HOW TO MANAGE BPH & ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION SIMULTANEOUSLY?
BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERPLASIA (BPH) is the increase in size of the prostate gland of men. This prostate gland surrounds the urethra (tube that carries urine from bladder out of the body). When prostate gland size gets bigger, it squeezes the urine discharge tube which causes problem in urinating. This disease generally develops in men in older age.
SYMPTOMS OF BPH
- Frequent urination (every one or two hours, especially at night)
- Feeling that bladder is full, even after urinating
- Always feeling urge to urinate
- Weak urine flow
- Dribbling of urine
- Need to stop & start urinating several times
- Painful urination (Dysuria)
- Need to push or strain to urinate
If BPH is not treated for long time, it can cause several effects on the body. These include:
- Bladder damage
- Infection caused by residual urine in the bladder
- Blood in the urine
- Kidney damage
RELATION BETWEEN BPH AND ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
HOW TO MANAGE BPH & ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION SIMULTANEOUSLY? Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the condition involving inability to maintain or get an erection of the penis. It can be caused by many reasons such as low testosterone, psychological issues, heart disease, diabetes, depression, etc.
BPH increases the risk of development of erectile dysfunction. It has been seen that nerve fibers in the sympathetic nervous system transmit signals that have an impact on stress and stress-related symptoms. An increase in these signals may lead to over activity in the sympathetic nervous system, which is associated with erectile problems.
Other reasons behind the development of ED under the effect of BPH include:
- Untreated BPH causing many complications
- Side effects of the medications which are used to treat BPH
- Treatment of BPH with surgery
How BPH medication can lead to erectile dysfunction?
Two types of medicines i.e. α-blockers and 5-α-reductase inhibitors, have been used to treat BPH. Both are prone to cause erectile dysfunction.
- If 5-α-reductase inhibitors are consumed, decrease in nitric oxide activity related to a decline in dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels have been observed. This develops many side effects which cause erectile dysfunction. These side effects include:
- Low libido
- Reduced semen release
- Patients who consume α-blockers may experience decreased ejaculation, which may contribute to develop erectile dysfunction. α-blockers also relax bladder and prostate muscle cells.
Men who take these medications may also experience lower sperm count, decreased sperm volume and lower sperm movement. Thus, sperm health is also affected due to these drugs, which ultimately cause ED.
How surgery for BPH can develop erectile dysfunction?
HOW TO MANAGE BPH & ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION SIMULTANEOUSLY? Surgery can help to reduce the BPH symptoms early, but it may lead to long-term sexual complications (erectile dysfunction). A common surgery called TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) has been linked to ejaculation problems and erectile dysfunction. Many men who have this procedure often experience sexual side effects after surgery.
BPH and erectile dysfunction can be treated at the same time with erectile dysfunction medication. Pills for erectile dysfunction may also help to treat BPH. ED drugs sildenafil, vardenafil and tadalafil have been shown to reduce BPH symptoms. However, they aren’t currently approved to treat BPH.
Mechanism of action: These medications inhibit a protein that breaks down a chemical called cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP); cGMP increases blood flow to the penis. By inhibiting the protein that breaks down cGMP, blood flow to the penis can be increased. The increased cGMP and blood flow may allow bladder and prostate cells to relax, leading to greater urinary flow, thus, improving BPH symptoms.
- Lifestyle modification
Many men with mild to moderate symptoms of BPH find that simple lifestyle adjustments are able to tackle BPH. If lifestyle modification can help with BPH, then, there is no requirement to consume medications, which develop side effects. Here are a few tips:
- Reduce the intake of fluids, particularly after dinner.
- Limit the intake of alcohol and caffeine and avoid them after mid-afternoon; both are diuretics that increase urine flow.
- Avoid medications that stimulate muscles in the bladder neck and prostate. Pseudoephedrine and other decongestants are the major reasons.
- Avoid medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants and antispasmodics with anti-cholinergic properties that weaken bladder contractions.
- If diuretics are being consumed for high blood pressure or heart problems, ask the doctor to try to reduce the dose or substitute another medication that will work as well without increasing urine flow.
- Take your time to empty your bladder as much as possible without any hesitation.
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