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What Drug Shrinks the Prostate?

Mark Halsey
Chief Editor of - Cleanbreak Recovery

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands...Read more

Drugs that can shrink the prostate have been used for centuries to treat prostate enlargement. This condition, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), affects millions of men around the world. Fortunately, there are a number of medications that can reduce the size of the prostate, allowing men to experience reduced symptoms. In this article, we’ll explore what drugs shrink the prostate, how they work, and what side effects they may cause. We’ll also cover alternative treatments for BPH and when to see a doctor for further evaluation.

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Drugs That Shrink the Prostate

The prostate is a gland located in the male reproductive system. It is responsible for the production of semen and is essential for fertility. As men age, the prostate can become enlarged, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, such as difficulty urinating, increased frequency of urination, weak urinary stream, and incomplete bladder emptying. Fortunately, there are several drugs that can help reduce the size of the prostate and relieve symptoms of BPH.


Alpha-blockers are the most commonly prescribed type of drug for relief of BPH symptoms. They work by relaxing the muscles in the prostate and bladder neck, allowing urine to flow more freely. Commonly prescribed alpha-blockers include tamsulosin (Flomax), doxazosin (Cardura), alfuzosin (Uroxatral), and terazosin (Hytrin). Side effects of alpha-blockers can include dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, and nausea.

5-Alpha-Reductase Inhibitors

5-alpha-reductase inhibitors are another type of drug used to shrink the prostate. These drugs work by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that can stimulate prostate growth. Commonly prescribed 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors include finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart). Side effects of these drugs may include decreased sex drive, impotence, and breast tenderness or enlargement.

Herbal Remedies for the Prostate

In addition to conventional medications, there are several herbal remedies that may help shrink the prostate. Saw palmetto is a popular herb used to treat BPH, and studies have shown that it can be effective in reducing symptoms and decreasing the size of the prostate. Pygeum is another herb that may be helpful for BPH, although there is less research to support its use. Other herbs that may be useful for treating BPH include nettle root extract, pumpkin seed oil, and rye pollen extract.

Lifestyle Changes for Prostate Health

In addition to medications and herbal remedies, there are several lifestyle changes that can help reduce symptoms of BPH and improve prostate health. These include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. It is also important to get regular checkups with a urologist to monitor prostate health.

Surgery for Enlarged Prostate

When more conservative treatments are not effective in reducing symptoms, surgery may be necessary to treat an enlarged prostate. Commonly performed surgeries include transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP), and laser prostatectomy. Surgery is generally reserved for more severe cases of BPH and should only be considered after all other options have been exhausted.

Risks and Benefits of Prostate Surgery

Surgery for BPH carries a risk of serious complications, such as bleeding, infection, and urinary incontinence. However, it can be effective in reducing symptoms and improving quality of life. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with a urologist before proceeding with any treatment.

When to Seek Medical Advice

Men who are experiencing any symptoms of BPH, such as difficulty urinating, increased frequency of urination, or a weak urinary stream, should seek medical advice. A urologist can determine if the symptoms are due to BPH and recommend the best course of treatment.

Top 6 Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Drug used to Shrink the Prostate?

The drug most commonly used to shrink the prostate is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, such as finasteride or dutasteride. These medications work by blocking the action of an enzyme known as 5-alpha reductase that helps to convert testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). By reducing the amount of DHT in the body, these medications can help shrink an enlarged prostate.

What are the Side Effects of the Drug?

The most common side effects associated with 5-alpha reductase inhibitors are sexual side effects, such as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and decreased ejaculate volume. These medications can also cause dizziness, and headaches. In some cases, they may also cause more severe side effects, such as liver damage and increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

How Long Does it Take for the Drug to Work?

The effects of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors typically become noticeable after several months of treatment. Generally, it takes between 6 to 12 months for the full effects of the medication to be seen.

Is Surgery Necessary after Taking the Drug?

Surgery is not generally necessary after taking the drug. For most men, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors are effective in reducing the size of the prostate, and relieving symptoms. However, in some cases, surgery may be necessary to reduce the size of the prostate further, or to remove any obstructions that may have developed.

Are There Alternatives to the Drug?

There are several alternative treatments to 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. These include lifestyle changes, such as reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, and increasing water consumption. Other treatments include alpha-blockers, which work by relaxing the muscles around the prostate and bladder neck. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to reduce the size of the prostate further.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Taking the Drug?

The long-term effects of taking 5-alpha reductase inhibitors are largely unknown. However, some studies have found an increased risk of developing prostate cancer in men taking these medications. Additionally, some men may experience persistent side effects, such as decreased libido and erectile dysfunction. It is important to discuss any potential risks with a healthcare provider before taking these medications.

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The answer to the question of what drug shrinks the prostate is Finasteride, a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. It has been proven to be effective in reducing prostate enlargement and can be taken orally. The side effects of Finasteride are minimal, and it is a safe and effective way of treating an enlarged prostate. It is important to discuss the use of this drug with a doctor before starting any treatment plan. With the right treatment plan, Finasteride may be an effective way to reduce an enlarged prostate and improve overall urinary health.

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands the complex needs of those struggling with addiction and utilizes a comprehensive and holistic approach to address them. He is well-versed in traditional and innovative therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness-based interventions.

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