UKIAH, 10/26/20 — More than 50% of men over the age of 50 suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also referred to as an enlarged prostate. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, in 2010, as many as 14 million men in the United States had lower urinary tract symptoms suggestive of BPH.
Not to be confused with prostate cancer, BPH occurs when the prostate gland that surrounds the male urethra becomes enlarged with advancing age and begins to obstruct the bladder. Symptoms of BPH often include urinary problems such as frequent urination, a weak or slow urinary stream and a urinary stream that stops and starts. This can lead to interrupted sleep, loss of productivity and decreased quality of life.
For Tom, a patient from Ukiah, he didn’t know what his condition was called but he knew what it felt like. “As I got older, I noticed some symptoms, but I ignored it. At first it was just challenging to go and then eventually I’m able to relieve myself. So I thought I was fine and it was just part of getting old,” he shared. Until one day, when he was completely unable to go. “One night I just woke up to go to the bathroom like usual, and I couldn’t. I could feel the urge and the need to go, but I just couldn’t.” He ended up going to the emergency room at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley. While there, a catheter was inserted which relieved the pressure, but the experience made him realized that he needed answers and a long-term solution. “I had initial concerns about what the future could look like for me. When you can’t go to the bathroom, it hurts and it’s not a pleasant feeling. Having a catheter was not fun and wasn’t going to work for me for long-term. I needed a permanent solution.”
He was referred to Joanne LaMonica, MD, board-certified urologist with over two decades of experience at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley medical office. “Dr. LaMonica was very systematic in her diagnosis. She knows her stuff,” he states.
After some tests, Dr. LaMonica recommended a Urolift procedure to help Tom. “I had never heard of this procedure before,” he said. But after watching a video in the clinic office and addressing his concerns with Dr. LaMonica, he wanted to give it a try. The procedure was quick and painless. “I don’t really know how long the procedure lasted, I was out quick and just remember waking up and having to go to the bathroom and that was it,” he chuckles.
For quite some time, the only solutions were medications or invasive surgical procedures. Lifelong dependence on medication has significant side effects and does not prevent permanent bladder dysfunction. While surgery is often painful with a long recovery period.
Thanks to this new procedure, men with enlarged prostate have a new option available locally, a 30-minute procedure that provides lasting relief for BPH. “Prior to the UroLift System, I had limited options to offer my patients that came with the risk of significant side effects. Surgery comes with significant downtime. The UroLift System allows me to provide a safe and effective way for men to stop medications and get back to a better quality of life sooner,” shares Dr. LaMonica.
Since the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved UroLift in 2013, it has grown in popularity and has become a recommend option for the treatment of BPH by the American Urological Association.
The prostate gland is composed of two lobes that surround the urethra, the tube that carries urine. If the lobes are enlarged, they can slow or completely block the flow of urine. During the Urolift procedure, small permanent implants are placed to unobstruct the enlarged prostate tissue and increase the opening of the urethra.
The procedure takes about 30 minutes in the operating room and patients are released home on the same day. “Recovery is much and two weeks after their treatment, they can may stop their prostate medication. The symptom relief lasts up to six years, vastly improving overall quality of life,” explains Dr. LaMonica.
Tom’s recovery was quick with minor swelling and pain. “My biggest challenge was to slow down,” he says. But within three weeks, his recovery was complete. Tom said he had a great experience and appreciated the care he received from preparing for surgery through follow up. “Dr. LaMonica always wants what’s best for the person she is caring for. She always gives you all the time you need. I’m so glad this procedure was available right here and I didn’t have to travel to the city to get it.”
A few weeks ago, Dr. LaMonica and the urology office was recognized as a Urolift Center for Excellence for extensive training in and use of the UroLift System. Urologists included in the UroLift Center of Excellence (COE) program have achieved a higher level of training with the UroLift System and demonstrated a commitment to exemplary care for men suffering from the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. Clinics that receive the designation have participated in additional trainings and demonstrated a high skill level by completing over 60 cases within a 12-month period with above average results Adventist Health Ukiah Valley’s Urology office is one of only two UroLift Centers of Excellence north of San Francisco.
“We’re proud to be able to offer this innovative procedure right here at home. The Center of Excellence distinction offers an added level of assurance to our patients who are considering the UroLift procedure—and that’s important to us,” added Jason Wells, president for Adventist Health Ukiah Valley. “The distinction also is a reminder that our physicians are committed to providing quality care as they make advanced treatments available to our community.”
Adventist Health Ukiah Valley’s urology medical office is located at 260 Hospital Drive, Suite 201 in Ukiah. Patients who want to learn more about the Urolift procedure or would like to make an appointment, please call 707-972-1928.