A urologist in New York City has seen more patients requesting a procedure that relieves the need to urinate.
NYC’s wealthiest hope to eliminate the need to get to their summer cottages during the long drive.
Some get “bladder Botox” to avoid conflicts about “Hampton’s bladder” in the car.
Traffic on its way to the Hamptons has gotten so bad that it’s sending some well-heeled New Yorkers to the doctor for a medical procedure so they don’t feel the urge to pee as often along the way.
crawl through increasingly unbearable summer traffic to and from their second home, about 100 miles away, has left many of the city’s wealthiest—especially those on the older side—with more bladder problems, as there’s nowhere to stop along the remote highway on several hours.
To combat the “Hamptons bladder,” New Yorkers spending summers in the exclusive Long Island enclave seek out a few specialized medical procedures: embolization of the prostate artery (PAE), which reduces the size of the prostate in men, and “bladder Botox,” which decreases urinary frequency for women.
“A lot of people have issues with this problem. They come to the Hamptons and have to stop four or five times along the way, but can’t find a toilet,” says Dr. David Shusterman, a Urologist in New York which advertises the proceedings with the slogan “Race to the Hamptons, not to the bathroom.”
Shusterman said he has seen a 20 percent spike this spring in patients seeking PAE procedures. “I don’t see them until around May. Then suddenly May comes and they care more,” he said. “If they’re in a car with a bunch of people, they’re embarrassed because they have to go to the bathroom every hour.”
He said he’s been doing about 10 PAE procedures a week for the past few months, along with bladder Botox once or twice a week.
Shusterman said patients told him about car collisions with friends when they had to get off the road and find a toilet, but to no avail. “Thousands of people probably argue about this every week,” he said.
The doctor can tell you. “I can’t tell you how many fights I personally get — I’ve lost three friends because I’m the driver and refuse to stop for them,” Shusterman said. “There’s just no place to stop.”
Shusterman said that about half of men between the ages of 50 and 60 have an enlarged prostate. causing more frequent and urgent trips to the bathroom†
The one-hour PAE procedure, performed with an interventional radiologist, prevents blood from reaching the prostate, reducing its size. Recovery is usually quick and relatively painless, Shusterman said, with patients going home the same day and having a very low risk of sexual side effects or urinary incontinence.
Although the procedure may be covered by Medicare and insurance, Shusterman said some patients without coverage will pay the $20,000 price tag out of pocket.
Meanwhile, against frequent urges on the road, women turn to Shusterman for “bladder botox,and that’s exactly what it sounds like. Shusterman calms patients in a way similar to an endoscopy, then inserts a small scope through the urethra and uses a special needle to inject the drug. The effects last for six months, so ” you’re covered all summer,” said Shusterman.
He said he has injected women of all ages, from twenty to eighty. The procedure is normally covered by insurance, but can cost a few thousand dollars if paid out of pocket.
A 60-year-old who got the PAE procedure this spring said he was overjoyed at the need to plan rest breaks prior to the hour-long journey to his Hampton’s house, which has gotten worse in recent years. “With the pandemic, most of New York has just moved into their home in Hamptons,” he explained. “They have moved and it has caused a lot of traffic.”
Before the procedure, “it could be in traffic for four hours and there are no rest areas. I had to take an exit and find a bathroom,” the man said. After receiving PAE, “there is no more fear now. I am like a child,” he said.
While getting elective surgery to avoid conflict on a road trip may sound like an exaggeration, PAE is relatively low-risk compared to the alternatives, said dr. Art Rastinehadan interventional urologist in NYC who performs the procedure.
Oral medications are usually the first course of action for an enlarged prostate, said: dr. VIkram Rajpurohit, an interventional radiologist at NYU who performs PAE procedures. But “they have side effects that many patients prefer to avoid,” Rajpurohit said, including decreased libido and low blood pressure.
“Certainly, I would not recommend PAE to a patient whose symptoms do not significantly affect their life or to those who have not tried oral medications,” Rastinehad said. “But when I hear about their interrupted rides to the Hamptons, I find that usually that problem is just the tip of the iceberg.”
For those not about to seek a medical procedure, Shusterman has some advice for avoiding conflict on long road trips this summer: Stay away from that. Hampton’s rosé†
“Alcohol is really bad — it has a direct irritating effect on the bladder,” he said. “Just drink water. Hydrate, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to get stuck in the road with nowhere to go.”
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