Posts Tagged ‘alpha blockers’

Saw Palmetto for the Enlarged Prostate Gland-What You Need to Know

January 23, 2015

Over 30 million Americans suffer from the enlarged prostate gland. The symptoms include getting up at night to urinate, frequency of urination, and dribbling after urination. Constantly rushing to the bathroom is a common complaint among the millions of men who develop an enlarged prostate gland, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This blog will discuss the treatment with the herbal product, saw palmetto.

Saw palmetto has been used to treat urologic conditions since the days of the ancient Egyptians. It is a common non-medical approach to the enlarged prostate gland.

Here are five reasons you should skip saw palmetto and head to the doctor for advice instead.
1. It’s no better than a placebo.
Researchers have shown that saw palmetto is no better than a placebo at alleviating symptoms. Large studies have also shown the same effect in scientific studies comparing saw palmetto to placebo.

2. Its dosage may vary.
Even if you wanted to try taking a regular dose of saw palmetto, there’s currently no guarantee that the supplement you choose contains what it says it does. One study analyzed six different brands of the supplement and found that half of them contained less than 20 percent of the amount stated on the label.

3. It might not be safe.
Saw palmetto doesn’t seem to have any major side effects, but some users have reported headaches, nausea, and dizziness. However, we haven’t seen studies proving that saw palmetto is actually safe for the long term. In addition, supplements, including saw palmetto, are not well regulated by the FDA, and it’s not uncommon for wily manufacturers to distribute tainted products. You may think you’re taking a “natural” herbal remedy, but for all you know, you could be taking prescription, or even experimental, drugs.

4. It might mask another problem.
If you have symptoms of an enlarged prostate, including frequent urination, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an enlarged prostate. The same symptoms might pop up if you have prostatitis (an inflamed or infected prostate gland) or a bladder infection that can be treated with an antibiotic. Or the symptoms might even be a side effect of another medication. If supplements relieve your symptoms for some reason, you might neglect treating another ailment.

5. It’s a waste of money.
Instead of throwing your dollars away on saw palmetto supplements, see your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and find out about approved drugs that can help. Common treatments include alpha-blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. Visit Consumer Reports’ Best Buy Drugs to find out more about drugs it recommends for treating enlarged prostate.

Bottom Line: The enlarged prostate is a common problem affecting millions of American men. Saw palmetto is an over the counter non-medical, herbal supplement that probably has minimal or even no benefit at all. All men with symptoms prostate enlargement should seek medical care as solutions are available.

Can’t Get It Up? Your ED (Erectile Dysfunction) May Be Telling You That Your Health Is Headed Down

September 22, 2014

Nearly every man has an occasional problem with his erection. However, if it is a persistent problem, it may be an indication of a more serious health problem. This blog will discuss some of the common conditions that may not have any symptoms that are associated with ED and what you need to do if you do have ED.

High blood pressure

An estimated one in three men with high blood pressure has no idea they have it, and impotence could be a vital warning sign. As we get older, our arteries become narrower and less elastic, which forces our blood pressure to rise gradually as the heart beats ever harder to get blood around the body. This damages the arteries, reducing blood flow to the penis.

What you can do: Ask your GP to check your blood pressure. Lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise and lowering salt intake may improve erectile dysfunction.

If you are already taking blood pressure medication and suffer from impotence, mention it to your doctor as some pills, such as Thiazide diuretics and beta blockers, can trigger or worsen it and your GP may be able to prescribe an alternative.

Heart disease

The many stresses of modern life, compounded with poor diet, lack of exercise, drinking and smoking, can put you at risk of high cholesterol and heart disease, both of which cause narrowing of the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart — and to the penis. Weak erections can be an early sign of heart trouble.

‘The blood vessels in your penis are 1mm to 2mm wide, much smaller than those in the arteries to your heart (3mm to 4mm wide), so they show up signs of narrowing more quickly.

Impotence occurs, on average, about three years before a heart problem appears, especially in men in their 40s or 50s. Men with erectile dysfunction are 50 times more likely to have heart problems than men with normal heart function.

What you can do: Get your heart and cholesterol levels checked. Improving your diet and boosting exercise levels can reduce your cholesterol levels. Your doctor might also recommend a cholesterol-lowering statin drug. There is some evidence that statins can help with erectile dysfunction.

Diabetes

More than a million people in the U.S. are believed to have undiagnosed diabetes — a condition where your body cannot process the sugar in your blood effectively. Left untreated, this can lead to damage to the blood vessels and the nerves, and can cause poor blood flow to the penis, too.

What you can do: Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to irreversible ED. If you are diagnosed with, or already have, diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels stable (through diet and possibly medication) may help prevent impotence.

More than 50 per cent of diabetics will have ED at some point, and it becomes more common as they grow older.

Enlarged prostate

The prostate is a small, doughnut-shaped gland that sits under the bladder, around the urethra.

Prostate problems are common with age — typically these are prostatitis, a bacterial infection which causes the gland to become swollen, and an enlarged prostate, which is linked to testosterone.

Both can trigger pain, difficulty passing urine and temporary problems with erectile dysfunction.

Prostatitis can be treated with antibiotics (it usually clears within four weeks) and an enlarged prostate may shrink after treatment with an alpha blocker such as Flomax or Rapaflo or the use of drugs that block the effects of testosterone, reducing the gland’s size.

Treatments for prostate cancer — surgery, radiotherapy, ultrasound, cryotherapy and hormone therapy — can trigger erection problems.

Early prostate cancer can be treated surgically with a nerve- sparing technique, which gives a better chance of erections afterwards.

Erectile dysfunction can be an indicator of other medical problems. If you are experiencing a regular loss of erections or are unable to obtain an erection most of the times you engage in sexual intimacy, you should check with your physician.

Men, Having Trouble Urinating? A Pin In the Prostate May Cure Your Problem

September 29, 2013

Men with enlarged prostate glands have symptoms of going to the bathroom frequently, dribbling after urination, and getting up at night to go to the bathroom.  The problem is usually caused by a benign enlargement of the prostate gland, which blocks the flow of urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. 

Prostate, shown in yellow, with blockage of the urethra

Prostate, shown in yellow, with blockage of the urethra


The cause of the benign enlargement is not known but is probably related to alternations in the hormones, testosterone, of middle aged and older men.  Treatment usually consists of medications, alpha blockers and medications to actually relax the muscles in the prostate gland but these are often ineffective especially if used for long period of time.  The other options include minimally invasive procedures such as microwaves that can actually shrink the prostate gland.  Now there’s a new treatment option that will soon be available. 

The UroLift system, made by NeoTract Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., is the first permanent implant to relieve low or blocked urine flow in men age 50 and older with an enlarged prostate.

By pulling back prostate tissue that presses on the urethra, the system allows more natural urine flow.  

4 pins in the prostate open the gland and allow improvement in urinary symptoms

4 pins in the prostate open the gland and allow improvement in urinary symptoms


The procedure can be done in the doctor’s office under a local anesthesia and will actually open up the urethra to allow the flow of urine and reduce the urinary symptoms of frequency of urination, improve the force and caliber of the urine stream, and decrease the number of times a man needs to get up at night to empty his bladder.

Of course with any procedure there may be side effects and complications.  Some patients reported pain or burning during urination, increased urgency, decreased urine flow, incomplete bladder emptying, and blood in the urine.  Most of these symptoms and side effects were temporary and resolved a few days or weeks after the Urolift was performed.

 

Bottom Line:  Millions of American men suffer from symptoms as a result of an enlarged prostate gland.  Certainly medications are a first line treatment option.  However, the Urolift may be a permanent solution to this common problem and help men get a good night’s sleep!

Pass That Kidney Stone-Use Alpha-Blockers

May 5, 2010

Kidney stones affect millions of American men and women.  When a kidney stone is in the ureter, the tube between the kidney and the bladder, and blocks the flow of urine, this causes severe pain on the affected side.  The stone causes spasm of the ureter and causes more pain and retards the passage of the stone out of the urinary tract.  This pain and discomfort is relieved with pain medication but the spasm of the muscles in the ureter can be relaxed with the use of alpha-blocker medications such as Cardura, Hytrin, Flomax, and Uroxatrol.

These drugs are used to treat a non-cancerous prostate condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The drugs work by relaxing the smooth muscle in a channel that runs through the prostate gland, allowing for better urine flow.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are formations of crystals that have separated from the urine. The separation occurs within the urinary tract if the patient’s urine is lacking in the chemicals that normally prevent their formation. Most will pass through the tract without notice. The crystals that do not separate form into larger stones, which may be difficult to pass.

Alpha Blockers and Passing Stones

Alpha-blockers can assist in passing stones because when it relaxes the smooth muscle, water can pass through more easily. This may reduce the pain of passing kidney stones, and speed up their exit from the body.  Alpha-blockers must be obtained with a prescription.

Bottom Line: Kidney stones are a common painful condition affecting millions of Americans.  Stone passage can be facilitate by the use of alpha-blockers