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Urolift Review: The Best BPH Treatment?

Urolift Review: The Best BPH Treatment?

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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to surgery.

The Urolift is a surgical procedure that’s cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. for treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate. The founding company claims that the procedure provides “rapid relief and recovery,” and that it can preserve sexual function better than prescription medications for BPH.

In this article we’ll review the medical research on Urolift to determine if it’s safe and effective, and to compare it to other treatment options.

What is Urolift?

The Urolift procedure uses implants to create more space in the urethra.

When patients have an enlarged prostate, their urethra can become partially or fully blocked, leading to difficulty urinating and a constant feeling of urgency to urinate, according to the Cleveland Clinic. 

While an enlarged prostate typically isn’t a life-threatening condition, it can seriously impact quality of life because the symptoms can be frequent.

The Urolift device is inserted into the urethra and then implants are placed which hold the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way of urethral flow, similar to how stents are used for patients with cardiovascular disease to clear space in a blocked artery.

When urethral flow is normalized, patients experience less uncomfortable symptoms like frequent need to urinate which were caused by the enlarged prostate interference.

Does Urolift Work?

There is published medical research examining the effectiveness of the Urolift. 

A medical review published in the Expert Review of Medical Devices journal in 2017 analyzed how well the Urolift worked and its impacts on quality of life.

The researchers found that Urolift was effective in decreasing BPH symptoms like frequent urination, but only in patients with small or medium sized prostates, and who didn’t have median lobe enlargement. They did note that Urolift was a good option for preserving sexual function, which proves the health claims made by the company accurate.

Patients who received the Urolift surgery had no negative impact on sexual function compared to a placebo group. Since medication treatments for BPH often have sexual side effects, this proves that Urolift is a better option for patients who want to restore sexual function than prescription medication. 

A more recent medical review reached similar conclusions: the Urolift was effective on average for improving symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate and stabilizing sexual function.

This review looked at real-world medical data, and found that the Urolift device had a 0.004% breakage rate which is quite low. This equates to only 28 out of 780,000 patients.

The study authors found that the Urolift device was durable, with no visible signs of corrosion or damage after 15 months. They also noted that Urolift appears safer than prostatic stents because the risk of side effects is much lower.

This review stated that Urolift is “the only BPH procedure that has not been associated with new onset sustained erectile or ejaculatory dysfunction.”

We can conclude that the Urolift device is effective for treating symptoms of BPH, and appears superior to other surgical options.

Urolift Side Effects

While the Urolift appears relatively safe, it does have the risk of side effects, which shouldn’t be surprising given that it’s a surgical procedure.

A Urolift review published in the Urology journal found that the most common side effects were pelvic pain and discomfort or burning with urination. The percentages of patients experiencing those side effects were not reported. No major complications were noted.

A meta-study of the Urolift published in 2015 described the treatment as “minimally invasive” and noted “no relevant side effects.”

The Urolift appears to be one of the safer surgical treatments we’ve reviewed, with a side effect profile that seems free of major risk. Assuming the procedure is completed by a skilled doctor, the rare side effects appear more mild than the actual symptoms of BPH.

Urolift Cost

The cost of Urolift will vary substantially for patients in the U.S. based on health insurance.

A medical review of urinary treatments documented the cost of the Urolift surgery at over $6,000. This made it the most expensive treatment examined.

Urolift costs $3,500 more than Rezum, which is another popular BPH treatment option.

Urolift has a useful insurance codes section of their website with information that prospective patients should note down. The company provides the codes used for their surgery, so that patients can check with their doctor and health insurer if the treatment will be covered.

We recommend that patients confirm with their health insurance provider (in writing ideally) that Urolift is covered, because the out-of-pocket cost is high.

Natural Alternatives

Patients who wish to avoid surgery or who cannot afford the Urolift device may benefit from speaking to their doctor about natural alternatives for prostate enlargement.

A medical study published in the Canadian Journal of Urology found a strong association between Vitamin D3 deficiency and BPH. The researchers found that supplementation of Vitamin D analogues up to 6,000 International Units (IU) per day decreased prostate volume in patients with BPH.

This suggests that patients with BPH should get a Vitamin D blood test done. If levels are low, supplementing with Vitamin D3 may be an effective and cheap way to reduce symptoms.

A separate medical review analyzed whether any dietary supplements were proven to be effective for BPH. The researchers looked at results from 35 individual medical trials on the topic.

They found that Pygeum africanum, which is a tree native to Africa, was effective in reducing urinary symptoms of BPH with mild side effects. This compound is available as an over-the-counter (OTC) supplement.

Only one study confirmed the benefits of this compound. We recommend only sourcing it from a manufacturer willing to provide test results proving the label accuracy and purity of their product, because herbal supplements are often contaminated.

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The Urolift is effective for improving quality of life and reducing symptoms of BPH like frequent need to urinate which are caused by an enlarged prostate.

It works by using implants to create more space in the urethra, and it has a favorable side effect profile. No major side effects are associated with implantation of this device, which is rare for medical devices which require surgery.

The Urolift is expensive, especially for patients without health insurance, and appears to be the most expensive option for BPH treatment on the market.

Vitamin D3 supplementation in the context of a documented deficiency, and Pygeum africanum extract supplementation with the approval of a doctor, may be effective natural treatments for BPH.

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