Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a relatively common condition among older men.
While the condition is not considered life-threatening, the effects and complications can be uncomfortable.
The risk of the disease dramatically increases with age. According to one study, about 60% of men will experience enlargement of their prostate by the age of 90.
Even by the age of 40, at least 8% of men experience symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Several treatments have been suggested for this condition. However, some can be costly and even lead to the utilization of invasive procedures.
A lot of men are looking for alternative options that are not only more affordable but also less invasive.
Various pharmaceutical products have been developed to assist in improving urinary symptoms that men with benign prostatic hyperplasia tend to experience.
There are also certain supplements that may be helpful.
We take a closer look at the medicine known as Alfuzosin (Uroxatral) in this post and consider whether or not this drug is useful.
What is Alfuzosin?
Alfuzosin hydrochloride is a drug that was primarily developed to address BPH symptoms. The drug is classified as an alpha-adrenergic blocker.
The primary function of Alfuzosin, as an alpha-adrenergic blocker, is to ensure the smooth muscle located in the bladder neck can relax. Additionally, the medicine also causes the prostate gland’s muscle to relax.
It should be noted that the reason why Alfuzosin may be prescribed is to assist in easing the urinary symptoms experienced.
When the prostate becomes enlarged, it will usually press against the urethra. This causes a constriction in the urethra, which can lead to urinary tract symptoms.
The patient may find that initiating a urine stream is difficult. They may also experience urinary consistency.
When the muscles of the prostate gland and the bladder neck relaxes, then the man may find it easier to urinate.
Though the drug is relatively common among men diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia, it is crucial to understand that there are certain risks and side-effects associated with the medicine.
Some patients may also not be ideal candidates for the drug. There may be interactions with other medications, as well as with certain conditions that the patient might also be suffering from.
Risks and benefits of Alfuzosin
When it comes to turning toward a pharmaceutical drug to treat any disease or health condition, it is critical for a patient to not only understand the risk as well as the benefits.
For this reason, it is essential that we take a closer look at the risks and benefits that have been linked to the use of Alfuzosin.
What are the risks of taking Alfuzosin?
While considering the risks and benefits of Alfuzosin, we want to start by taking a closer look at the potential side-effects that patients may experience.
The adverse reactions that have been associated with Alfuzosin include:
- Feeling tired most of the time.
- Experiencing fatigue.
- An onset of headaches.
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting may also occur.
Some patients may also find that they develop symptoms that are often associated with a cold. This may include a sore throat and a stuffy nose. Sneezing might also occur in some cases.
These are all relatively common side-effects that people tend to experience when they use this drug.
There are cases where more serious adverse events may develop. In such a case, the patient is advised to contact an emergency department immediately to get medical assistance.
Some of the more severe side-effects that patients should be wary of include:
- Dizziness experienced may become more severe.
- Angina chest pain could be experienced.
- The heartbeat may become fast and/or irregular.
When a patient faints after taking this medication, they should get to an emergency room as soon as possible.
What are the benefits of taking Alfuzosin?
Alfuzosin acts upon the muscles that are located at the bladder neck, as well as those in the prostate gland.
The primary benefit of the medication is the fact that it may help to reduce constrictions that occur within these muscles.
The tension that usually occurs in these muscles among patients with an enlarged prostate makes it difficult to urinate.
The tension constricts the urethra, which is a tube that ensures the bladder can empty, and urine can flow out of the body.
This is why a lot of men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) tend to find it difficult to start urinating. When they can urinate, it may seem hard to maintain urinary flow rate.
Further symptoms of BPH include:
- Frequent urination
- A need to get up to urinate during the night. This is called “nocturia”
- Feeling that the bladder can’t be emptied properly
- Poor urine stream
- Urinary hesitancy
- Painful urination
- Pain during urination or ejaculation.
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
The fact that Alfuzosin may help to improve urinary symptoms in a patient with an enlarged prostate also means the medicine could potentially reduce the risk of certain complications, including:
- Urinary tract infections.
- Bladder stones.
- Bladder damage.
When the bladder is unable to empty thoroughly, the patient is at risk of bladder stones.
The bladder can also be damaged in the process. Due to the improvement in urinary flow and symptoms, the patient is at a lower risk of these problems.
Furthermore, there may be a reduction in the frequency and occurrence of urinary tract infections when the patient uses Alfuzosin to reduce the effects of an enlarged prostate.
What happens if you stop taking Alfuzosin?
Alfuzosin provides an acute treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms.
While the patient is using the drug, they may find that urinary symptoms are improved. This is due to the reduction in tension applied to the urethra by the bladder neck muscle, and the prostate gland.
Patients need to understand what will happen to them if they suddenly stop taking the medication.
First of all, it should be noted that Alfuzosin is not known to cause addictive behaviors. Thus, the patient will not experience withdrawal symptoms if they decide to stop using the medication.
The patient should, however, understand that if they stop using Alfuzosin, the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia may become aggravated.
The patient may experience a worsening of the urge to urinate frequently, yet it may be hard for them to actually “go.”
It is also possible to experience pain while urinating, and the patient may feel a “straining” sensation when they urinate.
Safety and effectiveness of Alfuzosin
Understanding the safety of Alfuzosin is important, as well as looking at whether or not the product is actually effective.
We take a look at a few factors regarding the safety and effectiveness of Alfuzosin below.
How should you take Alfuzosin?
Patients need to ensure they adhere to the usage instructions that are provided to them by the physician.
The majority of patients will be provided a daily 10mg dose of the medication.
It is important to note that the drug should be taken directly after having a meal. It should also be taken at the same time every day.
While most patients will be able to benefit from a 10mg dose on a day-to-day basis, there are certain cases where a dosage adjustment may be needed.
Patients with renal impairment, as well as those with existing conditions affecting their liver, will need to be cautious when using the medicine.
These patients may also need to take a lower dose to reduce the risks of experiencing complications.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- Low blood pressure, especially if caused by taking medications.
What drugs affect Alfuzosin?
Drug interactions need to be taken into account when a patient has prescribed a daily dose of Alfuzosin.
Several drugs are known to interact with Alfuzosin; thus, careful consideration is needed to help determine if this is the right medicine for the patient.
Common drugs that are known to interact with this particular medicine include:
- Flomax / Tamsulosin (Alpha-blockers)
- Metoprolol Tartrate / Metoprolol
- Metoprolol Succinate ER / Metoprolol
- Cialis / Tadalafil
- Viagra / Sildenafil
This is not a complete list of drug interactions. Patients should provide the physician with a full list of medicines that they are currently.
How to choose a prostate health supplement
While a lot of men are taking Alfuzosin to assist in the management of the urinary symptoms caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia, not all patients can use the drug.
There are also many individuals who are concerned about the side-effects, as well as the overall safety profile of this particular medication.
Due to these concerns, patients often seek out alternative ways to reduce the symptoms experienced.
Many supplements have been suggested for the use in promoting a healthier prostate.
What should you consider when choosing a prostate health supplement?
Research and careful consideration – these are two critical factors that a patient should always take into account if they are looking to buy a prostate health supplement.
While a lot of these supplements exist, they are not all effective at improving the wellbeing of the patient’s prostate.
Additionally, some supplements may cause adverse effects that could be unpleasant – or even interact with other medicines that the individual is taking.
The very first thing that should be looked at is the ingredients of the particular supplement. All of these products will have a complete list of the active ingredients, usually located on the back of the container.
By looking at the ingredient list, it is possible to gain a better understanding of how the product will work, as well as whether or not the supplement could be effective.
Doing some research on each of these ingredients can be helpful.
By taking a look at studies and clinical trials, the person can gain more insight into how well each particular ingredient has helped other men with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Personal factors, such as existing conditions also need to be taken into account. Men should not diagnose themselves with benign prostatic hyperplasia, for example.
Instead, PSA levels should be tested, and a full diagnosis needs to be made to rule out other potential causes – such as prostate cancer.
What are the most effective prostate supplements?
Even though many companies claim to offer the ideal solution for men with prostate problems, there are only a few natural herbs and extracts that were found to provide effective results when trying to reduce the effects of an enlarged prostate.
Let’s take a look at some of the supplements that do hold scientific evidence to prove the efficacy in reducing these symptoms:
- Beta-Sitosterol – This is a natural compound that is extracted from individual plants and foods, including seeds, nuts, vegetables, and even some fruits.
The compound is sometimes referred to as plant sterol ester as well. Beta-sitosterol possesses certain medicinal properties that are often used to treat conditions like high cholesterol, influenza, as well as cardiovascular disease.
A clinical trial published in the BJU International Journal tested the effects of beta-sitosterol on 519 men with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
The researchers behind the study found that this natural compound does seem to be effective at reducing the urinary symptoms that men tend to experience when they develop an enlarged prostate. There was also a noticeable improvement in urinary flow.
- Saw Palmetto – This is an ingredient that you will find listed on the majority of supplements that are promoted for prostate health. The natural compound is often used as a natural remedy for various conditions.
Apart from men using it to improve symptoms of BPH, some use the supplement as a way to improve hormone balance, to treat pelvic pain, and to assist in improving a low sex drive.
One journal entry states that a specific formula that contains Saw Palmetto was proven effective. Individuals who had a moderate to severe level of benign prostatic hyperplasia saw an improvement in their symptoms.
Additionally, there was also an improvement in sexual function among those who experience complications with their sexual health due to the presence of this condition.
- Pygeum – This is a natural compound that is extracted from a tree. The bark of the tree is used. It contains compounds that possess medicinal properties.
The product is most often used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Some men also use Pygeum extract supplements to assist in the management of symptoms that are caused by prostate cancer.
Additionally, some people also turn to this natural compound to improve sex drive, and to reduce inflammation in their bodies.
There are a lot of men who have found the options mentioned above to be effective.
Many products combine vitamins and minerals with natural compounds in order to help balance hormones, reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies, and to offer additional male-specific benefits.
What are the best natural remedies for an enlarged prostate?
Several suggestions have been made in terms of treating benign prostatic hyperplasia naturally. Everything from a low-fat diet to including specific foods in a person’s daily eating plan.
Some foods that have shown the potential to reduce inflammation associated with an enlarged prostate include:
- Sesame seeds.
- Bell peppers.
Many of these foods possess natural anti-inflammatory components, which can reduce the swelling of the prostate.
When the inflammation affecting the gland is reduced, the constriction it causes within the urethra eases up. In turn, urination becomes less difficult for the man.
Starting urination will become more relaxed, and the man will be able to maintain their urine stream. There may also be an improvement in bladder emptying.
Alfuzosin is a pharmaceutical drug that was developed to ease symptoms that are generally associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
The drug is widely used by men but does come with certain risks that should be noted.
With many scientific studies looking at alternative remedies, some men may also prefer to opt for supplements that address symptoms.
Some studies have shown natural supplements to be effective at improving these symptoms and possibly reducing the effects of benign prostatic hyperplasia.