It's a common problem for older men: benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.

"BPH is a fancy way of saying the prostate is getting larger, and we don't want it to."

Dr. Toby Kohler, a Mayo Clinic urologist, says the enlarged prostate forces the urethra to narrow, causing a variety of urination problems. And as men age, the symptoms occur more frequently.

Treatment for BPH has long been medications and procedures, such as lasers or an electric loop, which burn the prostate from the inside out.

But, now, a relatively new convective water therapy treatment uses steam to make the prostate smaller.

"For nine seconds, a steam ball is produced and that kills all that prostate tissue that we don't want or that has grown out of control."

Dr. Kohler says the procedure, performed right in the doctor's office, has a very low risk for complications or sexual side effects.

"It does not carry heat outside the prostate, and it does not carry heat to areas we don't want it."

He says this next generation of BPH treatment may soon replace the need for costly medications.

For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Jason Howland.

Aug. 07, 2020