By: Dr. Gary Bellman on March 23, 2018
Older men tend to have larger prostates than younger men because the prostate continues to grow as a man ages. Enlargement of the prostate that is not the result of cancer is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
If you have been diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, you may be concerned that it will have an impact on your erectile function.
At one time, the relationship between BPH
and erectile dysfunction
was believed to be based solely on age: as men get older, their chances of having BPH increases, and thus so does the risk of erectile dysfunction. Older men are also more likely to have other risk factors for erectile dysfunction, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, or to have undergone a procedure for prostate cancer.
However, several studies have indicated that BPH and the lower urinary tract symptoms that accompany it are associated with an increased incidence of erectile dysfunction. There’s also evidence that many of the treatments for an enlarged prostate can contribute to erectile dysfunction as well.
BPH can cause problems with urination, and some treatments can lead to sexual problems and other side effects.
An enlarged prostate may have a number of effects on a person's health, including their sex life.
An enlarged prostate directly affects a man's ability to urinate. These effects include:
• a frequent need to urinate
• a feeling of not emptying the bladder
• intense urges to urinate
• a weak urine stream
• problems starting or stopping urination
Prostate issues can also cause sexual problems. The extent of any sexual problem varies according to the condition of the prostate. Some common sexual side effects include:
erectile dysfunction (ED)
reduced sexual satisfaction
problems maintaining an erection
These conditions may also vary according to:
BPH and ED are separate conditions that are connected. ED usually means that a man is not able to achieve or maintain an erection.
Although ED may be caused by a variety of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone levels, or psychological issues, it can also be made worse by BPH.
Some medications used to treat an enlarged prostate can cause ED. However, some medications used to treat ED can help improve symptoms of BPH.
Which Medications for an Enlarged Prostate Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
The five categories of medications used for an enlarged prostate include alpha-blockers, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, combination medication (Jalyn), anticholinergics, and the phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor tadalafil. The latter drug, Cialis (tadalafil),
was originally developed to treat erectile dysfunction, therefore it’s one drug you can check off your list as a cause of impotence.
Many men will develop an enlarged prostate as they age, because the gland does not stop growing throughout their lifetime. As men age they should get regular prostate screenings to check for prostate cancer.
Several medications, lifestyle changes, and surgical options are available to help reduce the effects of living with an enlarged prostate. With proper treatment, men can usually maintain a regular sex life.