Steaming Your Prostate? A New Treatment Could Improve Lives

A new procedure, which has just been approved by the UK’s health watchdog NICE, may help to improve the lives of millions of men suffering prostate problems.

Released this month, the guidance aims to tackle what is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or non-cancerous enlarged prostate. The condition is very common, affecting up to half of all men over the age of 50 in the UK alone.

While some people will show only minimal symptoms, like a weak or slow urinary stream, others may experience problems with urinating, feelings of needing to urinate more frequently and other uncomfortable symptoms that can add up to a lower quality of life.

Until now, the go-to treatment for prostate problems in the UK has been managing symptoms via medication until the problem is advanced. At this stage, patients will need surgery to cauterize the prostate. While this can be effective, it can also lead to a number of complications including loss of sexual function, incontinence and even bleeding. Many men, therefore, judge that until their prostate problem becomes severe, they will tolerate the discomfort.

The new, NICE-approved procedure aims to change this conservative approach for a more active treatment pathway.

Using a small probe, clinicians are able to travel the urethra and then pierce the prostate at small intervals, delivering tiny blasts of steam directly into the tissue. This steam causes the cells to break down and allows the prostate to shrink within one to three months of the procedure.

Because this procedure can be done under a local anesthetic, it means patients will not need to stay in hospital overnight, freeing up much-needed space in hospitals and also cutting patients’ risk of contracting infections.

Research conducted at the College Healthcare NHS Trust in London and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust showed that it could shrink tissue by about 36 percent. That’s roughly equivalent to other procedures but comes with the added bonus of displaying none of the longterm side effects, like loss of sexual function or incontinence.

“A huge group of men could benefit from this treatment,’” Professor Hashim Ahmed, a consultant urological surgeon at Imperial College, is quoted as saying. “There is a large group of men who are so worried about the side effects of an operation that they are suffering without treatment, or relying on drugs and their side effects.”

Australian health officials are already offering the treatment after the procedure was approved as a promising and minimally invasive option.

You may feel like this kind of “steaming” of body parts sounds familiar, but it’s important to draw a distinction between this clinically approved practice and other, more controversial, beauty treatments that are currently popular.

Is prostate steaming similar to vaginal steaming?

Put simply, no.

V-steaming or “yoni steaming” has been popularized by some celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow, for its “Korean holistic roots” and its purported ability to cut vaginal bacteria and “balance hormones”.

The so-called treatment — which I distinguish not to be derisive but to emphasize that it is not a medical procedure — has no clinical science supporting its usefulness. While the steam used in this practice tends to have ingredients like mugwort and wormwood, there appears to be no active mechanism by which it could balance a person’s hormone profile or create a meaningful change in the body at the dosages delivered by the steam.

It may have some assumed benefits of helping people with a vagina feel cleaner and more in control of their bodily environment, but so far this appears to be largely anecdotal. It also ignores the fact that the vagina is actually pretty good at keeping itself clean.

However, cinicians have warned that v-steaming may actually kill good bacteria within the vaginal cavity. What’s more, there is a chance of something going wrong, which could lead to serious, or certainly painful, burns.

The prostate treatment, on the other hand, is administered in a clinical setting and has a significant body of research to affirm its usefulness for some men dealing with an enlarged prostate problem. It may be a boon to thousands of men who suffer the uncomfortable symptoms of an enlarged prostate and give them the prospect of a quick and relatively painless procedure that offers a real and lasting solution.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

29 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Chad Anderson
Chad A7 months ago

Thank you.

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Shirley S
Shirley S8 months ago

Looks a better proposition for affected men.

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Colin Clauscen
Colin Clauscen8 months ago

Good interesting article thank you very much

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heather g
heather g8 months ago

That's very helpful for men

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Angela K
Angela K8 months ago

noted

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Elsie A. O
Elsie A. O8 months ago

Whatever treatment you choose, if you are a male with an enlarged prostate, don't put off surgical intervention too long. By the time my father was ready to insist on treatment, the doctors wouldn't do it because they were afraid of the potential lawsuits if this old guy should happen to die during or after the procedure. So Dad is now 99 years old and has been stuck with this problem for many years and will continue to be stuck with it. His bladder doesn't empty fully, which sets him up for UTIs, but the urology profession doesn't care.

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hELEN h
hELEN hEARFIELD8 months ago

tyfs

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Teresa W
Teresa W8 months ago

thanks

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Anne Moran
Anne Moran8 months ago

Hope it works...

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