Prostate Problem Guide
Enlarged Prostate Medication - How About The Humble Aspirin?
It has been known for some time now that the humble aspirin taken daily in low doses can assist in protecting against heart disease, but what is less well known is that it can also be used as a form of enlarged prostate medication.
About 25% of men in their 40s suffer from an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) and this rises with age to affect well over 50% of all men by the time they reach 70. Although not usually a serious condition it is nevertheless often more than a little inconvenient and, while a number of men choose to live with the condition, others find it enough of an irritation to seek treatment.
It has now been discovered that men who take low dose aspirin and similar non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Naproxen or Ibuprofen on a regular basis experience about a 50% reduction in prostate enlargement and about a 35% reduction in moderate to severe urinary problems.
Just how aspirin works in relation to an enlarged prostate gland is not clear. One theory is that aspirin inhibits cell growth and slows enlargement. Another theory is that it increases the death rate of cells within the prostate. Yet a third theory is that it is the anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin that reduces swelling in the prostate. Whatever the mechanism, and further studies will be needed to pin it down, aspirin certainly seems to work and provides benefit to men suffering from an enlarged prostate. So, should aspirin be added to the list of enlarged prostate medication?
Well, one problem with aspirin, and similar drugs, is that they can produce quite severe side effects, even when they are taken in only small doses. It is well know for example that aspirin can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding. Where aspirin is taken regularly over an extended period it should only be taken when prescribed by your doctor and will normally only be prescribed for cardiovascular problems where it is felt that the benefits of taking aspirin outweigh the risks of gastrointestinal bleeding.
There is however some good news. Because an enlarged prostate normally only causes problems late in life many men with the problem also have other medical conditions, including heart disease. So, in cases where doctors are considering prescribing aspirin to treat a heart condition they will now also be helping with the problem of an enlarged prostate.
Additionally, the mere fact that a link has now been established between aspirin and the prostate gland means that further research may well result in the development of a drug which is specific to the condition on an enlarged prostate, but which does not carry the side effects of the humble aspirin. Such a drug would truly be considered a form of enlarged prostate medication.