Finasteride is a prescription drug that is marketed by the supplement industry as a way to treat enlarged prostates. The premise of the ads is that the pills can shrink an enlarged prostate and decrease sexual dysfunction in men. In addition, there are claims that the pills help to prevent prostate cancer and lessen the size of an enlarged prostate. In essence, the claim is that these pills are a miracle cure for men with an enlarged prostate and BPH (the best guess is BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia). Is finasteride a valid treatment for enlarged prostate and BPH?
works in men who have impotence or erectile dysfunction
The short answer is: it’s complicated. Yes, finasteride works in some men with enlarged prostate and BPH, but not all of them. It also works in men who have impotence or erectile dysfunction – these conditions are related but not directly. In general, it does not work to reverse any sexual dysfunction or disease.
preventing the neurotransmitter serotonin from being reduced
Finasteride is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that blocks the conversion of 5-alpha reductase in the brain to its more active form, 5-alpha hydroxylase (BAH), thus preventing the neurotransmitter serotonin from being reduced. When there is a high level of serotonin in the brain, DHT is prevented from attaching to the hair follicles. Thus, in men with an enlarged prostate and/or BPH, finasteride can help to reduce the severity of hair loss and increase hair growth. However, some men taking finasteride for BPH or other prostate conditions experience serious side effects including severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, thinning of the skin, muscle weakness, and even nervousness, agitation, and depression. In rare cases, severe side effects can also include liver disease, seizures, and even potentially fatal heart attacks.
reduce the severity of male sexual dysfunction
So how does finasteride work for both? A study comparing the effects of two different dosages of finasteride was conducted on patients with enlarged prostates. The patients, who had both BPH and premature ejaculation as their main disorder, were intravenously given dosages of either placebo or finasteride. The study found that although there were no significant differences between the two treatments, the patients who had more severe symptoms of sexual dysfunction while on finasteride showed significantly lower improvement than those who took a placebo. Thus, it seems that although finasteride may be able to reduce the severity of male sexual dysfunction, it cannot help people with benign overgrowth.
the doctor will advise you to take a lower dosage or avoid the drug
It is important to note that finasteride works differently for different men. If you are a man with a severely enlarged prostate, or if your condition has worsened recently, you should consult your doctor before starting a treatment. Men with low testosterone levels and diabetes are also advised against starting finasteride treatment because they may experience serious side effects such as hypoglycemia, fluid retention, electrolyte abnormalities, diarrhea, and nausea. In these cases, the doctor will advise you to take a lower dosage or avoid the drug. However, as an alternative to these drugs, certain formulations of finasteride can be applied directly onto the prostate via a suppository, which may also help to treat your symptoms.
Finasteride is prescribed in pill form to treat BPH
Like any medication, finasteride has its own share of side effects. However, when taken as directed, it can effectively treat BPH. You should consult your doctor to know more about the available treatments and the possible side effects associated with them.