Monday, November 17, 2014

Partners play vital role for patients with prostate disease

Below the Moustache blog series  

Dr. Zachary Klinghoffer, urologist 
Rouge Valley Centenary

In sickness as in health, significant others play a key role in recognizing and helping their partners cope with illness, especially true when prostate problems arise. Often it’s the sleep-deprived partners who question why trips to the bathroom several times each night have become the new norm and encourage their partner to visit their family physician to discover the reason for the change in pattern.

Sleep isn’t always the only thing interrupted. Because the prostate contributes to a man’s sexual wellbeing, physical changes to the prostate can trigger emotional responses amongst couples. When a man is diagnosed with prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or prostate cancer, the degree to which it affects his partner is proportional to the level of intimacy the couple shares. Partners, like the men themselves, can feel a sense of loss when sexual activity declines so it’s important for couples to remain open and supportive with each other during diagnosis and treatment.

Changes in a couple’s relationship may depend on the severity of disease and the length of treatment required. In many cases, sexual side effects are minimal and short term. Conditions such as BPH can have a wide range of symptoms and can be treated with medication or surgery.  Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the RVHS Foundation was able to contribute $250,000 to enhancing our men's health program, including a new surgical laser at each campus to treat BPH through a minimally invasive procedure. 

The GreenLightTM laser, a type of photoselective vaporization, can eliminate prostate tissue that blocks the urinary tract while sealing blood vessels to minimize blood loss. This new treatment – often performed as a day surgery procedure and available now at each Rouge Valley hospital campus - reduces a patient’s risk and recovery time, so he can get back to the business of living life to the fullest much faster.

Treatment for prostate cancer can be more demanding and require a longer recovery period. In these cases, couples may benefit from relationship counselling if there are long-term sexual side effects. Open communication can help a couple remain emotionally intimate.

Illness or injury never solely affects a man; health issues also affect the people closest to him. It is important for partners, family members and friends to recognize the vital role they play in helping the men in their lives recognize, treat and recover from men’s health issues.

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