What medications are used to treat an enlarged prostate?


Quick Answer

Medications approved for the treatment of prostate enlargement include terazosin, prazosin, doxazosin, tamsulosin, alfuzosin and silodosin, explains eMedicineHealth. These belong to a class of drugs called alpha-blockers and relax the muscles in the prostate. Other drugs include finasteride and dutasteride, which shrink the prostate, and tadalafil.

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Full Answer

Prostate enlargement is a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, explains eMedicineHealth. In most men it begins at the age of 40 and becomes symptomatic after the age of 60. The exact cause of BPH is not understood and may involve the influence of growth factors, hormones and other cell-signaling pathways.

As the prostate gradually grows in size, it squeezes the urethra and decreases the flow of urine, states eMedicineHealth. In the early stages of BPH, the bladder compensates for this with stronger contractions against the constricted urethra, and with time the bladder muscles become sensitive and cause the symptoms of urinary urgency.

Other symptoms of BPH include a weak urine stream, problems with stream initiation, dribbling of urine, incomplete urination, leaking of urine, urinary frequency, and blood in the urine, according to eMedicineHealth. Complications of BPH are rare and include urinary retention, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, bladder damage and kidney damage, explains Mayo Clinic.

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