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Men's Health Issues: Herbal Therapy & the Male Reproductive System
 
 
Prostate diseases generally fall into three categories: infectious, malignant, and hypertrophy. The first two categories are dealt with under the chapter on Immunity. This discussion will focus on benign prostatic hypertrophy.

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy

Benign adenomatous hyperplasia of the periurethral prostrate gland commonly seen in men over age 50, causing variable degrees of bladder outlet obstruction.

The prostate gland is present in all men from birth, and assumes importance when fertility is achieved. It produces the fluid which accompanies the sperm during ejaculation. Located deep within the pelvis, it sits on top of the urethra, the tube connection the penis to the bladder. As it achieves adult size, the prostate wraps itself around the urethra, into which its secretions empty. The gland is normally about the size of a chestnut, but because of its location, if it becomes inflamed or enlarged, it may exert pressure on the urethra, or block the outlet to the bladder, so obstructing the flow of urine. This can cause interrupted or difficult urination (dribbling incontinence), urgent or frequent urination, especially at night. There may also be dysuria. Urine trapped in the bladder may become infected and cause cystitis, and backward pressure can lead to kidney infection.

Congestion and overgrowth of the prostate gland is virtually universal in men over the age of 60. Why this happens is not understood, but theories suggest hormonal responses of glandular cells as androgen and other hormone levels vary with age. This does not cause problems for many older men, although the others who are not so lucky take little consolation in that fact!

As the swelling progresses, flow through the urethra decreases, and the bladder grows thicker and stronger to compensate for the increased resistance it has to overcome. Eventually, the bladder is no longer able to overcome such forces completely, and emptying becomes incomplete; urine thus stagnates in the bladder. If the obstruction becomes severe, pressure backs up to the kidneys causing damage. When the bladder is unable to empty itself of all its contents, the occasional bacteria present in the urinary tract are able to multiply, and urinary infection occurs. This in turn can worsen the swelling already present in the prostate.

The earliest symptoms are usually urinary hesitancy, weakening of the urinary stream and incomplete emptying with urination. Dribbling of urine may occur. If infection sets in, burning, blood, and fever may occur. In the severest cases total inability to urinate occurs, sometimes with massive enlargement of the bladder.

A small number of enlarged or inflamed prostates may be cancerous. This fact underlies the need for a proper medical investigation.

One possible prescription for Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy: Internal medications

Serenoa serrulata 2 parts
Hydrangea 2 parts
Smilax 1 part
Turnera diffusa 1 part
Zea mays 1 part
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 1 part to 5 ml of tincture taken three times a day

One possible prescription for Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy: Strong infusion for Sitz Bath
Equisetum arvense
Agropyron repens
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Equal parts of dried herb
Use 2 oz of the mixture to each 1 pt of water.

Broader Context of Treatment:
If the symptoms are not markedly impairing the patient's life-style, and if recurrent, serious, or resistant infections or kidney damage are not present conservative therapy may be adequate for long periods of time. This consists of:
  • treat any infection
  • occasional massage of the gland through a rectal exam to relieve excessive congestion
  • frequent ejaculations on the patient's part for the same purpose.
  • avoid drugs which reduce bladder tone. These include antidepressants, certain tranquilizers and antihistamines.
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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
 
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