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Medications

Living with BPH symptoms? Perhaps it’s time to talk to your doctor.

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Explore some medication options

You’ve tried watchful waiting. You’ve made healthy lifestyle changes. But you’re still living with BPH symptoms. Perhaps it’s time to talk to your doctor or urologist, who may recommend medication. There are several types of medications commonly used to treat mild to moderate symptoms of BPH.

Alpha blockers
Common resources indicate this type of medication helps to relax the muscles in the bladder and prostate, allowing urine to flow more freely. Common alpha blockers include generic and brand names.

Potential benefits include:

  • Alpha blockers usually work quickly in men with relatively small prostates.1
  • Alpha blockers may give quick relief, some men see improvements in a couple of days or weeks from when you start taking them.2

Risks may include:
Some may experience side effects such as:

  • Decrease in ejaculation.3
  • Retrograde ejaculation, a harmless condition in which semen goes back into the bladder instead of out the tip of the penis.1
  • Alpha blockers are often used to lower blood pressure; and may cause dizziness or lightheadness2,3 for men who take them for BPH.
  • Other common side effects can cause; nausea or headaches.2

5-alpha reductase inhibitors
These drugs are designed to stop the growth of your prostate or even shrink its size – by lowering the production of the hormone DHT, that causes prostate growth. They are often prescribed to men with large prostates.2

Potential benefits include:

  • These medications shrink your prostate by preventing hormonal changes that cause prostate growth.1
  • May be taken for life to ease your BPH symptoms.2

Risks may include:
Some may experience side effects such as:

  • It may take three to six months for symptom relief1
  • Retrograde ejaculation1,2
  • They may lower sex drive and cause erectile dysfunction (ED)1,2
  • Medications may not always relieve symptoms, because the size of your prostate doesn’t always match the severity of symptoms. 2
  • Other common side effects can cause; nausea or headaches.2

Combination drug therapy
Doctors often recommend combination therapy when an alpha blocker or 5-alpha reductase inhibitor isn’t working on its own. While some patients experience relief, using these medications, using them together may lead to side effects.3

Potential benefits include:

  • Some men experience the best results by taking both medications.2

Risks may include:
Some may experience side effects such as:

  • Higher risk of side effects from one or both medications.2
  • Reduction in sex drive and erectile dysfunction (ED)3

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Use our Specialist Finder to get in contact with urologists who specialise in diagnosing and treating male urinary conditions like BPH.

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References

  1. Mayo Clinic Patient Care & Health Information. Disease & Conditions. Benign prostatic hyperplasia Diagnosis & treatment https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370093 Accessed 22 January 2020
  2. Healthline BPH Treatments_ Prescription Medications https://www.healthline.com/health/enlarged-prostate-medications-list#alpha-reductase-inhibitors Accessed 22 January 2020
  3. Roger K and Gilling P. Fast Facts: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, 7th edition. Health Press. 2011.

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