Flomax is a prescription medication used to treat an enlarged prostate due to benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, in men. The prostate wraps around the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder out of the body. In BPH, the prostate gland becomes enlarged or inflamed, compressing the urethra. This causes symptoms such as difficult and painful urination and incomplete bladder emptying. Flomax relaxes the muscles in the bladder and prostate gland to improve urine flow. Saw palmetto is an herbal berry extract that is used to treat BPH. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it helps to decrease testosterone levels in the blood to reduce the size of an enlarged prostate. A doctor can determine if these medications can treat your BPH.
Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss your symptoms. Have a physical exam and blood test, as advised by your doctor, to diagnose BPH. Discuss treatment options and get a prescription for Flomax.
Fill the Flomax prescription and carefully read the instructions and guidelines on the label. Take one 0.4-mg Flomax capsule per day to treat symptoms of BPH. Take Flomax approximately half an hour after eating a meal, at the same time every day.
Take saw palmetto supplements that are standardized to contain a fat-soluble extract of 85 to 95 percent fatty acids and sterols in each tablet or capsule. Use the recommended dose for BPH, or 160 mg twice a day. According to a study published in 2007 in the journal "International Nephrology and Urology," saw palmetto supplements can be safely taken concurrently with Flomax or at separate times of the day.
Consult your doctor to discuss your BPH symptoms after two to four weeks of taking Flomax and saw palmetto. If there is no improvement, discuss increasing the Flomax dosage to 0.8 mg per day.
Saw palmetto is also available as a liquid extract and as a tea; however, these forms do not contain the active fatty acid ingredients that are necessary to treat BPH. Capsules and tablets of saw palmetto are the recommended forms.
Side effects of Flomax include digestive upset, sleepiness, back pain and blurred vision; report any unusual effects to your doctor. Like other medicines, herbal remedies can interact with other supplements and medications and trigger adverse side effects. Do not take saw palmetto without consulting your doctor. BPH must be diagnosed by a doctor, who will first rule out other causes of urinary incontinence such as prostate cancer. Do not self-treat prostate problems with saw palmetto.