Tamsulosin (Flomax) is used to treat men who have symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland, which is also known as benign enlargement of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). It is also used to treat patients with kidney stones caught up in the ureter because it helps relax the smooth muscle of the ureter and pass the stone.
Benign enlargement of the prostate is a problem that can occur in men as they get older. The prostate gland is located below the bladder. As the prostate gland enlarges, certain muscles in the gland may become tight and get in the way of the tube that drains urine from the bladder. This can cause problems in urinating, such as a need to urinate often, a weak stream when urinating, or a feeling of not being able to empty the bladder completely.
Tamsulosin helps relax the muscles in the prostate and the opening of the bladder. This may help increase the flow of urine or decrease the symptoms. However, tamsulosin will not shrink the prostate. The prostate may continue to get larger. This may cause the symptoms to become worse over time. Therefore, even though tamsulosin may lessen the problems caused by enlarged prostate now, surgery still may be needed in the future.