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Medications for BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia)

Medical management for a non-cancerous enlarged prostate

Our drug therapy options can help you manage an enlarged prostate and possibly avoid or delay surgery

About

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland near the neck of the bladder. An enlarged prostate or prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) puts pressure on the urethra (waterpipe) and can make it difficult for you to pass urine. If you've been diagnosed with BPH, your consultant can prescribe drugs to help you medically manage your symptoms. There are two types of drug:

- Alpha blockers
- Five-alpha-reductase inhibitors

Treating BPH with drugs can help to alleviate your symptoms if they aren't too bothersome. Occasionally, your consultant may prescribe both an alpha blocker and a five-alpha-reductase inhibitor. Medical management of BPH can also help you to avoid or postpone surgery.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    What are alpha blockers? Muscles in the bladder and prostate. This reduces the pressure on the urethra, which in turn improves urine flow. Alpha blockers are not a cure for BPH. But, within six weeks, they can help to improve symptoms by 29-50% and flow rates by 20-30%. What are five alpha reductase inhibitors? Five-alpha-reductase inhibitors shrink the size of the prostate and, as a result, help to relieve urine obstruction. They do this by stopping the production of DHT, the enzyme needed for the prostate to grow. Five-alpha-reductase inhibitors can take up to six months to be effective.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain which drug is right for you. They'll also explain any risks or side effects involved. The possible side effects of alpha blockers include: - tiredness - dizziness - headaches - dry mouth - erection - ejaculation problems - low blood pressure - weakness - upset stomach - nasal congestion. The possible side effects of five-alpha-reductase inhibitors include: - erection and ejaculation problems - reduced sex drive. You may be asked to attend regular check-ups every three-to-six months while taking the medication. This lets us assess kidney function, symptom scores and the size of your prostate.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Drug treatments for BPH are not a cure and may need to be taken long-term. They also do not guarantee that you won't need surgery at some time in the future.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • facility-pgh-hero-579x579

    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 3131 7216
    Enquiries 020 3130 6833

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road

    London

    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7811 4000
    Enquiries 020 3131 4978

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

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