Avoiding the scary side effects of prostate drugs

Chances are that if you take medications for an enlarged prostate, you are concerned about your prostate health and want to improve it. Unfortunately, there are a few prostate medications that have unwanted side effects that can negatively affect your general and sexual health.

Some of these side effects can affect you long-term for years after you stop taking the medication, so it is important to know about them before you experience them and to know natural alternatives for improving your prostate health.

Prostate medications that contain alpha-blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors can cause side effects that you may find worse than the condition you are trying to treat. Not every man will experience these side effects, of course, but it is important to know the risks associated with taking any medication.

Always ask questions about side effects and potential complications before you start any new medication, and consider what natural alternatives you can do to help improve your health. Here are six of the scary side effects of prostate medications.

Erectile Problems

Several drugs can cause erectile dysfunction (ED) or decreased libido. The five drugs that can cause ED include Avodart (dutasteride), Proscar and Propecia (finasteride), Jalyn (a combination of dutasteride and tamsulosin), and less-commonly Flomax (tamsulosin). Both Jalyn and Flomax can cause another kind of erectile problem: a painful and prolonged erection that can last four hours or more. This rare condition is called priapism, and it is considered a medical emergency that must be treated immediately in order to prevent permanent damage.

Ejaculation/Orgasm Problems

Men who experience ejaculation troubles and difficulty with orgasm are unpleasantly surprised with this potential side effect. Some medications such as Flomax can cause retrograde ejaculation, also called dry orgasm.

With retrograde ejaculation, a man’s semen exits to the bladder instead of leaving through the penis during orgasm. Even though this does not cause a health threat, men may prefer to have everything work the way it is meant to work. Men who are concerned about having children should know that this negatively affects their fertility and should talk to their doctor about alternatives.

Other drugs like Proscar, Propecia, Jalyn, and Flomax can cause abnormal ejaculation and difficulties with orgasm. Avodart also causes ejaculation problems plus reduced sperm count, sperm movement and semen volume.

Change in Penis Shape

Flomax can cause symptoms that are similar to Peyronie’s Disease, which causes the penis to bend. The bend can range from 10 to 90 degrees, interfering with sexual function.

Serious Allergic Reactions

Many drugs cause allergic reactions. The reactions associated with prostate medications include swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue or throat, as well as trouble breathing, rash, hives or changes to the breast or nipple. If you have any of these side effects you should seek immediate medical attention. If you have trouble breathing go to the nearest emergency room.

Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

One of the scariest side effects of some prostate drugs is an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. The 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors (like Proscar and Propecia, Avodart, and Jalyn) have been found to increase risk for high-grade prostate cancer, which is a type of prostate cancer that grows and spreads faster than low-grade prostate cancers. You should discuss these risks with your physician if you have concerns.

Drop in Blood Pressure

Some men may experience a sudden drop in blood pressure when taking certain prostate medications. This change in blood pressure can cause dizziness. Proscar can cause dizziness and feeling faint. Flomax can cause vertigo, dizziness and fainting. These symptoms can be dangerous, especially if you are driving, walking or operating heavy machinery.

What Are the Alternatives?

This is not a complete list of potential side effects of prostate mediations, but these are some of the more serious and least-desirable. Again, many men take prostate medications without experiencing any of these side effects, and you could be one of the lucky ones. If you do have any of these side effects or you are worried about the potential risk of them you need to talk to your doctor. You might ask your doctor about natural, drug-free ways to manage your enlarged prostate including lifestyle and other changes.

You don’t have to give up your sexual health or put yourself at risk to achieve better prostate health as you age. There are many natural methods that can help you improve your age related prostate health decline including losing weight, getting more exercise, avoiding caffeine, and making other lifestyle changes, including dietary changes.

There are also many natural prostate supplements that can help promote a normal prostate size for your age and better, age related urinary flow. Also, finding out about the best foods for prostate health as well as the foods your prostate hates can put you on the right track for improved prostate health.

Remember, though, that supplements are not a replacement or alternative for drugs and medications and you should always seek the advice of a medical professional. But good prostate supplements can help as part of an overall prostate health program for men who are concerned about prostate drug side effects and who want to promote more natural prostate health as they age.

For more great posts on male health, check these out:

Top 3 foods for better male sexual health

8 worst foods for prostate health

Dr. Geo Espinosa

By Dr. Geo Espinosa

Dr. Geo Espinosa is a naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist and certified functional medicine practitioner recognized as an authority in holistic urology and men’s health. He is Clinical Assistant Professor and holistic clinician in Urology at New York University Langone Medical Center. As an avid researcher and writer, Dr. Geo has authored numerous scientific papers and books including co-editing the Integrative Sexual Health book, and author of the best selling prostate cancer book: Thrive, Don't Only Survive.