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 Naturopathic Medicine: Prostate Problems 
Prostate problems are very common in men in the U.S. and generally present in one of three forms. These are separate conditions called "Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy," "Prostatitis," and "Prostate Cancer." The conditions are listed here in order of increasing danger to the patient. The first condition, abbreviated BPH, generally comes on after about age 40, whereas prostate cancer is rare in younger men. However, almost all men who live to a ripe old age will have some degree of prostate cancer, detectable by autopsy. Men will quite often have no significant symptoms from either of these conditions, but it is very important to rule out cancer, which could spread to the bone and other vital organs. Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland, usually due to an infection, and should be treated so as to restore vitality to the sufferer. This brochure will introduce you to a variety of alternative medical approaches to treating these three problems. The types of treatment include physical medicine, botanical medicine, nutritional suggestions, acupuncture, homeopathy, color and gem therapy and psychospiritual methods. These suggestions are not intended to replace a visit to your holistic MD, naturopathic physician, acupuncturist, herbalist, or other licensed health care practitioner versed in alternative modalities. This brochure is intended to provide you with sound information in order to make an informed decision about how to treat your body, mind and spirit to achieve optimal health.

First, Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, or BPH. This condition is defined as a benign adenomatous hyperplasia of the paraurethral prostate gland typically seen in aging men and often responsible for various degrees of urinary obstruction. This means the condition is not malignant - it won't invade other tissues - but is becoming larger than normal. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, which descends from the bladder through the penis, and can block the flow of urine when enlarged. Apparently, BPH is an almost universal phenomenon in men as they age, beginning at around 45 years old and continuing until, by age 70, 90% of men have an enlarged prostate. Due to this enlargement BPH is the leading cause of urinary outflow obstruction in men. Some researchers have suggested that BPH typically indicates low levels of male hormones. The primary signs and symptoms are generally urinary obstruction, which does not correlate well to amount of enlargement of the prostate. With a gradual progresion, telltales signs usually include:
  • Urinary frequency.
  • Urinary urgency.
  • Nocturia (needing to get up at night to urinate).
  • Hesitancy with decreased force of stream.
  • Terminal dribbling (the final phase of urination as slow drips).
  • Sensation of incomplete emptying.
  • Overflow incontinence or total retention.
  • Burning on urination, chills and fever indicate infection has set in.
  • Possibly palpable distended bladder.
  • Enlarged, rubbery prostate on rectal exam often with loss of median sulcus. The median sulcus is a vertical groove in the heart-shaped gland which tells the examining doctor that the gland is NOT enlarged or swollen.
Conventional treatment includes surgical removal of all or part of the prostate. Most patients improve significantly after treatment but may be rendered impotent. Surgery is not to be taken lightly

Important questions to ask your doctor include the "rule-outs" which means you want to be sure that the diagnosis is definite and correct. Possible problems that could mimic BPH are:
  • Neurogenic bladder.
  • Acute prostatitis.
  • Chronic prostatitis.
  • Carcinoma.
  • Other obstructive pathology.
Now, onto the information about what you can do about this diagnosis. First, remember, men do not die from this condition unless it co-exists with prostate cancer. The first area of non-surgical, non-drug treatment suggestion is "Physical Medicine" which means what you can do with exercise, water, and manipulation such as massage. Any alternative practitioner worth their salt will tell you that the first order of business is prevention. But, since you already have the problem there are a few exercises that can improve circulation to the general area as well as tone the bladder. The first is a set of movements commonly called "Kegel" exercises which involves pulling up rhythmically on the pelvic floor (all the muscles around the scrotum and the anus) with the lower abdominal muscles as you exhale, and keep pulling up on the squeeze until you need to take a breath. Repeat 10 times, 5 or 6 times daily. This can be done very discretely -- nobody needs to know you're doing this exercise. It's perfect for commuting, or while you're sitting around waiting for someone or something, or in the shower. The other set of exercises are too complex to explain here. They involve an ancient Chinese energy moving technique called "Qi Gong," widely practised in China and around the world for all sorts of complaints, as well as for prevention. So, back to prevention. Aerobic exercise, a minimum of 3 times weekly for 20 minutes at your target heart rate, will do wonders for not only the prostate gland, but for your heart, lungs, bones and mental well-being.

Another aspect of physical medicine is the use of hot and/or cold water to treat a complaint. Some hydrotherapy methods that have worked well for BPH are hot foot baths, which can stimulate the returning circulation from the legs as the blood comes back up to the heart, and alternating sitz baths. This is a marvelous naturopathic technique for all sorts of pelvic complaints. The idea is basically to sit in a warm tub for 3 minutes or so, then get out and transfer your backside immediately to a basin (large enough to accomodate said backside, up to the hips) filled with COLD water. No kidding; this means chilled water with a tray of ice cubes dumped in. Stay in there about 1 minute, then back to the warm for 3 minutes, then back to the cold, and so on back and forth at least 3 times. The warm water relaxes the blood flow and the cold contracts it, thereby enhancing vigorous circulatory flow to the pelvis. Envigorating and highly effective. Also, inexpensive and you probably have all the tools you need at home right now. A big basin, a bathtub, hot and cold running water and a freezer with ice cubes in it. That's it.

It may be useful to treat the spine at the levels where the nerves serving the pelvic area emerge. This is called Spondylotherapy and might consist of using percussion (gentle tapping) or a sine wave current over the spinal levels T12 or L1, L2, L3. Scoliosis or other spinal misalignments can sometimes exaggerate protate problems. Make sure your vertebrae are all lined up.

Some people have greatly benefitted from gentle prostatic massage weekly. Some men are actually able to perform this themselves, but the less limber may request the therapist to instruct your spouse in the technique. It feels good!

If you know a doctor or licensed therapist with physical medicine equipment, ultrasound over the perineum or diathermy over the lower abdomen may help.

A critical area of health care which is finally getting deserved recognition is the whole field of nutrition. It's true that you are, indeed, made out of what you eat. Think about it. The following list of supplements are provided because it may be difficult to get these nutrients through "regular" eating:
  • Zinc 60 mg daily for one month, then the dose might be reduced. This is the MOST important nutrition to heal the prostate gland.
  • Copper
  • flax oil 2 Tbsp q.d.
  • glycine 200 mg q.d.
  • glutamic acid 200 mg q.d.
  • alanine 200 mg q.d. (Dumrau, 1962)
  • Selenium 100 mcg q.d. (Webber, 1985)
  • Vitamin E 800-1200 I.U. q.d.
  • prostate protomorphogens (glandular material from other mammals, usually cow or pig)
To begin you self-help program from "regular" food, the following eating principles should be considered:
  • vegan diet
  • low sugar, low fat diet of unsaturated fats
  • calorie percentages: 70% complex carbohydrates, protein 12-15%, fat 15-18%
  • low cholesterol (another brochure is available on this topic)
  • low Sodium/Sodium-restricted diet
  • vegetarian cleansing diet or short fasts
Specific therapeutic foods to consider are:
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids: vegetable, nut, seed oils, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, walnuts, flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, black currant oil; at least 1 tablespoon (RAW, cold-pressed, not used to cook!) daily

  • estrogenic foods: animal products, apples, cherries, olives, plums, carrots, yams, nightshade family, peanuts, soy products, coconut, brown rice, barley, oats, wheat

  • foods rich in Zinc and Vitamin E: squash seeds, almonds, sesame seeds, tahini, kelp

  • raw pumpkin seeds: 25 seeds four times daily

  • anise, tangerine, cherries, figs, litchi, sunflower seeds, mangos, seaweeds

  • high fiber foods
For folks willing to make fresh juices:
  • carrot
  • carrot and spinach
  • carrot, beet, and cucumber
  • carrot, asparagus, and lettuce
  • lemon juice in warm water
Of course there's the what you SHOULDN'T eat category...Please strongly consider avoiding:
  • coffee, alcohol, saturated fats, strong spices, spicy food, dairy products, fatty foods, fried foods, coffee, caffeine

And to finish the food section, it's very important to avoid constipation in prostate problems. Remember, the idea here is to keep things flowing and moving.

Homeopathy is a 250-yr. old system of medicine which developed initially in Europe in which tiny amounts of plant, mineral and animal substances are given to "stimulate" the natural healing power within us all. Substances that would, in very large doses, create the symptoms exhibited by the patient, for example urinary retention, are considered as potential "remedies" in the tiny dose. This is a guiding principle of homeopathic medicine, and can be summarized "Like Cures Like." Make sure to consult with a board-certified (DHANP) homeopath. The following remedies will certainly be among those considered. The remedy chosen for you will ideally fit your entire symptom picture, including how you are when totally healthy. Each medical problem in homeopathy is treated individually, because what's being cured is not the "problem," but YOU. Here's a sample list:
  • Apis mellifica: prostatic inflammation; discharge of prostatic fluid; sexual desire increased or diminished; frequent and long-lasting erections

  • Argenticum metallicum: chronic enlargement in old men

  • Argenticum nitricum: chronic enlargement in old men; burning in spot in anterior of rectum

  • Baryta carbonicum: enlargement in old age

  • Cannabis indica: sensation in anal region as if sitting on a ball

  • Chimaphilia: tenesmus, frequent urination and general discomfort

  • Conium maculatum: chronic hypertrophy with difficulty in voiding urine, stops and starts; leading remedy

  • Ferrum picricum: one of the best remedies in the aged

  • Lycopodium: pressure in the perineum near the anus while urinating

  • Pulsatilla: inflammation; excessive increase of sexual passion, almost like priapism, with frequent and prolonged erections, ardent desire for coition

  • Sabal serrulata: chronic/acute enlargement with difficult urination or burning while urinating

  • Solidago: chronic enlargement; obstructed flow of urine

  • Staphisagria: frequent urging to urinate with scanty discharge in a thin stream or by drops; burning during and after urination with urging

  • Sulphur: escape of prostatic fluid, chiefly when urinating and while at stool

  • Thuja occidentalis: frequent pressing to urinate with small discharge, patient strains much; stitches from rectum into the bladder; discharge of prostatic fluid in am on waking
Another extensively researched area of healthcare which provides benefits without drugs, radiation or surgery is the vast field of botanical medicine. This ancient healing art most likely began by observing animals in the wild treating themselves for wounds, bites, rancid food and the like. Botanical medicine is the therapeutic use of medicinal plants in a variety of forms (tea, decoction, tincture, poultice, cream, salve, ear drops, etc.) to restore the body and mind to full health. The following list of medicinal plants (sometimes called "herbs" -- the word drug comes from an old Flemish word, "droog," which means dried plant) are useful for BPH. Please don't use them without consulting a well-educated herbalist or naturopathic physician. It is extremely rare for even the most open-minded of medical doctors to have adequate training to dispense medicinal herbs.
  • Agropyron repens (Triticum repens)
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 Comments Add your comment 
betterlatethannever wrote
   6/18/2014 1:08:00 PM    (report abuse)
..but are you just realy trying to sell homeo products mostly ot truly help?
 About The Author
Emily Kane NDA graduate of Bastyr University in Seattle, she completed both the Naturopathic and Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine programs. Her preceptor work (similar to residencies) took place in Seattle, West Virginia and China,......more
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