The secret to solving some uncomfortable men’s health problems could be as simple as a little prick, a doctor says.
The secret to solving some uncomfortable men’s health problems could be as simple as a little prick, a doctor says.

Why shrinkage is a big deal

Shrinkage - it's occasionally a problem for men and their male bits but now is being hailed as a solution to male troubles for some candidates.

In this case it is all about the prostate, and how an enlarged prostate squeezes into the urethra duct taking urine from the bladder through the prostate and penis.

If the prostate is enlarged it puts pressure on the urethra causing classic symptoms such as slow flow, urgency, more frequency, hesitation, stop-start and going more than once at night.

A non-surgical option now in use in South Australia for a benign enlarged prostate involves sticking a tube with a long skinny telescope, about the width of a catheter, up the urethra from the eye of the penis until the end is mid-prostate.

Associate Professor Nick Brook. Picture: Mark Brake
Associate Professor Nick Brook. Picture: Mark Brake

A tiny needle is then pushed sideways from the tip of the telescope through the urethra wall and into the prostate.

Hot water vapour is pumped through this needle into the prostate in nine-second blasts, usually twice on either side, gradually killing some cells.

In the next one-to-three months as cells die off, there should be enough shrinkage of the prostate to open the urethra channel, once again allowing good urine flow.

The procedure is done under a light anaesthetic and takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

Urologist Associate Professor Nick Brook from East West Urology at Woodville South says patients may need a catheter for three to seven days, and symptoms may initially worsen as the body heals but then should improve as the open passage of flow is restored.

"Rezum is used to reduce the size of the prostate and therefore reduce the block to the outflow of urine," he said.

"There is no cutting involved, and it is day surgery or sometimes an overnight stay."

Prof Brook said five-year data from international clinical trials shows excellent results and described it is a new option for some patients unsuited to other treatments.

Medicare does not reimburse costs unless the patient is classified as medically unfit for other treatments.

"This opens an option for people with bad symptoms who may not be fit for other procedures," Prof Brook said.

Originally published as Why shrinkage is a big deal


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