If you're a man of a certain age, you may have noticed that you're making many more frequent bathroom trips than you used to. This most often occurs because of a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or an enlarged prostate. It's extremely common in older men, but that may be small consolation when every car trip becomes a quest for the next rest stop or when peaceful slumber is interrupted by nature's call several times through the night.

Why do so many men experienced an increased need to urinate as they get older—and often have a hard time doing so once they get to the bathroom? As the prostate enlarges, it presses on the urethra and blocks the flow of urine. This makes the bladder work harder, and eventually it becomes ultrasensitive to even small amounts of urine in it. Hence, the increase in multiple restroom visits.

If your enlarged prostate is really infringing on your quality of life, one option for you to consider after speaking with your doctor is transurethral microwave therapy, or TUMT. It's nonsurgical and doesn't involve taking drugs. In TUMT, a device called an antenna is inserted into the penis and all the way into the prostate. The microwave antenna then emits a small dose of heat that destroys just enough excess prostate tissue to provide relief from symptoms.

TUMT takes less than an hour and is performed on an outpatient basis. It's generally safe, although you'd be well advised to avoid strenuous activity for several days and sex for two weeks. After the treatment, you may feel a little discomfort when urinating for up to several weeks. Rarely are there serious side effects from the procedure.

Is TUMT right for you? Experts say it's more effective than medication at regulating urine flow, but less effective than surgery. However, surgery carries many more risks and is much more complicated. Speak to your doctor about what your situation warrants. TUMT is generally best for men with moderate prostate enlargement. And be aware that TUMT is not a treatment for prostate cancer, simply a means to live life more comfortably if you suffer from prostate enlargement.




Mayo Clinic

The Urology Center