The month of September has been designated as National Prostate Awareness month to shine a spotlight on prostate disease. The prostate is a gland found in men, and its main function is to secrete fluid. It is partially muscular and encircles the urethra at the lowest part of the bladder. Normally, it is a walnut-shaped gland and comparable in size. However, usually about the age of 40 or 50, it can start to expand as part of the normal aging process. An enlarged prostate impacts up to 90 percent of men 80 years old and more, according to Urology Care Foundation.
This growth can be a precursor to Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, commonly referred to as BPH. One of the solutions for benign prostatic hyperplasia is the UroLift System. Urolift treats BPH with a one-time procedure performed in a medical office. It is minimally invasive, preserves sexual function and avoids the need for medication or surgery.
Effects of BPH
Since the urethra is the tube that transports urine and semen from the body, and the prostate surrounds a portion of the urethra, an enlarged prostate can result in frequent trips to the bathroom, often interrupting sleep and impacting an active lifestyle. The Urology Care Foundation advises that there may be cases where untreated BPH can evolve into a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, kidney damage or other medical issues.
Treatments for BPH
A diagnosis of BPH may be mild, moderate or severe. Depending on where you are on this spectrum, your doctor’s recommendation may range from simple lifestyle changes such as adjusting the amount and timing of fluid intake to traditional or minimally invasive surgery. Some cases may require only monitoring at first. The treatment will vary with the diagnosis as well as the individual’s personal level of tolerance. With the wide range of treatments available, each with their own expected outcomes and side effects, it is important to consult with your doctor specific to your particular situation.
What Medicare Covers
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) benefits include prostate cancer screenings for men 50 years old and older. Though BPH is not known to cause cancer, it is possible for BPH and prostate cancer to be presented simultaneously. The same screenings are used for both.
These tests include annual digital rectal exams and prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood tests. With a rectal exam, your doctor can detect the prostate size and shape. PSA test results that manifest high PSA levels can indicate an unusually large prostate.
Medicare recipients with Medicare Advantage plans will have at least the same Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare, but many plans include additional coverage. If you have Original Medicare and have purchased a Medicare Supplement plan, you may have help paying some of your costs including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.