UroLift Procedure for BPH

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) can be described as the blockage of urine as it tries to flow from the bladder, through the urethra, and out of the body. It occurs when an enlarged prostate begins to pinch the urethra, which is the tube that urine flows through as it leaves the bladder. The result is difficulty urinating, weak urine streams, and frequent urgent needs to urinate. BPH is the most common prostate problem faced by men over 50.

Fortunately for men who suffer from BPH, medical progress is on their side. According to Dr. David S. Harris, “We now have new tools and less invasive ways of treating guys with blockage.” One of the tools he is referring to is called UroLift. This clever cutting-edge procedure is changing the way the condition is treated and how men live post-BPH.

Before UroLift, in order to open the channel in the urethra a scope would be inserted through the penis to cut and remove tissue from the blocked channel. In other instances, urologists would use a heat method to destroy prostate tissue. Although this procedure would decrease the size of the prostate to relieve pressure on the channel, it required general anesthesia and resulted in a great deal of irritation and inflammation, as well a long recovery time.

UroLift has replaced these invasive procedures. UroLift is a small implant that is placed in the urethra and compresses the tissue that is causing the blockage, opening the channel for the flow of urine. This new implant dramatically improves the strength of urine flow. It also helps create normal patterns of urination, thereby stopping the frequent, strong urges to urinate. It brings men back to normal.

The UroLift procedure is minimally invasive and is well tolerated by patients. Another huge benefit is that UroLift has far fewer side effects than previous BPH procedures. One of the main negative side effects of previous BPH treatments was that they caused sexual problems by affecting a man’s ability to get and maintain an erection for intercourse. Thanks to UroLift, sexually active men do not have to choose between their sex lives and treating their BPH.

UroLift may be the best option for men who wish to take back their lives from the symptoms of BPH without resorting to an invasive procedure. Make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. David Harris or one of the many board certified urology specialists at Advanced Urology Insitute to find out if Urolift will work for you. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Insitute website.

BPH Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in which the male prostate gland interferes with the outflow of urine from the bladder. It is the most common prostate problem for men 50 and older. BPH is caused by an enlarged prostate that blocks the flow of urine. The enlarged prostate pinches the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the body.

The symptoms of BPH are similar to what happens when you step on a running hose. The hose becomes pinched, blocking the flow of water and weakening the stream coming out. People dealing with BPH will have trouble starting to urinate and a weak urine stream. They will strain to urinate, with the flow stopping and starting several times. Another major symptom is frequent urination. Frequent, strong urges to urinate often disrupt sleep and everyday life. This is the symptom that brings men to their urologist.

Dr. David Harris of Fort Myers, FLOnce an appointment is made with the urologist, doctor and patient can begin discussing symptoms and the diagnostic process. If the patient’s complaints are consistent with BPH, the urologist will proceed with a prostate exam. There are also other simple, non-invasive tests that can be completed at the urologist’s office that will indicate the patient’s urine flow and ability to empty his bladder. More sophisticated testing is available if additional data on the patient’s BPH issue is needed. For example, fiber optic scope evaluations give the urologist the most detailed picture of the patient’s BPH, which can then be used to devise the best treatment plan.

Treatment for BPH depends on many factors. For some men, mild symptoms can be managed with slight lifestyle changes and without medical intervention. For men with more severe symptoms, there are a variety of treatment options available. Oral medications can help relax the muscles around the prostate to allow easier urine flow. In serious cases, when medication is not enough, there are surgeries that can treat BPH. One cutting-edge option, that is less invasive than surgery and carries fewer side effects than medication, is Urolift. This minimally invasive procedure implants a stint in the urethra that opens the flow of urine and minimizes the symptoms of BPH.

BPH is a common medical issue that affects men and impacts their lives. As Dr. David S. Harris explains, “In general, many of our guys can tell you every bathroom from Lowe’s to Publix.” Living with BPH means having to plan their lives around the frequent and urgent need to urinate. The urologists at the Advanced Urology Institute work closely with patients to find the best way to solve their BPH-related issues.

Urologists Also Treat Women

Urologists are physicians who specialize in treating the male and female urinary systems, as well as the organs of the male reproductive system. Because men and women can both have problems with their urinary tract systems, many women see urologists for treatment. According to board certified urologist Dr. Howard Epstein, “We usually see women for things like bladder cancer, kidney stones, kidney cancer or incontinence.” Recurring urinary tract infections is another common reason for women to see a urologist.

Although both men and women see urologists, they usually see urologists for different reasons. For instance, women are more prone to urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control which can cause urine leaks. The degree of the severity of incontinence varies on a case-by-case basis. Some women experience urinary leakage when they laugh, cough or exercise. Urinary incontinence is so common in women that at least half of older women experience some degree of it. Urologists can treat incontinence with a wide range of options, including lifestyle changes, medication, devices, and in some cases surgery.

Urinary tract infections Howard Epstein, MD of St Augustine, FL(UTIs) are another issue that brings many women, especially older women, to their urologist’s office. UTIs are another urinary issue that can affect both men and women, but they are far more common in women than men. About half of all women will have a UTI in their lifetimes, while only 1 in 10 men will. UTIs are infections that happen in the bladder or urethra. Symptoms include burning while urinating, frequent urges to urinate, and pain in the lower back and abdomen. Urologists can prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

Kidney stones are another issue for which women seek help from their urologist. These stones, made of salt and mineral deposits in the kidneys, can become lodged in the urinary tract causing a wide range of issues. Symptoms include pain, nausea, vomiting, and even fever. In some cases, the pain can be so severe that some women liken it to childbirth, if not worse. There are several treatment options available for kidney stones, and finding the right one depends on the size and location of the stone. Shock wave lithotripsy can be used as a non-invasive way to break up the stones into small, easily passable pieces. In some cases, more invasive extraction methods might be needed.

All of these urological treatment options, from medications to surgeries, have their side effects. It is important for women to be able to have conversations with their urologist about their health issues and the possible side effects of treatment. For many women with urinary problems, the path to relief begins with a consultation with a urologist at the Advanced Urology Institute.

Becoming a Physician Assistant – Chelsie Ferrell, PA-C

A successful medical team has several positions. One of these positions is the physician assistant. Also referred to as a PA, a physician assistant is a trained medical professional whose education takes less time to complete than a doctor’s. Chelsie Ferrell, PA remembers the first time she shadowed another physician assistant and decided it was the career for her. According to Chelsie, “I met a really great PA and loved her job, and I fell in love with the profession.” After becoming a PA, her career path led her to urology.

Urology is a specialized medical field that focuses primarily on the male and female urinary systems and the male reproductive system. Because of how many different organs are involved in the urinary system, urology covers a wide range of medical issues for both men and women.

Chelsie Ferrell, PA of DeLand, FLOne reason men see a urologist is to check for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer that affects men. As they age and their likelihood of developing the disease increases, regular prostate cancer screenings by a urologist become increasingly important. If cancer is found, the urologist will discuss treatment options with the patient. Some non-aggressive cases can be treated simply by monitoring the cancer. Others cases may need to be treated with surgery or radiation therapy.

For women, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common reason to see a urologist. UTIs are infections that flare up in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder or urethra. Symptoms can vary between patients, with the most common symptoms being intense pain, frequent need for urination, nausea and vomiting. Although easily treated with antibiotics, UTIs are known to be a recurring problem for some women.

Physician Assistants are important urology team members who help doctors and patients as they work together to achieve the best possible outcome in medical care. They have the satisfaction of knowing that the work they do can make a positive change in a patient’s life. Their work can even be life-saving when it results in the early detection of prostate cancer. The Advance Urology Institute relies on committed staff members like Chelsie Ferrell, PA to provide quality patient care.

Different Treatment Options for Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are hard deposits of salts and minerals that form in the kidneys. They are a common and sometimes acutely painful occurrance that affects both men and women. Sometimes these stones can pass from the kidneys and become lodged in the tubes that connect the kidney to the bladder, called ureters. When this happens, kidney stones can become a big problem, causing painful symptoms that may require medical treatment.

Dr. Samuel Lawindy of Daytona Beach, FLAcute kidney stone symptoms include pain, nausea, vomiting and fever. When a patient experiencing an acute kidney stone episode sees their urologist, the first thing the urologist will do is insert a stint into the urethra. This will open it up and take pressure off the kidney, easing any pain that is present. With the pain subdued, the urologist can move on to assessing the kidney stone’s size and location in order to decide the best treatment option.

One of the best and newest treatment options is shock wave lithotripsy. For this treatment, shock waves are used to break the stone, or stones, into small sand-like particles. These much smaller particles are easier for the patient to pass naturally through their urine. Lithotripsy is a non-invasive and relatively pain free treatment option that is generally well tolerated by the patient.

Ureteroscopy is a slightly more invasive option for kidney stones. General anesthesia is used for this procedure in which a urologist uses a long tool inserted into the urethra to find and remove the kidney stone. In cases of larger stones, a laser is used to break up the stone so it can be scooped out with the tool. With this procedure, the urologist can see the stones as they are removed. Since this is a more invasive option than the shock wave lithotripsy, there is a slightly longer recovery time.

For the largest stones that sit inside the kidney, urologists may need to remove them through the patient’s back. Although still minimally invasive, it is the most invasive option listed here. The urologist will enter the kidney through the back and then either break the stone up or pull the whole thing out through the incision. Recovery for this procedure usually involves an overnight stay at the hospital and some mild pain that can be helped with pain medication.

Patients experiencing the pain and discomfort of kidney stones should be reassured that there are several established procedures for removing the stones. Dr. Samuel Lawindy of the Advance Urology Institute knows the importance of finding the right kidney stone treatment for each patient. For more information about kidney stones, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a health challenge that many men will face in their lifetime. What makes prostate cancer unique is the many forms it can take, with each form requiring a different treatment method and affecting men differently. According to board certified urologist Dr. Brian Hale, “Prostate cancer is extremely common and most men with prostate cancer will probably never have a problem from it.”Prostate cancer is so common that up to 80% of men who live to age 80 will have some form of it. Fortunately, for most of these men the illness will not be terminal. However, prostate cancer is still deadly enough to be the second leading cause of death for men in the United States. In other words, prostate cancer is often harmless; but when it isn’t, it can be deadly. This makes a proper and timely prostate cancer diagnosis essential.

Dr. Brian Hale of Palm Harbor, FLFor many men, their prostate cancer will not be aggressive and the symptoms will be manageable. In these cases, urologists rely on active surveillance as the best first treatment option. Rather than risk possibly harmful treatments on a non-aggressive cancer, the urologist will monitor the cancer with routine checkups. Other treatment options will be considered if the cancer becomes more aggressive.

If the prostate cancer is aggressive and immediate treatment is needed, urologists and their patients have a wide range of treatment options to choose from. The treatment option that works best will depend on a number of factors such as the cancer’s size and growth, and the patient’s age and health. Surgery to reduce the size of the cancer is often preferred for slow growing cancers. For more aggressive cancers, urologists may choose chemotherapy or radiation to kill the cancer cells as quickly as possible.

Although there are many possible causes of prostate cancer, there are certain factors that are known to raise the risk of its occurance. The first risk factor is age. As men get older, their likelihood of developing prostate cancer increases. African-American men have a greater genetic risk for developing an aggressive prostate cancer, while family history and obesity are also factors.

Early detection is the key to a successful treatment. Because prostate cancer is age related, it is recommended to most men that they begin having annual prostate checkups at age 50. African-American men and those with a family history of this cancer should be checked annually starting at age 40. Life saving screenings and successful treatments of prostate cancer happen every day at the Advanced Urology Institute, where trusted urologists like Brian C. Hale, MD guide their patients from diagnosis to recovery.

Becoming a Urologist – Dr. Howard Epstein MD

To become a urologist, one must really be committed to both people and study! First, students have to be top high school students. Then they go to a college or university to study the subjects needed before attending a graduate-level medical school.

Medical School

After completing the required subject courses, students take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and complete medical school applications. Applicants then must pass face-to-face interviews with professors who are medical doctors and have just one question: “Would I want this person to be my doctor?”

Once admitted to medical school, the future urologist can look forward to a program that will last at least four years, including grueling residency requirements and more exams. Upon completing exams, the student is a doctor, but merely graduating from medical school does not make a urologist!

Urology Studies

Howard Epstein, MD of St Augustine, FLThere is yet another exam called the American Board of Urology (ABU) Qualifying Examination, Part 1. Then the future urologist must complete five more years of schooling and residency practice. During this time, the new doctor must learn general surgery, surgical critical care, trauma, colorectal surgery, transplantation and plastic/reconstructive surgery. Also during this time, at least four years of clinical urology training are required. After all of that has been completed, the doctor must pass the ABU Certifying Exam (Part II) to become an ABU certified urologist.

There are a few medical programs that can shorten this process of nine years of graduate school, but they are not accepted in every state.

Re-certification as a urologist must occur every ten years. To continue as a licensed medical doctor, one must do a certain amount of continuing education credits each year. The learning never ends.

Urologists must learn how to examine and treat a large number of different disorders. They work with all kinds of diseases and injuries related to the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters, the adrenal glands, the related arteries and veins, the bladder and the urethra. Urology also includes the male reproductive system, which means urologists also treat issues concerning erectile dysfunction.

The urinary tract is one of the most important parts of the body. It regulates which chemicals, vitamins, minerals and gasses go to every part of the body. While the urinary tract does not regulate what goes into the body, it does regulate what comes out, at least as urine, and ensures that blood composition is just right.

Dr. Howard Epstein

Dr. Howard Epstein did not have a traditional course of undergraduate studies for medical school. His first university degrees were a dual-major in electrical engineering and business administration. From friends who were in medical school, he discovered that he was more interested in their work than in the fields for which he had degrees, so he went back to school.

Dr. Epstein has been practicing medicine since 1984. He is a board certified urologist with the American Board of Urology, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Urological Association. He is also with the Florida Urologic Association. Serving as the chief of urology at the Gainesville Veteran Administration Medical Center increased his awareness of the unique needs of American veterans. He currently practices medicine at the Advanced Urology Institute’s two offices in St Augustine, Florida at the Southpark and Tuscan locations. To contact Dr. Epstein or for more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Fort Myers Office: Working Together For You

Collaboration between medical staff and patients is one of the most important aspects of medical care. Achieving successful outcomes happens when everyone involved works together. Medical offices that create spaces for this to happen are laying the groundwork for the best treatment possible. In describing the medical office he works in, Luis Camacho PA says, “Patients feel they are in a good atmosphere, where they can be treated respectfully.” A place like this is where patients and staff can work together.

Urology offices, like other medical offices, benefit from this collaboration. Each patient has unique needs based on their ailment, medical history, age, and many other factors. In a comfortable atmosphere, patients who feel at ease describing their medical issues can give urologist a clearer picture of their patients’ unique situations and the best approach to treatment. Whether the patient is suffering from problems with their prostate, kidneys, urinary track, erectile dysfunction, or any other issue, working together helps lead to a better outcome.

Luis Camacho PA of Fort Myers, FLFor instance, many men suffer from the negative side effects of an enlarging prostate as they age, and yet the best treatment for this is not the same for every patient. For some, diet and lifestyle adjustments may be all they need to treat their side effects, while some may need medication as well. For men with a more serious issue, their urologist may want to perform a transurethral resection of the prostate. For this procedure, a small device is used to trim away excess tissue from the prostate to shrink its size. There are other options, but what is important is tracking progress with your urologist.

Another common issue that patients and urologists work together on is treating kidney stones. Treatment will be determined by the size of the kidney stones, patient’s health, and pain level. If possible, the urologist may recommend non-invasive options like shock wave lithotripsy where water waves are directed at the stone, breaking it up into small pieces like sand that are easier to pass. For larger, more stubborn stones, the urologist may have to use an invasive option. An example of this would be making a small incision in the patient and inserting a scope to break up the stones.

No matter the issue that brings a patient into a urologist’s office, collaboration between patient and doctor is essential. A comfortable atmosphere, free of judgment, language barriers, or miscommunication is the best start to treatment. The Advance Urology Institute in Fort Myers understands the importance of creating this kind of atmosphere and does so every day.

Immunotherapy for Cancer

Immunotherapy

Cancer comes in many forms and choosing the right treatment options depends heavily on the patient, their health, and the type of cancer present. For patients with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body from where it started), chemotherapy has been a long-standing choice. However, for some patients, immunotherapy is the more effective treatment with fewer side effects.

Immunotherapy works by working with the patient’s body. The human body is designed to fight against infections and diseases, including cancer cells that grow and spread unchecked as they avoid the body’s natural defenses. Immunotherapy boosts the natural immune system, making it more effective in fighting cancer cells. It helps the body identify which cells should be left alone and which cells are cancerous and need to be attacked and eradicated. Immunotherapy utilizes the immune system to better recognize and target cancer cells, even after treatment has ended.

Dr. Amar Rava of Palm Harbor, FL l discusses ImmunotherapyOne of the biggest benefits of immunotherapy is its less severe side effects. Chemotherapy is known for its harsh side effects that can be devastating to patients. Side effects such as severe fatigue, hair loss, nausea and vomiting diminish quality of life for cancer patients. While immunotherapy is not without its side effects, most patients find that muscle aches, shortness of breath and headaches are easier to endure.

Immunotherapy can be used to treat many types of cancers. Urologists have been using it to treat bladder and prostate cancers, and typically for patients who have asymptomatic, castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Having more treatment options for prostate cancer—the most common form of cancer found in men—means a successful outcome is more likely.

Immunotherapy is less toxic than chemotherapy and its less intense side effects allow for a better quality of life for patients with prostate and bladder cancer. According to Dr. Amar J. Patel, Board Certified Urologist, immunotherapy is also shown to increase life expectancy for cancer patients by up to three months. Advance Urology Institute achieves better outcomes for patients by utilizing all of the tools available in the fight against cancer, including the patient’s very own immune systems. For more information about immunotherapy, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Should You Be Screened for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a common cancer that affects the walnut-shaped male prostate gland. As with most cancers, early detection is an important part of any successful treatment. The most common way prostate cancer is detected is through prostate cancer screenings during a patient’s appointment with a urologist. According to Dr. Amar Raval, “Screenings are important, along with a digital rectal exam, because prostate cancer continues to be the number one cancer found in men.”

Should you be screened for prostate cancer? If you can answer yes to one or more of the following conditions, then you may need to be screened:

• If you are between the ages of 55 and 69.
• If there is a history of prostate cancer in your family.
• If you are African-American.
• If you have a pre-existing medical condition that makes treatment difficult.

Dr. Amar Raval of Palm Harbor, FLThese factors are known to increase the risk of developing prostate cancer, and it is recommended that someone who has one or more of these conditions is screened at least once a year.

There are two main types of prostate cancer screening tests that a patient may receive. The most common is a digital rectal examination (DRE). For this exam, the health care provider puts on a glove and inserts a finger into the patient’s rectum to feel for any abnormalities on the prostate that can be attributed to cancer. The other screening is a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test. This blood test checks the PSA level in the blood, as someone with prostate cancer will have an elevated PSA level.

If one of these tests leads to a prostate cancer diagnosis, the urologist will want to identify what kind of prostate cancer it is in order to develop the best treatment plan. Non-aggressive cancers may not necessarily need treatment and can be monitored with active surveillance, which means watching the cancer to make sure it doesn’t turn aggressive and spread. In cases where the cancer is of intermediate or high risk, early identification from a screening test can help make sure that the treatment used on the cancer has the best chance for success.

If you believe it is time for you to start being screened for prostate cancer, then you should have a conversation with your urologist. Early detection can be a life saver. For men who are concerned about prostate cancer, the Advance Urology Institute is an excellent place to begin screening.