blood cell production and calcium metabolism.
The ureters are two tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. They are located in the abdomen and are responsible for carrying urine from the kidneys to the hollow storage organ. The walls of the ureters are lined with muscle fibers, which help to propel urine along the tubes and into the bladder. They also have valves that help to prevent backflow of urine from the bladder up into the kidneys.
The bladder is an organ located in the pelvic region, and its primary function is to store urine until it can be eliminated from the body. When full, the bladder expands to accommodate the urine, then contracts to expel it. The bladder´s internal sphincter muscle helps to control the release of urine, while the external sphincter muscle is voluntarily controlled by the person to prevent leakage.
The urethra is a tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. It´s located in the pelvic area and runs through the prostate gland in men and the vagina in women. The urethra also serves as a conduit for semen in men, allowing sperm to be released during ejaculation. In addition, it plays a key role in the elimination of toxins from the body by allowing urine to be expelled.
How An Enlarged Prostate Affects The Urinary System
An enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a common condition in men as they age. It occurs when the prostate grows larger than normal, putting pressure on the urethra and bladder, which can cause urinary problems.
The pressure of an enlarged prostate can cause a man to feel the need to urinate more frequently, have difficulty starting a stream of urine, have a weak stream of urine, and have difficulty emptying the bladder completely. It can also lead to an inability to control the release of urine and lead to urinary incontinence. In severe cases, BPH can lead to an inability to urinate at all, which can be a medical emergency.
An inability to urinate is a medical emergency because it can cause serious health problems, including urinary tract infections, kidney damage and even kidney failure. If left untreated, these conditions may be life-threatening.
Treatment for an enlarged prostate can involve medications, lifestyle changes (such as Kegel exercises, avoiding or limiting the intake of alcohol and eating a balanced diet) or surgery.
Treating An Enlarged Prostate
An increasingly popular treatment for relieving symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate is PAE or prostate artery embolization (PAE). PAE is a minimally invasive procedure that uses small particles to block the arteries that supply blood to the prostate.
This helps reduce the size of the gland lowering the pressure it puts on the urethra. The net result is a decrease in urinary symptoms that have an impact on quality of life.
PAE has been shown to be effective in reducing the size of the prostate and improving symptoms in the overwhelming majority of patients. It can be done in a single outpatient procedure with minimal discomfort and a quick recovery time. Most patients go home within a few hours of having the procedure performed. There´s no need for an overnight hospital stay.
The key benefits of PAE are:
Reduced risk of urinary incontinence: Prostate artery embolization is associated with a low risk of urinary incontinence compared to other treatments, such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).
Reduced risk of infection: There is no risk of infection associated with prostate artery embolization since it is a minimally invasive procedure.
Reduced risk of bleeding: Since PAE is minimally invasive, the risk of bleeding is very low.
Improved quality of life: Prostate artery embolization can greatly improve quality of life by providing symptom relief.
Quick recovery time: The recovery time after prostate artery embolization is usually much shorter than that of other treatments for BPH.
Lower cost: Prostate artery embolization is often less expensive than other treatments for BPH.
How The PAE Specialists at MINT Can Help
At the Midwest Institute for Non-surgical Therapy (MINT), we specialize in performing prostate artery embolization for men suffering from an enlarged prostate.
Please get in touch with us today for more information and to schedule a free consultation at one of our 5 locations that's convenient for you.