Men who develop an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), may begin to also experience changes in sexual function. Also, certain treatments for enlarged prostate can lead to sexual side effects. If you are seeking or have already begun treatment for enlarged prostate, you should be aware of the following five potential side effects.
Sometimes BPH can cause bladder problems, including a weak urine stream, an uncontrollable bladder or changes in urinary frequency. Men who experience these symptoms sometimes undergo a surgery called transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP. One side effect of TURP, however, is retrograde ejaculation—also called dry orgasm—which causes the semen released during orgasm to enter the bladder rather than exit the penis. As many as 50 to 75 percent of men who receive TURP experience retrograde ejaculation, according to Harvard Medical School.
Some men who have BPH experience a decrease in sexual desire, but researchers are unsure about whether decreased libido is caused by a physical or psychological factor. Some oral medications for BPH may also lower libido, but surgical procedures for BPH typically do not have an effect on libido.
Reduced sexual satisfaction
The many potential side effects of BPH treatments can lead to a reduced overall satisfaction with one’s sex life. Additionally, men who have BPH may experience sleep problems and anxiety, which can make sexual problems worse. Work with your partner to bolster mutual sexual satisfaction despite the symptoms.
Men who go through the TURP procedure sometimes experience erectile dysfunction as a side effect, or the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. Only about 5 to 10 percent of men who have TURP, however, experience erectile dysfunction as a side effect. Two types of common BPH medications include alpha-blockers and alpha-reductase inhibitors, which can also lead to decreased ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.
Benefits of ED drugs
While erectile dysfunction is a certainly a negative side effect of BPH, the good news is that ED treatments may help improve BPH symptoms. Medications for ED work by essentially increasing blood flow to the penis, which may help bladder and prostate cells relax and can lead to improved BPH symptoms. Many ED drugs have been shown to help alleviate BPH, but researchers say that more research is needed to confirm whether ED drugs are safe and effective to treat symptoms of enlarged prostate.
Multimedia journalist with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a master’s in Broadcast Journalism and Public Affairs