It is well known that the humble aspirin taken daily in low doses can be helpful in protecting against heart disease, but did you know that it can also help preventing you from developing an enlarged prostate?
About twenty five percent of men in their forties will develop an enlarged prostate (otherwise known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) and this figure rises with age to affect well over half of all men by the time they reach seventy. Though not normally a serious condition it is nonetheless more than a little inconvenient and, while many men simply choose to live with it, others find it sufficiently irritating to seek treatment.
It has now been found that men who regularly take aspirin and similar non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen experience about a fifty percent reduction in prostate enlargement and about a thirty-five percent reduction in moderate to severe urinary difficulties.
Exactly how aspirin works in relation to the prostate gland is unclear. One theory is that it inhibits cell growth thus slowing any enlargement. Another theory is that it increases the rate at which cells die within the prostate. Yet another theory is that it simply acts as an ‘anti-inflammatory’ drug. However, whatever the mechanism, for which further studies will be needed, it certainly seems to work and brings benefit to men suffering from an enlarged prostate. So, should aspirin join the list as another form of enlarged prostate medication?
Well, before you rush out any buy a bottle of aspirin you should know that the answer is probably going to be no!
One problem with aspirin, and similar drugs, is that they can have quite severe and even life-threatening side effects, even when taken in small doses. In particular, it is well know that aspirin can cause gastrointestinal bleeding. Where aspirin is taken on a regular basis and over an extended period it should only be taken on the advice of your doctor and will normally only be prescribed for cardiovascular problems where the doctor feels that the benefits of taking aspirin outweigh the risks from gastrointestinal bleeding.
But it's not all bad news. As an enlarged prostate often causes problems only late in life many men with an enlarged prostate also have other medical conditions, including heart disease. In these cases where doctors are considering treatment for a heart condition prescribing aspirin may now also help with the problem of an enlarged prostate.
In addition, the simple fact that a link has now been made between aspirin and the prostate gland means that further studies and research may well result in the development of a drug which is specific to the condition, but which does not carry the side effects of the humble aspirin.
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