Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is the enlargement of the prostate gland. As men get older their prostate gets larger as a natural part of aging. However, at some point it can lead to BPH. BPH can cause urinary dysfunction including a weak stream, increased frequency, and incontinence. It can also cause problems with the bladder, urinary tract, and kidneys. BPH and urinary dysfunction are not inevitable consequences of aging. If urinary dysfunction affects your daily activities, don’t hesitate to see your doctor.
There are several medical treatment options available to treat BPH. The medications work by shrinking or relaxing the prostate. These oral medications usually start to reduce symptoms after just a few weeks.
Alpha blockers may be prescribed to relax muscles of the prostate and the neck surrounding the bladder to alleviate symptoms. They will not change the size of your prostate but will help with flow and make it easier to urinate. These medications include alfuzosin (Uroxatral®), doxazosin (Cardura®), tamsulosin (Flomax®). Alpha blockers may affect blood pressure, and cause fainting, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue.
5-Alpha reductase inhibitors are prescribed to help shrink the prostate and prevent any additional growth that could occur. They are able to do this by stopping the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in a male’s body. DHT stimulates growth of prostate cells. 5-Alpha reductase inhibitors can help decrease the urge to urinate and reduce the feeling of the bladder not being completely empty. These medications include dutasteride (Avodart®) and finasteride (Proscar®). Side effects may include erectile dysfunction, lower sex drive, and retrograde ejaculation.
PDE5 inhibitors including sildenafil (Viagra®) and tadalafil (Cialis®), are prescribed to smooth the muscles in the bladder and prostate to increase urine flow and improve prostate function. Side effects of PDE5’s may include headaches, back and muscle pain, upset stomach, and blurry vision. A positive effect of this class of medications is improved erectile function.
For men who do not respond to medications for treatment of BPH there are surgical options. These procedures involve either shaving the prostate, melting the prostate, placing clips in the prostate, embolization of the blood supply to the prostate, and sometimes removal of the prostate. Most of these procedures are ambulatory surgeries with the man going home within 24-hours of having had the procedure.
If you have the symptoms of BPH, consult with your doctor to determine if you have BPH and what treatment option is best for you.
Available in 20mg and 100mg tablets
Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra®
Available in 5mg and 20mg tablets or lozenges
Tadalafil is the active ingredient in Cialis®
Available in 1mg and 5mg tablets
Finasteride is the active ingredient in Propecia®