Do you have an enlarged prostate or erectile dysfunction (ED)? If so then you might be wondering if one causes the other or if they’re related at all. These are two different conditions but they can be somewhat related. Enlarged prostate (BPH) is a condition in which the prostate becomes bigger than the average size of a walnut/golf ball. It can cause various problems like the flow of urine in/out of the bladder getting blocked. Meanwhile, ED is the inability of a man to get and maintain an erect penis for sexual activity. Enlarged prostate and ED are relatively common in older men. Half of men aged 75+ have BPH symptoms. Meanwhile, about half of men in their 50s have some level of ED.
Some prostate conditions like inflamed prostates can definitely cause ED. The big question is whether BPH and ED are related and if so—how? They can be but in some interesting ways. For example, BPH meds can actually cause problems with ED. On the other hand, ED medications might ironically provide some help to people with BPH. It’s important to take a closer look at the relationship of these conditions if you have either of them. You’ll then know what to expect.
What Is Enlarged Prostate?
The technical name for this condition is benign prostatic hyperplasia. You can call it BPH for short. It all starts with the prostate, which is a small gland that’s normally about the size of a walnut.
A common condition that older men have is the prostate getting bigger. This can cause a lot of problems related to urination. It includes the bladder getting blocked so urine can’t flow out normally. You can also have other problems like kidney and urinary tract issues.
There are various symptoms of BPH that you should be aware of. They include urinating more or less frequently. Other possible issues include starting or stopping urination and being unable to empty the bladder completely.
One thing to keep in mind is the prostate’s size doesn’t show how serious the problem is. For example, a very large prostate could show minor symptoms while a slightly larger gland could still have severe issues.
As always, it’s important to watch out for multiple symptoms. For example, the symptoms you’re experiencing might be related to your prostate or something completely different. That’s why you should contact your doctor if you experience any major changes in urination.
There are various causes of BPH but the risk increases as men age. It’s a good idea to get tested starting in your 40s and if you want to be extra-careful start a decade earlier.
There are other risk factors including family history, heart disease, diabetes, and lifestyle factors like diet and fitness level.
Various treatments for an enlarged prostate are available including prescription meds. These medications can have an effect on your penis and possibly cause ED. The main goal of the medications is to help your urination to get back on track in terms of the amount and frequency.
In some cases, your doctor might recommend surgery. This is somewhat of a last resort though.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
You’ve probably heard something about ED but sometimes the info found through sources like the web isn’t 100% accurate. It’s important to separate fact from fiction.
In a nutshell, ED is the condition of not being able to achieve and maintain a penis erection that’s strong enough for sexual activity. It’s important to note that just having erection problems now and then doesn’t mean you have ED.
What we’re talking about here is when the problem is long-term. In that case, you should get it checked out. Like prostate issues, some men aren’t comfortable about getting tested for ED.
The problem is it could actually be caused by a more serious issue like heart disease. So, it’s critical to get a checkup and tests run so your doctor can determine what’s wrong and provide an accurate diagnosis.
How can the ED be fixed? Sometimes it’s about dealing with the root cause that’s causing the erection problems. In other cases, medications are needed to treat ED specifically. These meds can actually have an effect on BPH, but more on that later.
Here are some common signs of ED:
- Lower sexual desire
- Trouble achieving an erection
- Trouble maintaining an erection
If you have one or more of these issues and it happens often then you should contact your doctor immediately. You can’t solve a problem until you define exactly what it is.
There are various possible causes of ED. It’s a complex process involving different things like nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and hormones. Then there’s stuff involving the brain and emotions, which makes it’s complicated like a Facebook relationship status.
There are also X-factors like stress. You might not have any physical or mental conditions that are directly causing the ED. However, if you’re stressed out from work, school, or family problems then it could affect your ability to maintain an erect penis.
Enlarged Prostate and ED
So, let’s get to the nitty-gritty about whether BPH and ED are related. The risk of both of these conditions increases as men age. In short, they’re different conditions that can affect each other.
It’s important to note that BPH itself doesn’t cause symptoms related to BPH. However, BPH meds might cause various side-effects including ED. More specifically, men might have problems keeping an erection.
One example is a drug type known as alpha-blockers. This can cause ED by affecting the prostate and bladder.
There are other drugs that can affect other factors related to sexual activity and ED. Some of the symptoms include lower sex drive and sperm-related problems.
It’s also possible for a surgery known as TURP can cause side-effects like ED. One of the main ones is something informally called dry organism. It’s not a serious symptom but it can have a negative effect on a man’s fertility.
Some men might also experience ED. This side-effect only happens in up to 10% of men.
On the other hand, ED treatments can also affect BPH. This time it can ironically help to improve the enlarged prostate. That’s because they can sometimes reduce BPH symptoms people have. This includes the well-known drug Viagra.
What happens? These meds block a certain protein that the body uses to break down a particular chemical known as cGMP. This boosts blood flow going to the penis
That’s a good thing but how is this related to BHP? The theory is ED drugs can boost the cGMP levels in the prostate/bladder. This could allow the prostate and bladder to relax and thus allow urine to flow better.
It’s important to note that these meds are only legally allowed for ED. They haven’t been approved for enlarged prostates. However, it’s possible in the future the US’ FDA could give these meds a thumbs up for both enlarged prostate and ed.