5 Alpha Reductase Inhibitors for Prostatitis
What Are They?
5 Alpha reductase inhibitors are prescribed for prostatitis to relax the muscles and neck of the bladder to help urine flow. These drugs, which are commonly prescribed to treat enlarged prostate (benign prostate hyperplasia, or BPH), slow the growth of the prostate. They reduce prostate size by blocking conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a hormone that can stimulate prostate growth. When the prostate size goes down, urinary symptoms improve and pain levels may go down. The 5 alpha reductase inhibitors are also sometimes prescribed for chonic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain sufferers.
Some 5 alpha reductase inhibitors for prostatitis include:
- Proscar (finasteride)
- Avodart (dutasteride)
Common side effects of 5 alpha reductase inhibitors include dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, nasal congestions, breast tenderness, and retrograde ejaculation, which is when semen moves back into the bladder instead of out of the urethra during ejaculation. Other sexual side effects may include testicular pain or swelling, erectile dysfunction, and loss or lowering of libido. These sexual side effects may continue even after the medication is stopped, and it is also worth noting that Proscar can also artificially lower PSA levels. These drugs are associated with a risk of high-grade prostate cancer and have an FDA black box warning on their labels to indicate this risk.
Men who wish to become fathers should talk to their doctor about the effects of 5 alpha reductase inhibitors on their fertility. If you plan on having children, be aware that Proscar can cause birth defects in male babies. Avodart can cause reduced sperm count, reduced semen volume, and reduced sperm movement.
You should always ask your doctor about side effects for any new medication you take. Knowing how the side effects can affect your quality of life can help you make informed decisions about your treatment. Both Proscar and Avodart can have some negative reactions when combined with other drugs, so make sure your doctor and pharmacist have a complete list of every medication you take.
If you are worried about the side effects associated with 5 alpha reductase inhibitors for prostatitis, you might want to look into natural prostatitis treatments that can help support prostate health. Supplements such as zinc, beta-sitosterol, green tea, saw palmetto, DIM, and curcumin have been found to inhibit 5 alpha reductase activity to varying degrees. The positive aspect of natural therapies such as these is that they do not cause the negative side affects associated with 5 alpha reductase inhibitors.