Erectile Dysfunction and an Enlarged Prostate- What’s the Connection?

Erectile Dysfunction and an Enlarged Prostate What’s the Connection? 645d5444c4d34.png

Erectile Dysfunction and an Enlarged Prostate- What’s the Connection?

We’ve all seen the commercials, and heard the jokes. Or maybe you are someone or know someone who’s used it. We’re talking about viagra, and more specifically Erectile Dysfunction. Fortunately, erectile dysfunction, commonly referred to as ED,  is no longer something that’s only whispered about within a relationship, or embarrassingly disclosed to a doctor. It’s an accepted issue, with accepted solutions. However, for those with an enlarged prostate, the solution might not be as easy as a prescription and a pill.

We already know that a man’s prostate continues to grow as he ages, making an enlarged prostate, or BPH, quite commonplace. However, sometimes, without proper treatment, an enlarged prostate can be problematic. An enlarged prostate can lead to many urinary symptoms and increased urinary infections, and yes, it can affect a man’s sex life.

A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings looked at the link between common BPH urinary symptoms and sexual dysfunction. Researchers studied 2,115 men between the ages of 40 and 79, by having them complete a questionnaire about their sexual function and urinary tract symptoms every two years. What they found was that sexual function and severy of urinary tract symptoms had a definite inverse relationship. The more urinary problems, the less sexual function.

The study also found that the urinary tract symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate that were most associated with sexual dysfunction were:

  • A feeling of urgency
  • Needing to get up multiple times at night to urinate
  • A weak urine stream
  • Straining to start urinating

These urinary symptoms were all associated with:

  • Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
  • The way men felt about problems with sexual drive, erection, and ejaculation
  • Sexual satisfaction problems

So the solution is to treat the BPH that is causing the urinary issues that are then leading to ED, right?

Yes, but it’s complicated.

Treating the enlarged prostate can be helpful when it comes to urinary issues and ED, however, not all treatments are created equal. In fact, some drugs that are used to treat BPH can actually cause ED and reduce sperm count. Proscar, for example, which is an anti-testosterone drug used to treat BPH has been linked to ED. In fact, studies have found that 3.7% of men using Proscar struggle with ED, and 3.3% report having diminished libido.

That being said, research has also discovered that there is a  positive correlation between drugs used to treat ED, like Viagra and Cialis, which can actually improve BPH and reduce urinary symptoms. It has also been shown that the drug Flomax, an alpha-blocker that relaxes the muscles in the prostate and bladder neck, making it easier to urinate- can improve the symptoms of BPH with a lower risk of sexual side effects.

Another treatment option that can help solve problems with ED by reducing or even eliminating the symptoms of BPH, is Prostate Artery Embolization ( PAE).

This minimally invasive procedure, which we offer here at MidAtlantic Vascular and Interventional,  has a high rate of success, with over 90% of men experiencing relief in the first year. And unlike some of the other treatment options, PAE does not affect sexual performance.

If you are one of the many men that struggle with prostate conditions that are causing or contributing to ED, there is a solution.

Please call us today to talk about your treatment options.

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