Alcohol and headaches

Originally Posted Here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/alcohol-and-headaches-2018102615222

Alcohol is embedded in our society, and it is difficult to be in a public space without seeing a reference to alcohol or being offered a drink. Alcohol is broken down in the liver by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. People with a variant in this enzyme have issues with metabolizing alcohol and can develop total body flushing or reddening of the skin.

Alcohol consumption has been associated with pregnancy defects, liver disease, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, cancer, addiction issues, and physical injury (trauma to self/others with acute intoxication). The health benefits of alcohol may be up for debate. However, moderate alcohol consumption may have some beneficial effects, which was appreciated in 1992 based on the observation that populations in France had high dietary intake of saturated fats, but a relatively low incidence of cardiovascular disease. This phenomenon was labeled as the “French paradox,” and has been thought to be due in part to the consumption of red wine.

Quit your wine-ing?

Alcohol has long been associated with the development of headache, with about one-third of patients with migraine noting alcohol as a trigger. Based on this association, population studies show that patients with migraine tend to drink alcohol less often than people without migraine. Wine in particular is an alcoholic beverage that has been linked to headaches dating back to antiquity, when Celsius (25 B.C.–50 A.D.) described head pain after drinking wine. Despite this commonly held belief, there is very little scientific evidence to support the belief that wine is a more common trigger of headaches than other forms of alcohol.

The studies that have been conducted suggest that red wine, but not white and sparkling wines, trigger headache independent of how much a person drinks in less than 30% of people. Lower quality wines may cause headaches due to the presence of molecules known as phenolic flavonoid radicals, which may interfere with serotonin, a signaling molecule in the brain involved in migraines. In one study, the odds of a person citing red wine as a trigger of headache were over three times greater than the odds of indicating beer as a headache trigger. In some studies, it was observed that spirits and sparkling wines were associated with migraines significantly more frequently than other alcoholic beverages.

Here is the advice of one wine expert

I turned to Barb Gustafson, a sommelier (certified wine professional) for some insight on the qualities of wine that might be associated with headache.

(Barb works at Paul Mathew Vineyards — and yes, there is actually a winemaker in California that bears a name spelled identically to my own, but there is no relation.)

Barb comments:

As far as red wine, often I’m told by consumers they cannot drink red wine or wine with sulfites. This to me is not accurate. I cannot be of absolute certainty but my circle would disagree. It is often the quality of the red wine that seems associated with headaches. Of course, quantity can certainly play a role regardless of quality. As well, highly processed wines should be of concern. “Low input” winemaking relies on native yeasts that live on the vine, adding very low amounts of sulfur dioxide, and allowing the wine to ferment in its own time. This type of wine seems less likely to affect our heads.

With 30 years of paying close attention to consumption and the boundaries, I have evolved to limiting high alcohol, highly tannic, and heavily processed wines. With the huge focus on organic foods and what we all eat, there should be as much attention put on what we drink.

A parting shot: What does this mean for you?

It is clear that quantity can play a role in triggering headaches, and quality probably plays a role, but we do not know for sure how any type of wine or alcohol will affect people with migraine or who are prone to headaches. Like food triggers, the likelihood of a particular type of alcohol triggering a headache is probably different from person to person. If you suffer from migraines, talk with your doctor about how alcohol may affect you.

Sources

Moderate red wine consumption and cardiovascular disease risk: beyond the “French paradox”. Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis, February 2010.

Alcohol and migraine: what should we tell patients? Current Pain and Headache Reports, June 2011.

Wine and Headache. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, June 2014.

Alcohol Use as a Comorbidity and Precipitant of Primary Headache: Review and Meta-analysis. Current Pain and Headache Reports, August 2017.

Wine and migraine: compatibility or incompatibility? Drugs Under Experimental and Clinical Research, 1999.

Food as trigger and aggravating factor of migraine. Neurological Sciences, May 2012.

The post Alcohol and headaches appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.


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Q&A with Dr. Daniel Rukstalis on prostatic urethral lift for enlarged prostates

Originally Posted Here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/qa-with-dr-daniel-rukstalis-on-prostatic-urethral-lift-for-enlarged-prostates-2018101815217

A new procedure that relieves symptoms without causing sexual side effects

As men get older, their prostates often get bigger and block the flow of urine out of the bladder. This condition, which is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, causes bothersome symptoms. Since men can’t fully empty their bladders, they experience sudden and frequent urges to urinate. Treatments can relieve these symptoms, but not without troubling side effects: pharmaceutical BPH treatments cause dizziness, fatigue, and retrograde ejaculation, meaning that semen gets diverted to the bladder during orgasm instead of being ejected from the body. Surgical treatments such as transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP, can relieve symptoms for many years. But they also take weeks or months to recover from, and men can experience permanent retrograde ejaculation, and in some instances, long-term impotence.

Still, it’s important to treat BPH to avoid even worse problems later. Left untreated, men can develop urinary retention, which is an acute inability to urinate without a catheter, and their bladder health can also deteriorate over time.

An alternative

Now a newer BPH procedure, called prostatic urethral lift, or UroLift, provides another option. And unlike drugs and older BPH surgeries, it spares sexual functioning.

During a UroLift procedure, doctors use tiny implants and sutures to pull the prostate away from the bladder so that urine flows more freely out of the body. The procedure can be performed in a doctor’s office, and most men go home the same day without a catheter. Clinical studies have shown that symptomatic improvements hold up for at least five years, which is comparable to study results with TURP.

The FDA approved UroLift for enlarged prostates in 2013, and the American Urological Association began recommending it as a standard of care option this year. Urologists around the country are getting up to speed on the procedure, which is now becoming increasingly available. Readers should be aware that the AUA gave UroLift a “C” grade, in part because the long-term data in support of the procedure aren’t as plentiful as they are for TURP and other more invasive surgeries, which received a grade of “B.”

For more information, we spoke to Daniel Rukstalis, M.D., a professor of urology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Dr. Rukstalis led the clinical trials behind UroLift’s approval by the FDA, and he’s performed the UroLift procedure on over 350 BPH patients. (For full disclosure, Dr. Rukstalis is a clinical investigator for NeoTract, the company that developed UroLift).

Q: Dr. Rukstalis, thank you for joining us. Why would a man consider UroLift offer over other BPH treatments?

Rukstalis: Well, all the available therapies can lessen obstructive urinary symptoms and minimize long-term risks to the bladder. But UroLift is at this moment the only BPH treatment that completely spares erectile and ejaculatory functioning.

Q: How good is it at improving BPH symptoms overall?

Rukstalis: Our clinical trial led to a 12-point drop on average in International Prostate Symptom Scores (IPSS). [The IPSS is an eight-question screening tool that scores the severity of symptoms such as incomplete bladder emptying, urinary frequency, and weak streams. Men treated for BPH usually have IPSS scores of at least 20.] The trial had 206 participants. And at five years, their IPSS scores were still improved by about a third and their quality of life scores were also about 50% higher than when they had the procedure.

Q: Who is eligible for a UroLift?

Rukstalis: It’s FDA-approved for men 45 and older with prostates up to 80 grams in size (a normal prostate in a man ranges between 7 to 11 grams). But my view is that UroLift works best in prostates ranging from 25 to 60 grams. About a third of men with BPH also have what’s called a “median lobe,” or a bit of prostate tissue that protrudes up into the bladder. We just completed a clinical trial showing that UroLift works well for these men too. On the basis of that study, the FDA approved UroLift for men with median lobes in early 2018. We’ll typically evaluate potential candidates with a pelvic ultrasound, which provides a lot of information about the health of the bladder and the size and shape of the prostate.

Q: What can a man expect going into the procedure?

Rukstalis: We’ll put him to sleep with intravenous propofol, which is the same anesthetic used during a colonoscopy. The UroLift implants get delivered into the prostate with a rigid metal scope that goes directly through the penis. By pulling excess prostate tissue out of the way, the implants create a channel through which urine can flow. (This YouTube video provides a good overview.) We do this as an outpatient procedure.

 Q: What will he experience after the procedure is done?

Rukstalis: He can expect some transient blood in the urine and a burning sensation when he pees, but this all clears up within about three days. About 2% to 4% of the men I treat spend a few days using a catheter.

Q: Why doesn’t UroLift work for larger prostates over 60 grams?

Rukstalis: Because beyond a certain size threshold, the implants don’t open the channel well enough. Also you wind up needing too many implants, and they’re very expensive — anywhere from $700 to $1,000 each. The procedure is optimized for four to six implants and you really don’t want to use more than seven of them.

Q: This is a new procedure. How important is the doctor’s experience?

Rukstalis: UroLift is a judgment-based procedure in terms of the number of implants used and where in the prostate a doctor puts them. What I would say is that you’re looking for a doctor who’s comfortable with a cystoscope [which is a hollow metal rod with a lens used for prostate examinations]. If a doctor is comfortable with cystoscopy equipment, then he or she can adopt quite readily to the technology. And there are excellent UroLift training programs around the country for any urologist who wants to do it.

Q: What about long-term prospects? Do men need repeat treatments?

Rukstalis: We know that most men still benefit from treatment at five years. But we can’t say whether those results predict benefits at 10 years or longer. We haven’t done those studies yet, but they haven’t been for TURP and the other surgical procedures either. My view is that it depends on prostate size. Men with smaller prostates will benefit for longer durations.

Q: Does having had a UroLift complicate things for a man who might need a TURP later?

Rukstalis: Not in my experience. I’ve performed TURPs, prostatectomies, and laser prostate surgeries in people who had a UroLift with no trouble.

Q: Do you have any criticisms of the procedure?

Rukstalis: It’s too expensive. We need to find ways of doing UroLift at lesser cost. And some men find it doesn’t work as well as they had hoped, even though in these men, the procedure goes a long way toward protecting bladder functioning.

Q: Thanks very much! I’m sure our readers will appreciate your insights.

Dr. Marc Garnick, the Gorman Brothers Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and editor in chief of HarvardProstateKnowledge.org also commented on the UroLift: “This is one of many emerging options for non-pharmacologic BPH treatment that can now be offered to the proper patient matched to the appropriately trained urologist. As with many procedures, longer-term outcomes are needed to determine its proper role in treating this very common problem.”

The post Q&A with Dr. Daniel Rukstalis on prostatic urethral lift for enlarged prostates appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.


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Q&A with Dr. Daniel Rukstalis on prostatic urethral lift for enlarged prostates

Originally Posted Here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/qa-with-dr-daniel-rukstalis-on-prostatic-urethral-lift-for-enlarged-prostates-2018102515217

A new procedure that relieves symptoms without causing sexual side effects

As men get older, their prostates often get bigger and block the flow of urine out of the bladder. This condition, which is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, causes bothersome symptoms. Since men can’t fully empty their bladders, they experience sudden and frequent urges to urinate. Treatments can relieve these symptoms, but not without troubling side effects: pharmaceutical BPH treatments cause dizziness, fatigue, and retrograde ejaculation, meaning that semen gets diverted to the bladder during orgasm instead of being ejected from the body. Surgical treatments such as transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP, can relieve symptoms for many years. But they also take weeks or months to recover from, and men can experience permanent retrograde ejaculation, and in some instances, long-term impotence.

Still, it’s important to treat BPH to avoid even worse problems later. Left untreated, men can develop urinary retention, which is an acute inability to urinate without a catheter, and their bladder health can also deteriorate over time.

An alternative

Now a newer BPH procedure, called prostatic urethral lift, or UroLift, provides another option. And unlike drugs and older BPH surgeries, it spares sexual functioning.

During a UroLift procedure, doctors use tiny implants and sutures to pull the prostate away from the bladder so that urine flows more freely out of the body. The procedure can be performed in a doctor’s office, and most men go home the same day without a catheter. Clinical studies have shown that symptomatic improvements hold up for at least five years, which is comparable to study results with TURP.

The FDA approved UroLift for enlarged prostates in 2013, and the American Urological Association began recommending it as a standard of care option this year. Urologists around the country are getting up to speed on the procedure, which is now becoming increasingly available. Readers should be aware that the AUA gave UroLift a “C” grade, in part because the long-term data in support of the procedure aren’t as plentiful as they are for TURP and other more invasive surgeries, which received a grade of “B.”

For more information, we spoke to Daniel Rukstalis, M.D., a professor of urology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Dr. Rukstalis led the clinical trials behind UroLift’s approval by the FDA, and he’s performed the UroLift procedure on over 350 BPH patients. (For full disclosure, Dr. Rukstalis is a clinical investigator for NeoTract, the company that developed UroLift).

Q: Dr. Rukstalis, thank you for joining us. Why would a man consider UroLift offer over other BPH treatments?

Rukstalis: Well, all the available therapies can lessen obstructive urinary symptoms and minimize long-term risks to the bladder. But UroLift is at this moment the only BPH treatment that completely spares erectile and ejaculatory functioning.

Q: How good is it at improving BPH symptoms overall?

Rukstalis: Our clinical trial led to a 12-point drop on average in International Prostate Symptom Scores (IPSS). [The IPSS is an eight-question screening tool that scores the severity of symptoms such as incomplete bladder emptying, urinary frequency, and weak streams. Men treated for BPH usually have IPSS scores of at least 20.] The trial had 206 participants. And at five years, their IPSS scores were still improved by about a third and their quality of life scores were also about 50% higher than when they had the procedure.

Q: Who is eligible for a UroLift?

Rukstalis: It’s FDA-approved for men 45 and older with prostates up to 80 grams in size (a normal prostate in a man ranges between 7 to 11 grams). But my view is that UroLift works best in prostates ranging from 25 to 60 grams. About a third of men with BPH also have what’s called a “median lobe,” or a bit of prostate tissue that protrudes up into the bladder. We just completed a clinical trial showing that UroLift works well for these men too. On the basis of that study, the FDA approved UroLift for men with median lobes in early 2018. We’ll typically evaluate potential candidates with a pelvic ultrasound, which provides a lot of information about the health of the bladder and the size and shape of the prostate.

Q: What can a man expect going into the procedure?

Rukstalis: We’ll put him to sleep with intravenous propofol, which is the same anesthetic used during a colonoscopy. The UroLift implants get delivered into the prostate with a rigid metal scope that goes directly through the penis. By pulling excess prostate tissue out of the way, the implants create a channel through which urine can flow. (This YouTube video provides a good overview.) We do this as an outpatient procedure.

 Q: What will he experience after the procedure is done?

Rukstalis: He can expect some transient blood in the urine and a burning sensation when he pees, but this all clears up within about three days. About 2% to 4% of the men I treat spend a few days using a catheter.

Q: Why doesn’t UroLift work for larger prostates over 60 grams?

Rukstalis: Because beyond a certain size threshold, the implants don’t open the channel well enough. Also you wind up needing too many implants, and they’re very expensive — anywhere from $700 to $1,000 each. The procedure is optimized for four to six implants and you really don’t want to use more than seven of them.

Q: This is a new procedure. How important is the doctor’s experience?

Rukstalis: UroLift is a judgment-based procedure in terms of the number of implants used and where in the prostate a doctor puts them. What I would say is that you’re looking for a doctor who’s comfortable with a cystoscope [which is a hollow metal rod with a lens used for prostate examinations]. If a doctor is comfortable with cystoscopy equipment, then he or she can adopt quite readily to the technology. And there are excellent UroLift training programs around the country for any urologist who wants to do it.

Q: What about long-term prospects? Do men need repeat treatments?

Rukstalis: We know that most men still benefit from treatment at five years. But we can’t say whether those results predict benefits at 10 years or longer. We haven’t done those studies yet, but they haven’t been for TURP and the other surgical procedures either. My view is that it depends on prostate size. Men with smaller prostates will benefit for longer durations.

Q: Does having had a UroLift complicate things for a man who might need a TURP later?

Rukstalis: Not in my experience. I’ve performed TURPs, prostatectomies, and laser prostate surgeries in people who had a UroLift with no trouble.

Q: Do you have any criticisms of the procedure?

Rukstalis: It’s too expensive. We need to find ways of doing UroLift at lesser cost. And some men find it doesn’t work as well as they had hoped, even though in these men, the procedure goes a long way toward protecting bladder functioning.

Q: Thanks very much! I’m sure our readers will appreciate your insights.

Dr. Marc Garnick, the Gorman Brothers Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and editor in chief of HarvardProstateKnowledge.org also commented on the UroLift: “This is one of many emerging options for non-pharmacologic BPH treatment that can now be offered to the proper patient matched to the appropriately trained urologist. As with many procedures, longer-term outcomes are needed to determine its proper role in treating this very common problem.”

The post Q&A with Dr. Daniel Rukstalis on prostatic urethral lift for enlarged prostates appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.


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