What you think you know about enlarged prostates could be wrong

Prostate health may be an intimidating subject for some men, which can lead to misconceptions about conditions and treatments. Some men may even avoid visiting a doctor because of what they might learn. Breaking this stigma around prostate issues could help prevent complications from conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), commonly known as an enlarged prostate.

Under a doctor’s care, BPH can be effectively treated; over 14 million men in the U.S. seek treatment every year.

To help clear up some of the confusion and fear around prostate health, here is a breakdown of five common misconceptions about BPH:

1. BPH is linked to prostate cancer.

Is it? No. While both conditions affect the prostate gland, BPH is a benign (non-cancerous) condition, and the symptoms can typically be addressed with medications and/or other treatment options.

2. Medication and major surgery are the only types of BPH treatment.

Men with BPH may have options for treatment beyond medications that may offer relief without the risk of side-effects that can come with medications, such as dizziness, headaches, sexual dysfunction, and, in some men, an increased risk of heart and eye issues.

Minimally invasive therapies are available. The UroLift System is a minimally invasive procedure that has been used by 350,000 men worldwide. This procedure lifts and holds enlarged prostate tissue out of the way, without cutting, to stop blocking the urethra. The procedure can be performed using local anesthesia in a physician’s office or ambulatory surgery center, and patients typically return home the same day without a catheter. This option may be an alternative to medications and more invasive surgeries.

The procedure is indicated for treating symptoms of an enlarged prostate up to 100cc in men 45 years of age or older. Individual results may vary. Most common side-effects are temporary and include pain or burning with urination, blood in urine, pelvic pain, urgent need to urinate, or the inability to control the urge. Rare side-effects, including bleeding and infection, may lead to a serious outcome and require intervention. Speak with your doctor to determine if you may be a candidate.

3. Only seniors have symptoms of BPH.

No. Even men in their 40s may experience BPH symptoms, so don’t assume you’re too young to talk to your doctor about BPH. If you are diagnosed with BPH, your doctor can discuss treatment options that fit your needs and help you decide on the best approach.

4. BPH-related urination issues will always disrupt a man’s life and sleep.

A common symptom of BPH is frequent urination. This has the potential to disrupt a man’s day-to-day schedule and sleep cycle, but it’s not inevitable. Proper treatment can help improve quality of life and reduce the need for frequent urination, which can make it easier to sleep through the night–yet another great reason to be proactive about BPH diagnosis and treatment.

5. BPH doesn’t affect a man’s bladder health.

BPH can affect bladder health if it’s left untreated. BPH can be progressive and lead to difficulty in urinating, bladder stones, UTIs, and ongoing need for a catheter. This is another good reason to be proactive and talk to your doctor about prostate health.

Source: Family Features and Teleflex Interventional Urology, manufacturer of the UroLift System.

Skin needs extra help during winter

By Kristen Rueb

The fall and winter seasons mean cold, harsh temperatures will be wreaking havoc on delicate, aging skin. Falling humidity levels kick off annual dry skin season—skin tends to have the same moisture level as the environment it’s in, therefore as the weather gets drier, we do, too. Dips in temperature can exacerbate the problem further and mature, sensitive, or acneic skin types are particularly affected by the changing weather. However, with the proper winter skincare routine, you don’t have to be stuck inside all day and fear the chill of the season. Here’s how to keep dryness at bay and maintain irritation-free skin, year-round:

Avoid harsh exfoliants.

If your skin has dried out during the winter months, take a step back from your harsh chemical or physical exfoliants. This doesn’t mean you need to stop using them completely—exfoliation is important for cell turnover—but pumping the brakes for a few days while your skin resets could prove useful. And if you’re still feeling dry, opt for a natural cleansing oil instead of your usual face wash, which can often strip the skin of natural oils.  

Use a low molecular-weight Hyaluronic Acid.

This is recommended for its ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water. It helps your skin retain moisture and assists in keeping its surface smooth and soft. It even helps calm redness or irritation from particularly harsh climates.  

Layer up.

In the winter, it’s all about layering—both clothes and skincare. Start with a serum equipped to handle your toughest skin concerns. For maximum TLC, use a regenerative serum after cleansing. Next up, opt for a cream that’s light enough to layer and calming enough to soothe your winter redness. To form a protective seal over the skin and lock in moisture, apply the cream after the serum.  

Apply morning and night.

Don’t forget to use the serum and cream combo in the morning, after washing your face and before makeup, and in the evening, when your face is clean and ready for bed.  

Don’t forget your eyes and SPF.

Our eyes are sensitive to the cold and dry climate of wintertime because the skin around them is particularly thin. Replenish your delicate eye area with a natural, non-irritating, fast-absorbing eye cream.  

Even though it’s cold outside, the sun’s rays are still powerful. A physical sunscreen, applied in the morning after your serums and creams should be part of your daily routine. Use an SPF of at least 30, and if you are out in the sun for long periods, reapply every two hours.  

Stay hydrated, check your diet.

Drinking enough water helps your skin look dewy, plump, and that just-walked-off-the-beach summer glow.  

Our skin is often a great indicator of what’s going on inside. Monitor what you eat and take notice if your skin flares up or feels extra dry after particular meals or food groups. Always consult a physician before changing anything about your diet.  

Kristen Rueb is a stem cell scientist and director of clinical research at Factorfive.

Pleasant dreams during menopause

Menopause, which typically begins between the ages of 45 and 55 and can last as long as 14 years, affects every woman differently, but many report having trouble sleeping. Experts have some tips for getting a good night’s sleep when experiencing night sweats from menopause.

  • Get into a routine.

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time for the best sleep quality. Avoid napping if you can. Hot flushes and menopause can make sufferers feel more tired during the day, but napping can make it even harder to fall asleep at night.

Maxine Brady, a blogger and interior stylist, said she uses a Fitbit to help her stay on a regular schedule for going to bed.

  •  Keep your room ventilated and cool.

Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep expert and author of “How to Sleep Well,” said the ideal temperature for the bedroom is 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, “although this is a matter of personal preference.”

Not all of us have air conditioning at home, and heating bills are on the rise which means it can be difficult to get any room to remain at this temperature throughout the night. However, there are ways to prevent a sleepless night of tossing and turning. Leave your bedroom window open a crack, especially during the spring and summer months. Having a flow of fresh air will help keep you cool and the gentle breeze can help relax you. During the winter months, or if you live on a noisy street, consider investing in a quiet fan to circulate the air around your room. You might also want to leave the bedroom door ajar to prevent the room from feeling stuffy.

  •  Try linen bed sheets.

To get the best sleep, we must keep our bodies comfortable, cool and dry. During the REM sleep stage, we’re not very good at keeping our body temperature constant. Menopause only makes this trickier. Linen achieves the highest airflow through the fabric in comparison to other regularly used bedding materials. 

  • Sleep in the dark.

This one may sound obvious, but keeping your room dark is essential. Consider investing in black-out blinds or curtains. Alternatively, a classic eye mask will do the trick to keep the light out of your eyes in the morning and throughout the night.

  • Wear good-quality pajamas.

We don’t sleep well if our skin feels wet from sweat. Breathable sleepwear, like linen pajamas, is great for moisture management and wicking. 

  • Hydrate before bed.

It’s important to drink enough water throughout the day to prepare your body for a good night’s sleep and alleviate some symptoms of menopause, including dryness. But avoid drinking large amounts of water just before you head to bed, as you don’t want to end up running to the bathroom all night. Also avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee or cola for a few hours before you go to bed. And alcohol should be limited or avoided as much as possible.

  •  Put your phone to bed.

Scrolling endlessly on your phone before bed is a bad idea at any age, but if you’re already struggling with sleep quality, it’s definitely something to avoid. Your phone screen emits blue light, which signals to your brain that it’s still daytime, knocking your body clock out of sync.


According to the National Institutes of Health, menopause affects each woman uniquely and in various ways. Their bodies use energy differently, fat cells change, and they gain weight, among other physical changes.

Because they may be caused by changing hormone levels, the frequency and severity of symptoms is unpredictable. Signs and symptoms at various stages of menopause include:

  • Hot flashes. A sudden feeling of heat in the upper body, lasting between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. Face and neck flushed, red blotches on chest, back and arms. Can continue for many years.
  • Loss of bladder control–incontinence. Sleep. Around midlife, some women start having trouble getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Poor sleep. Can’t fall asleep easily, wake too early, night sweats.
  • Vaginal pain during sexual intercourse, due to dryness.
  • Moodier or more irritable.
  • Bodily changes such as thinner skin, stiff and achy joints and muscles. Headaches, and heart palpitations are also possible.

Consulting with a doctor is recommended for treatment of menopausal symptoms. More information on the subject is available from the North American Menopause Society (menopause.org, 440-442-7550) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (acog.org, 800-673-8444.

Exercise and vaccinate for a healthy holiday

The holiday season is time to reconnect with family and loved ones, but it also brings unique health and safety risks, according to doctors who recommend a bit of extra vigilance to protect the health of yourself and those close to you.

“Awareness, along with the adoption of a few healthy habits, can help people enjoy this special time of year in the best of health,” said Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, president of the American Medical Association.

For instance:

  • Vaccination is the best protection against a serious respiratory viruses circulating this fall and winter. Get up to date on your vaccines, including the annual flu shot, as well as the updated COVID-19 vaccine for everyone six months and older. Vaccines are also available to protect older adults from severe RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). New tools to protect infants during RSV season include maternal vaccination as well as the monoclonal antibody immunization.
  • Watch what you eat. Pay particular attention to food labels and avoid processed food as much as you can, especially those with added sodium and sugar. Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, and eat nutritious, whole food like fresh fruits and vegetables alongside richer holiday fare.
  • Make time to exercise. A good rule of thumb for adults, including ages 65 and up, is at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity (a brisk walk), or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity (such as walking). Doctors at the National Institutes for Health recommend healthy seniors walk the equivalent of three miles each day—not necessarily all at once, but throughout the course of the day.Brisk walks are a way to get off the couch and elevate your heart rate over the holiday season. If you’re traveling, don’t forget to pack your walking shoes.
  • Drink in moderation. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines that as up to one beverage of alcohbol per day for women and two per day for men.