Flomax (Tamsulosin) is a prescription drug that falls in the category of alpha-blockers. This means that they antagonize the alpha-adrenergic part of the nervous system.
Estimates show that one-third of men older than 50 have enlarged prostate, and more than 90% of men develop this problem by the age of 85.
About 14 million men in the US and 30 million in the world have symptoms of this health problem that affects their quality of life.
With a proactive approach, this condition can be successfully managed.
However, while doctors prescribe the drug Flomax more often than any other drug for the prostate, it can have a number of adverse side effects, including erectile dysfunction, incontinence, and even sudden loss of consciousness.
Luckily, there are several natural Flomax alternatives, which we will discuss in this article.
What is Flomax?
Flomax is an alpha-blocker drug commonly prescribed to treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Alpha-blockers work by relaxing the muscles around your urethra and your bladder sphincter.
By holding them in a permanently relaxed state, it eases urination, (so long as the prostate is not too enlarged).
Alpha-blockers, such as Flomax, alter the behavior of hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline and relaxes muscles, alleviating symptoms. Flomax is, actually, considered a selective alpha-blocker because it targets the urinary tract specifically and has less of an impact on other muscles in the body.
When we are talking about Flomax and other medications for BPH, it is important to clarify one thing at the very beginning.
These medications are formulated to make it easier for men to urinate, i.e., to treat, manage, or decrease the severity of symptoms you experience.
They do not shrink the size of the prostate, and it may continue to grow bigger.
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What are the side effects of Flomax?
Flomax is also called Tamsulosin. Generally speaking, every medication we take may cause side effects, and Flomax is no exception. Some people may experience the following adverse events after taking the drug. Here is some of the long list of side effects from Flomax:
- Blood pressure falls low
- Erectile dysfunction
- Congested sinuses
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Blurred vision
- Risk of respiratory tract infections
- Painful urination
Speak to your Doctor/ health care provider about these potential side effects before taking Flomax. (Tamsulosin hydrochloride).
In order to reduce the risk of side effects, take the dose prescribed by the doctor. Avoid increasing or decreasing the dosage on your own. This and other drugs are a subject of a clinical study and other types of research to make it easier for patients to manage their symptoms.
Other alpha-blockers for BPH
Flomax tamsulosin is not the only alpha-blocker on the market, and it is not the only medication that can treat enlargement of the prostate. Other alpha-blockers include alternative selective alpha-blockers. Selective alpha-blockers, such as Flomax, can lower blood pressure but not quite as much as nonselective alpha-blockers.
Some alternative selective alpha-blockers to Flomax include:
Doxazosin is primarily used to treat symptoms of BPH in men. However, it is also used alone or in combination with other drugs to manage high blood pressure. Sold under brand names Cardura and Cardura XL[v], this drug comes in tablet form. It is available at a lower price, which may be more suitable for men whose budget is limited.
Terazosin, sold under brand name Hytrin, is also an alpha-blocker that treats symptoms of hypertension and enlarged prostate. Like other medications of this kind, Hytrin relaxes blood vessels and muscles in the prostate and bladder neck to make it easier for a man to urinate. Like the above-mentioned drug, this one is also a cheaper alternative to Flomax.
Alfuzosin, available under brand name Uroxatral, is an alpha-blocker prescribed to treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Just like other members of this class of drugs, Uroxatral functions by relaxing the muscles in the prostate and bladder neck to make it easier to urinate. The drug was patented in 1978 but approved for medical use in 1988. In the United States, it was approved for the treatment of BPH in 2003.
Silodosin, available under brand name Rapaflo, is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of alpha-blockers used for the treatment of BPH. It is only approved for the management of BPH and functions in the same way as other drugs in this class. Men with kidney and liver disease should not take Rapaflo.
The US Foods and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved Flomax for the management of urinary symptoms of BPH in 1997. Twelve years later, in 2009, the drug manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim lost the patent exclusivity of the drug molecule.
What does this mean to you? It means that now there are many lost-cost generics available. You can use tamsulosin hydrochloride to address symptoms of an enlarged prostate, and it doesn’t have to be Flomax. For many men with BPH, it may be easier to buy tamsulosin in this form rather than opt for Flomax.
Non-selective α-adrenergic receptor antagonists include:
Other drugs for BPH
Even though Flomax is probably the most popular medication for BPH, it’s not the only one. In fact, the whole class of alpha-blockers is not the only pharmaceutical option for the management of urinary symptoms. Below, you can see other drugs that can help improve a man’s quality of life.
5-alpha-reductase inhibitors are a class of drugs that are also specifically created to alleviate symptoms of BPH but may be used to address male pattern hair loss too. These drugs work by preventing the body from converting testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
Why? That’s because DHT can encourage the growth of the prostate, which puts more pressure on the urethra, thus making it difficult for a man to urinate properly.
Great examples of this class of drugs include finasteride Proscar and dutasteride (Avodart). Like other medications, these can also induce some adverse reactions such as erectile dysfunction (ED), low libido, ejaculatory problems, among others.
Although phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors are mainly used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, they can also help men with an enlarged prostate. In some cases, they are used in combination with other drugs for BPH to address erectile dysfunction and other side effects.
Ideally, one medication would help on its own, but in some cases, that doesn’t happen. In situations when one drug is not enough, the doctor may recommend combinations of different medicines. Common drug combinations include:
- Finasteride Proscar and doxazosin (Cardura)
- Dutasteride (Avodart) and tamsulosin (Flomax)
- Alpha-blockers and antimuscarinics (medications that treat overactive bladder)
Avoid combining drugs on your own. The doctor is the one who should recommend a suitable combination and discuss the benefits and risks with a patient. This way, you can prevent erectile dysfunction, which can often occur in patients with BPH.
Other medical treatments for BPH
Along with drugs, surgical procedures are also performed to treat enlarged prostates.
The problem with almost all of these invasive procedures used to treat BPH is that they damage the prostate and, therefore, cause short or even long-term consequences.
The only difference between them is that they use different technologies, but it doesn’t matter how you damage the prostate, it was damage either way.
Before undergoing surgery, carry out extensive research and consult your Doctor on the after-effects and impact on the quality of life.
What is a good alternative to Flomax?
Besides the prescribed medication, you may also want to try some natural remedies that have been used for centuries to treat prostate-related problems such as BPH. Below, you can see some of the best natural remedies for enlarged prostate.
1) Saw Palmetto Berry Herb
French researchers say this well-known herb is a suitable replacement for Flomax, plus it decreases 65% of biomarkers for chronic prostate inflammation. That’s a good amount since the drug only decreased the biomarkers 46%.
Saw palmetto berry also decreased 80% of the genes most frequently expressed for prostate enlargement while the drug came in with a pale 33% reduction.
Patients who had the MIF protein overexpressed because of the disorder showed a higher response to the International Prostate Symptom Score when they took the hexane extract of the herb as well.
The scientists stated that their study showed for the first time that saw palmetto has distinct clinical level anti-inflammatory properties for men with prostate enlargement.
Increasing clinical research has looked into Beta-sitosterol’s role in supporting numerous issues associated with prostate disease. A number of studies have shown this plant sterol to effectively relieve urinary symptoms and reduce nighttime awakening.
A German study administered pure beta-sitosterol with 200 men over the course of a year, half of whom received a placebo. They said that ‘significant improvement in symptoms and urinary flow parameters show the effectiveness of beta-sitosterol in the treatment of BPH.’
A follow-up study by Dr.Berges in 2000 further highlighted the benefits of beta-sitosterol for urinary symptoms.
Shatavari is a powerful herb that lowers estrogen levels it reduces inflammation and improves urinary flow.
It also contains phytoestrogen compounds, which compete with natural estrogen, reducing the potential for it to contribute to prostate growth. Research suggests that Shatavari works to reverse BPH by inhibiting protein deposits in the lumen of the prostate.
3) Pygeum Africanum
Pygeum herb is just as effective as Flomax, say the experts of various medical reports. Men using the herb were more than twice as likely to report an improvement in overall symptoms, such as urinary urgency and frequent urination.
Getting up to urinate in the middle of the night was reduced by 19%. Residual urine volume was decreased by 24%, and peak urine flow was increased by 23%.
Punarnava inhibits 5 alpha-reductase enzymes to prevent the conversion of testosterone to DHT and shrink the prostate. It contains Beta-Sitosterol and Ursolic acid, as well as vitamin D and E, all essential supplements for prostate health.
Ursolic acid has anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce inflammation of the prostate and urethra. Meanwhile, Beta-sitosterols have been shown to help alleviate the symptoms of BPH by increasing your urine flow rate.
5) Poncirus Trifoliata Fruit
This fruit is used in traditional Oriental medicine for different conditions such as swelling, constipation, allergies, and too much acid after eating.
The fruit contains flavonoids and coumarins that have already proven to work against allergies, viruses, and tumors.
In an enlarged prostate, testosterone is often linked with the development and progression of the disorder.
The body makes its own 5-alpha-reductase to block the production of testosterone, but drugs other than Flomax used for enlargement of the prostate try to mimic the same thing.
When Korean researchers tested an alcoholic extract of the fruit against the prescription medication, they found that the fruit extract markedly reduced testosterone levels compared to the other groups. It prevented the progression of enlarged prostate caused by testosterone.
What other natural remedies for enlarged prostate are available?
Besides the above-mentioned remedies, nature has a lot more to offer. Here are some other natural remedies you may find helpful to reduce symptoms associated with enlarged prostate:
- Cernilton – made from rye-grass pollen
- Beta-sitosterol-is a plant substance that relieves urinary symptoms of BPH, including the strength of the urine flow. The compound is found in vegetable oil, avocadoes, nuts, and other sources. Today, there are also supplements that deliver beta-sitosterol to help manage prostate problems.
- Saxifrage – from ancient Chinese medicine improves prostate function
- Babassu – made from Brazilian palm tree
- Pumpkin seed – contains beta-sitosterol (However, note that while nutritious, the quantity of these active ingredients is low).
If you’re not sure, discuss these natural remedies with your doctor. Remember that management of BPH goes beyond your prostate and helps preserve your overall health in the long run.
You can help lower the risk of complications, such as kidney damage and renal failure. Renal failure can occur due to kidney stones and many other causes, including BPH because when left unmanaged, this problem can cause infection, bladder damage, and kidney damage.
Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to change in your lifestyle to make it easier to manage BPH and improve your quality of life, cut the risk of erectile dysfunction, and general wellbeing. They are:
- Limit the intake of beverages at night and try not to drink anything hour or two before bedtime to reduce the risk of having to get up in the middle of the night to urinate.
- Limit the intake of coffee and alcohol because they can increase the production of urine and irritate your bladder.
- Manage stress to reduce the overall tension, and you can achieve this through exercise, yoga, meditation.
- Do Kegel exercises for men to strengthen your bladder (constrict and release pelvic muscles; the muscles you use to stop the urine stream).
- Adjust your diet so that it promotes prostate health by eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna).
- Don’t try to “hold it in” when you have the urgent need to urinate.
- Try to urinate at regular times, e.g., every four to six hours to retrain your bladder.
- Bearing in mind that overweight and obesity are associated with enlarged prostate make sure to slim down or maintain your weight in the healthy range.
- Try double voiding (urinate and then urinate again a few moments later).
- Keep yourself warm during cold winter temperatures.
- Don’t strain to empty your bladder.
In other words, adopting a healthy lifestyle is a good thing for your general wellbeing, including a healthy prostate. When we are discussing lifestyle changes, you need to see the doctor regularly if you have BPH. The doctor will closely monitor the condition to detect whether there’s a further prostate enlargement in order to adjust your treatment.
When to see a doctor?
Ideally, a man should see his doctor as soon as urinary symptoms occur in order to find out the underlying cause and learn how to feel better.
Unfortunately, most men are reluctant to see a health care provider for problems affecting the urinary tract until they become quite frustrating to handle. If you notice blood in the urine, inability to urinate, and pain or burning sensation on urinating, you need to see the doctor immediately.
Flomax tamsulosin is one of the most popular medications for the treatment of enlarged prostate, but it is not the only one.
In this post, we discussed the Flomax alternatives as well as natural remedies and lifestyle modifications for the treatment of symptoms associated with BPH.
These are only a fraction of the medical journal articles that report that herbs work well for prostate enlargement.
They give us all hope that we can be not only free from symptoms of prostate enlargement but also side effect free from medications prescribed from the condition.
Check out our own alternative herbal formula that assists men in supporting their prostate on the site and speak to your urologist about the potential side effects of the drug Flomax.
Get Your FREE Enlarged Prostate Diet Plan
- 20+ delicious prostate-friendly
- Developed exclusively by our nutritionist
- Helps reduce prostate size and symptoms