Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)-related lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and erectile dysfunction commonly coexist, and both respond to phosphodiesterase (PDE) 5 inhibitors, suggesting a shared pathophysiological mechanism. We propose that both BPH-LUTS and erectile dysfunction are caused by microvascular dysfunction within the pelvic organs, and we present an overview of preclinical and clinical studies supporting the hypothesis that, within both the penis and the lower urinary tract, a combination of endothelial and neural dysfunction leads to a vicious cycle of hypoxia, vasoconstriction, altered smooth muscle contractility, and degeneration of autonomic neurons and ganglia. This hypothesis explains much of the preclinical and clinical research relating to these two conditions, and provides a rationale for further investigation into the effects of PDE5 inhibitors on the pathophysiology and symptoms of BPH-LUTS.
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms
- Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors
- Prostatic Hyperplasia
- Vascular Diseases