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By age 60, more than half of all men suffer from an enlarged prostate—the walnut-sized gland that surrounds the urethra just outside the opening to the bladder. One of the most common symptoms of an enlarged prostate is difficulty urinating.

Flomax is Yamanouchi Pharmaceuticals’ version of the drug tamsulosin—which is the most common treatment for enlarged prostate. The drug interacts with the nerve receptors in the muscles in and around the prostate, causing them to relax and allow more urine flow. It is also used to help patients pass severe kidney stones.

One of the main risk factors with Flomax is a function of its ingredients. Patients with an allergy to sulfa drugs can’t take it—and can have an extremely dangerous reaction. It can also cause less serious side effects like dizziness, headache and nasal congestion.

Digital rectal exams are a common component of annual medical exams for men older than 45, and are an effective way to diagnose an enlarged prostate. Doctors recommend men in higher risk groups—African Americans, patients with direct relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65—consider screening with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The PSA can signal a patient’s increased likelihood of prostate cancer, allowing for earlier treatment if necessary.

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