- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) often leads to lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), including difficulty urinating.
- Surgery to treat BPH has often carried multiple risks, including erectile dysfunction (ED).
- The iTind has shown promise in offering better results while mitigating the risks of BPH surgery.
Treating the urinary symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) has often involved surgery, with a risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) and other complications afterward. A recent study on a new device, the iTind, shows that it may be a better way for men to get relief of milder forms of BPH.
What Is the iTind?
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) occur when the prostate enlarges enough to narrow the urethra. This happens gradually, but it can quickly become painful and uncomfortable. It can cause difficulty urinating, trigger a sudden need to urinate or cause spontaneous urination, and leave you feeling like your bladder is still full, no matter how often you go to the bathroom.
The iTind, which received FDA approval in April 2020, is a temporarily transplanted device made of a nickel and titanium alloy. The goal of the device is to reshape the prostate so the urethra remains at a normal size. It does this by being inserted at the narrowest point and slowly expanding, gently moving the prostate away from the urethra. It’s usually left in place for five to seven days and then removed. Both insertion and removal are outpatient procedures.
A study conducted in 2021 as a randomized trial with men over 50, showed just how effective the iTind can potentially be. 118 out of 175 men in the study were given the device, with the rest serving as a control. Using the International Prostate Symptoms Scale (IPSS), the men were evaluated at 1-1/2, 3, and 12 months following treatment.
76.8% of the men who had the iTind reported an improvement, compared to 60% of those who didn’t get the device. A year later, they were still reporting positive outcomes, with a 9.25 decrease on the IPSS scale. Even better, no new effects on sexual function were reported.
Because nearly everyone with a prostate will have to think about BPH at some point in their lives, this is exceptional news.
Will Every Man Get BPH?
While there can be other factors, BPH is often simply a consequence of age. Around the age of 40, the prostate begins to grow and will continue to do so for the rest of a man’s life. It’s not clear why this happens, but it makes at least mild BPH an inevitability for most men as they get older; over 80% of men over 80 have BPH.
To this point, the treatments for BPH have had tradeoffs. The most common option is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), where surgical tools are inserted through the urethra to remove sections of the prostate. Notably, this procedure has the risk of sexual side effects, such as “dry orgasm” and retrograde ejaculation, where semen flows backward into the bladder instead of forward through the urethra.
Laser surgery is also an option, where sections of the prostate are heated up or cut off by the laser. This is sometimes combined with the TURP technique when there’s a large amount of tissue to be removed. In extreme cases, particularly if you’re at high risk of cancer, prostatectomy — partial or full removal of the prostate — might also be considered.
All of these are considered major surgery, requiring sedation and a recovery period in the hospital. While these surgeries are relatively safe, any sort of surgical procedure is at least mildly dangerous. Infection risk is a concern, after-care will be needed, and recovery can take months, a particular issue for men who are still working or have active lives they don’t want to interrupt. A catheter is often required during the healing process, which has its own difficulties.
Longer term, surgery leaves men at risk for ED. This can be through a number of avenues, including nerve damage during surgery and deeper damage to the prostate. Other risks include bleeding and difficulty holding urine. As the prostate continues to grow, some men need repeat surgery. All of this can be difficult for both men and their partners to deal with emotionally.
While mild BPH cases have alternative treatments, including daily doses of Cialis or tadalafil, many men find themselves in an “in-between” state, where surgery isn’t a good option while other interventions don’t offer enough relief. Many find themselves waiting for symptoms to get bad enough that surgery is a viable option. Others just choose to live with it, no matter how bad it gets.
Why Is the iTind an Improvement?
The iTind is a growing part of BPH treatments for a few reasons, starting with the fact that it’s placed during an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia. This means the process can be repeated as needed, with less impact on your health and daily life. So far, minimal side effects have been reported.
Patients have also been able to get on with their lives with minimal interruption. The device is left in place, and once the local anesthesia wears off, a patient can live his normal life while the device reshapes his prostate.
The lack of sexual side effects is also a key advantage. As the iTind is minimally invasive and doesn’t involve the nerves or removing any sections of the prostate or urethra, the odds of sexual side effects have been low in studies, and so far none have been reported as it enters the market.
The iTind only received FDA approval in 2020 and will need more use in the field. Yet for men with mild BPH, or those who are worried about the risks of surgery, iTind is worth asking about.
BPH and Erectile Dysfunction
The urinary symptoms of BPH can often make men feel like their prostate is the center of their lives, dictating where they go and making everyday activities risky due to fear of embarrassment. What’s more, erectile dysfunction often goes hand-in-hand with BPH.
If you’re one of the many men who struggle with erectile dysfunction from BPH, Cialis may be just what you’re looking for to treat both conditions.
eDrugstore Is Your Best Source for ED Medications
We carry Cialis and its generic equivalent, tadalafil, as well as daily Cialis, designed to be taken in a smaller dose every day so you can be ready for intimacy at any time. Ordering from eDrugstore is easy, fast, and discreet. We offer an online consultation with a U.S.-licensed physician, who will issue your prescription and send it right to your door.
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Dan is a long-time freelance writer focusing on technology, science, health, and medicine, with a lifelong interest in physics, biology, and medicine. His work has taken a particular focus on scientific studies “beyond the headlines,” reading the study to more closely examine the results.