Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and sexual dysfunction are conditions that affect a large number of men over 50. Although both conditions are separate, it is difficult to ignore the link between the two. Can problems in the bathroom be linked to problems in the bedroom? The short answer is yes, sometimes they can.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in which the prostate becomes so enlarged that it begins to put pressure on the urethra. When this happens, the patient begins to experience lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), including frequent urination, urgency, incontinence, nocturia (waking up several times to urinate) and weak urine flow. For some men, the condition worsens, causing more severe symptoms that include kidney or bladder problems and urinary retention (inability to urinate).
Sexual dysfunction refers to persistent and recurring problems with experiencing satisfaction from sexual activity. Problems can include a decrease in sexual pleasure, a reduced sex drive (lack of interest in sexual activity) and difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction).
There has been an ongoing medical debate on whether or not BPH does actually affect sexual function. Scientists cannot explain why a large number of men who suffer from BPH eventually also develop some form of sexual problems.
Some argue that, since the majority of patients who suffer from either condition are over 50, sexual dysfunction is not actually a result of BPH, but rather just another age related condition and the two are not linked. On the other hand, some studies suggest that patients with severe benign prostatic hyperplasia are more at risk of developing problems with their sexual function.
Although science cannot prove if in fact there is an actual medical correlation between benign prostatic hyperplasia and sexual dysfunction, all will agree that the stress caused by urinary symptoms as well as some treatments used to relieve BPH symptoms can cause erectile dysfunction and other sexual side effects.
Urinary symptoms are known to cause stress and anxiety. Patients experiencing moderate to severe urinary symptoms caused by BPH will see their quality of life plummet. Their symptoms may make them feel overwhelmed and discouraged. This inevitably has a direct effect on their sexual well being. Symptoms like urgency, incontinence and urinary tract infections can definitely cause issues with the emotional and sexual energy of a patient. Patients can even begin to develop erectile dysfunction (ED) as a result of prolonged stress caused by BPH.
Some medications used to reduce BPH symptoms can cause difficulty in maintaining an erection. Patients have also reported experiencing a decreased libido from BPH drug treatments. Not all drug therapies will cause these symptoms and patients should speak with their doctor before making any decisions regarding medical treatment. However, BPH medication is a reported cause of impaired sexual function in men suffering from BPH.
Tissues removal surgeries such as an open prostatectomy or even TURP, can have sexual side effects including ED. Although in some cases, it is imperative for patients to undergo a traditional surgery, medical experts usually prefer attempting less aggressive methods to reduce BPH symptoms.
Can you reduce your BPH symptoms and avoid the sexual side effects? The short answer is yes, you can.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia affects a large number of men over 50. Having an enlarged prostate is not necessarily an alarming medical condition. However, its symptoms can become burdensome and have a negative impact on a patient’s quality of life. That is when the risk of experiencing sexual problems also increases.
If you are experiencing any form of urinary symptoms (with or without sexual side effects) you should seek medical attention to evaluate the severity of your symptoms and determine if they are related to BPH.
You don’t have to live with burdensome symptoms that affect your quality of life.
Take the one-minute BPH quiz.