Leading medical charity, Action Research, has developed a new method of measuring bladder pressure in men using an inflatable ‘cuff’ placed around the penis.
Problems with urination affect around 40 per cent of men over the age of 70 years. This can be caused by an enlarged prostate gland, weakness of the bladder muscle or overactivity of the bladder muscle all of which are common age-related problems. Any of these conditions can result in similar symptoms of difficulty in emptying the bladder or the need to urinate more frequently. Tests to measure bladder pressure are therefore needed to determine the cause of symptoms in each individual.
Currently, bladder pressure is measured by inserting a tube through the man’s penis and into the bladder. This is an uncomfortable procedure and can lead to infection. The Action Research team’s cuff is similar to that which measures blood pressure and is gradually inflated while urine is passed until the flow is stopped. By measuring the pressure in the bladder - together with the flow of urine – doctors can provide a more accurate diagnosis of the condition.
Simon Moore, Chief Executive of Action Research said: “This is a tremendous improvement to what is currently a painful and invasive procedure. Improved diagnosis enables the most effective treatment to begin as quickly as possible.”
Robert Pickard, Consultant Urologist at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and the lead researcher said: “The successful treatment of men’s urinary troubles may not be a glamorous part of medicine but significant improvements can be made in the quality of men’s lives. With the support of Action Research we have developed this novel technique of measuring bladder pressure which will greatly assist effective treatment without the need for painful tests.”
This technique has been shown to be a reliable test of bladder pressure and can determine the strength of the bladder muscle. The team is further developing the cuff and it is expected that in the future this could be routinely used by doctors in hospitals to measure bladder pressure.
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