Not too long ago, men who wanted relief from BPH had one major choice: surgery. In recent years, that has changed. Drug manufacturers have come up with a host of drugs that give you more options to treat your symptoms.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (you may have heard it called enlarged prostate) can cause problems such as poor urine flow or excessive urination throughout the day. Some medicines reduce these symptoms by silencing each other’s tissues. Some stop prostate growth and reduce prostate size.
Medication is now the most common treatment for men with mild to moderate BPH. Researchers are still learning about the long-term effects of drugs. Talk to your doctor to find out which medication may be right for you.
This works by relaxing the muscles in the bladder and the prostate gland, making it easier to urinate. They do not change the size of your prostate, but they do help with the flow of urine, waking up at night to urinate, and other symptoms. And you will not have to wait long to see the results; they usually work quickly.
If you have high blood pressure and BPH, alpha-blockers may be a good option for you because they treat both conditions.
If you are planning to do cataract surgery, it is best to avoid it. They can lead to problems during the process.
Side effects: As alpha-blockers affect your blood pressure, they can make you feel very tired and cause the following:
It may also lead to what you may hear a doctor called “retrograde ejaculation.” This is when the sperm goes back into the bladder instead of coming out of your penis. It does not cause any damage, but it does mean that you may not have sperm when you click. Men who still want to have children should keep this in mind.
Names: Your doctor may suggest one of the following alpha-blockers:
5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors
This prevents your body from making one of the hormones that make your prostate bigger. They inhibit growth and in some cases even shrink. This can improve your urine flow and relieve other symptoms of BPH. They seem to be very useful in men with very large prostates.
These drugs have two other benefits as well. They may:
Reduce the risk of BPH leading to other complications, damage to the bladder
Make it less likely that you will need surgery
It may take up to 6 months to see the full results of 5-ARIs, and you should continue to take them to get the results.
Side effects: This drug does not work for women. Pregnant women should not be exposed to it as it can lead to birth defects in boys.
Some of the side effects that men take may include:
Some of these side effects may be better as your body gets used to the drug.
5-ARIs may lower your PSA (prostate-specific antigen), which affects one-way doctors treat prostate cancer. That is safe, but it may help to get a PSA test before starting these medications. Also, the FDA now requires labels on 5-ARIs to issue a warning that they may be linked to a growing risk of advanced (or aggressive) prostate cancer.
Names: There are two major inhibitors of 5-alpha reductase:
Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar)
These are the same drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. They lubricate the muscles in the bladder and prostate, which can help alleviate the symptoms of BPH.
There are several types of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, but the Food and Drug Administration has only approved Tadalafil (Cialis) to treat BPH.
It is not used as often as other drugs, but if you have ED and BPH, it is another option.
Side effects: If you take Cialis, you may get:
Back and muscle pain
Redness and warmth or heat on the face, neck, and upper body