Scientists have come up with an eye-watering new treatment to shrink enlarged prostates – by using injections of STEAM.
Researchers at Imperial College London said the treatment ‘could improve the lives of thousands of men’ by significantly shrinking the uncomfortable ailment.
The treatment can shrink prostates by 36 per cent – and has ‘fewer side effects’ than current methods.
A benign enlarged prostate is common in men over 40, causing pressure on the bladder and the urethra – the tube which allows urine to pass through.
It can lead to frequent trips to the loo and difficulty in emptying the bladder.
In some cases, symptoms are mild and lifestyle changes such as cutting down on tea and coffee are needed.
However, in a third of cases it can cause bladder irritation, which can ‘affect a man’s quality of life’
At that point surgery is usually required – but men could soon opt for a steamy alternative.
Currently, men with severe enlargement of the prostate are treated by a surgical procedure called transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).
The operation involves the surgeon passing a thin tube shaped metal instrument into the urethra through the penis.
This is then heated and used to cut away the section of the prostate causing symptoms.
However, the operation can take over an hour and includes two – three days of hospital stays.
It can also cause complications such as incontinence and impotence.
But a consultant urological surgeon decided on a new form of treatment – by injecting patients at Charing Cross Hospital with steam.
The new procedure, Rezum Water Vapour, injects small amounts of steam into the prostate.
Next, the steaming process permeates throughout the tissue which then allows the gland to shrink as it repairs itself, relieving symptoms.
Unlike current methods, the procedure takes 10-15 minutes under sedation or local anaesthetic with patients able to go home the same day.
A large randomised study in the United States prove it is effective at relieving symptoms and carries little risk of side effects.
Professor Hashim Ahmed, of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said he hoped the treatment will be used widely across the UK.
He said: “I wanted to focus on new treatment that removes some of the harms we as physicians can cause with treatment.
“Men don’t always seek help when we need to – we have a number of things that happen and the prostate is one of those.
“It can affect quality of life in the long term if unchecked.”
By Daniel Hammond