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Medications Can Cause Urological Side Effects. What To Know

January 23, 2023

Any time you take a medication, side effects are possible. But you don’t have to deal with them in silence.

Side effects — even for minor health complaints — can be signals or triggers for other, potentially serious urological conditions, including bacterial infections, erectile dysfunction, urinary retention and incontinence.  

Many medications, no matter the condition for which they’re prescribed, can interfere with bladder contractions — including some antidepressant therapies, muscle relaxers, opioid pain relievers and histamines.  

Sometimes Urology Medications Can Trigger Other Related Issues

Some medications used to treat urological problems can trigger additional side effects, including sexual dysfunction or weakening of muscles that control bladder retention. Other drugs can make it difficult for your body to make, store and release urine.

And still others might reveal or intensify symptoms of underlying physical health conditions that you might not have known about.

Medication Side Effects or Something Else?

It’s important to avoid self-diagnosing your symptoms. There are many reasons why you might be running into urinary challenges. Some might be easy to spot. Others might be more complicated.

  • You’re sick and take some cold medicine
  • You’re treating a UTI
  • You’re managing prostate issues
  • You’ve recently had a vasectomy
  • You’re taking new or different medications

Any kind of change to the body’s physiological balance can result in urinary challenges. Of course, these changes can include medications.

Managing Possible Side Effects

When you get a new prescription, read the medication guide that comes with it. This can alert you to known side effects, which could include urology issues.

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist what to expect with any new medication, whether it’s a prescription or an over-the-counter drug or supplement. Could that medicine cause urological issues?
  • Use a notebook or medication app to track your medications as well as any new health complaints when they happen.
  • A careful review of your new and existing medications with your doctor can help identify medication side effects, an underlying medical condition beyond side effects, or something that can be helped with changes to diet, physical activity or other preventative measures.
  • You might be tempted to simply stop a prescribed medication to alleviate possible side effects, changes to your normal urinary routine or sexual dysfunction. Don’t. Always speak with your doctor first.

Talk with Your Doctor

The last thing you should do is put up with possible medication side effects when there’s no need. Always remember, your doctor is there to help you safely manage or eliminate medication side effects or uncomfortable urinary symptoms, but they can’t help if they don’t know what’s happening. All you need to do is start the conversation.

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