Medicines that treat erectile dysfunction (ED) may do more than improve your sex life. Those same pills may also help you manage bladder trouble caused by an enlarged prostate.
Relief for BPH
You may hear your doctor call an enlarged prostate by its medical name, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). If you have it, you'll know that problems with peeing are among the common symptoms. You may notice things like:
- You find it hard to urinate.
- You need to pee often.
- You get up often during the night to go to the bathroom.
- You strain while you urinate.
In studies, men with an enlarged prostate found their symptoms got better after taking ED meds, such as:
These ED medications relax blood vessels in the penis to help with erections. Researchers think they may also help relax your bladder muscles, which can help ease your BPH symptoms. Other studies suggest that ED medications may also help men who can't completely empty their bladders.
Tadalafil (Cialis) is the only ED drug that the FDA has approved to treat BPH. Besides making your bladder problems get better, it also lowers the chance that you'll need prostate surgery.
Weighing Your Options
ED medications aren't the only way to treat an enlarged prostate. While they can help with symptoms, at least one study shows they work even better if you combine them with other BPH drugs.
Keep in mind that the symptoms of an enlarged prostate are similar to other serious conditions, like prostate cancer and bladder cancer. So if you're already taking ED medications and have bladder trouble, see your doctor.
Even though ED medications can treat BPH, they're not for everyone. If you have another condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, or you're overweight, these drugs might not be the answer. Also, men who take nitrates for other conditions, such as heart pain, can't take ED medications because they can lower your blood pressure too much.