Blassingame's despair deepened when he started to experience sexual problems. "I was miserable," he says. "I felt like I was letting down my wife as a man and as a husband."
Blassingame's father had suffered from prostate cancer, but testing ruled that out. Instead, Blassingame had benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. "BPH is caused by hormone changes and is a natural byproduct of getting older," says urologist Clifford Georges, MD, with LVPG Urology.
As the prostate enlarges, it presses on and blocks the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder), leading to problems with urination.
Half of all men in their 50s – and 90 percent in their 80s – have BPH symptoms. Sexual problems like those experienced by Blassingame are less common, but can occur.
While lifestyle changes (drinking less caffeine, for example) or medication can help BPH if your symptoms are mild, Blassingame needed treatment. Georges recommended a new procedure called Urolift,® an implant system that moves excess prostate tissue out of the way like curtains opening on a window. There is no cutting, heating or tissue removal.
"Urolift is very safe and effective," Georges says. "It offers symptom relief without medication side effects and almost no risk for sexual dysfunction."
Georges has implanted dozens of Urolift systems since March. Initially, all procedures took place in an operating room, with patients returning home the same day. In May, Georges became the first area surgeon to offer Urolift as an outpatient, office-based procedure.
"Men should not be embarrassed if they have BPH symptoms. I'm proof that real help is available."
Blassingame's procedure took place March 31. He experienced some pain the first few days, but that was offset by rapid symptom relief. "Within two weeks, I was completely back to normal," he says.
For Blassingame, normal includes long car rides to visit relatives, performing in front of an audience, and a satisfying sex life. "I feel like I’m 20 again," he says. "Men should not be embarrassed if they have BPH symptoms. I'm proof that real help is available."