If you are a male between 40 and 59 years of age, there is a 50 to 60 percent chance that you have benign enlargement of the prostate gland. This condition, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), begins in many men in their fourth decade. Distressing symptoms usually begin after age 50 years.l The cause, which has yet to be discovered, may be related to hormonal changes in middle-aged and elderly men.
Problems with urine flow are the major symptoms of BPH. The symptoms occur when the enlarged prostate gland impinges on the outlet of the bladder and the urethra (the tube carrying urine from the bladder). Listed here are common signs and symptoms of BPH:
Hesitancy to urinate
Straining to urinate
Decreased force and caliber of urinary stream
Prolonged dribbling after urination
Sensation of incomplete bladder emptying
Increased frequency of urination
Nocturia-frequent urination at night
In addition to these symptoms, complications may arise, including
bladder infections, involuntary urination, and bleeding in the urinary tract
Accurate medical diagnosis is critical in order to rule out prostate cancer.
Saw palmetto (lipophilic extract of saw palmetto berries)~20 milligrams daily, taken all at once or in two separate doses
Actions: Reduces the size of the prostate by inhibiting 5-a-reductase formation of dihydrotestosterone. Also has antiinflammatory properties. This should be your first choice for long-term treatment of BPH
Get to Know Your Prostate!
Problems related to the prostate account for billions
of health care dollars annually. Yet many of you males
out there don't know much about the location or workings
of the prostate! The March 26, 1995 London Times reports
the results of a survey that asked men about their
prostate glands. The survey found that 89 percent
of men did not know where the prostate gland is located.
Sixty-two percent of respondents mistook it for the bladder.
Only one-half of the men responding knew that only
men could suffer from prostate problems. Finally,
women were slightly better informed-only 41 percent
failed to identify the prostate correctly!
The prostate, which is the size of a walnut or chestnut
(they actually say that in medical texts!), lies below
the bladder and is wrapped around the urethra-the tube
that carries urine away from the bladder. In conjunction
with the Cowper's glands, the prostate produces seminal
fluid, which is needed for sperm to survive.
Nettle root extract-120 milligrams twice daily
Actions: Antiinflammatory and decongestant (antiedema) properties.2 European extracts are often used in combination with saw palmetto.
Pygeum (lipophilic extract of the bark)~O to 100 milligrams
Actions: Antiinflammatory and decongestant (antiedema) properties3 Note: These herbal prescriptions can also be considered for the treatment of chronic, nonbacterial inflammation of the prostate (also known as chronic prostatitis).
Nutritional Supplement Considerations
These are primarily for prevention of both BPH and prostate cancer:
Zinc (monomethionine or citrate)~30 milligrams daily
Selenium-100 to 200 micrograms daily
Again, the intent here is prevention of both BPH and prostate cancer. Keep your intake of saturated fats low. This includes red meat, milk, and fried oils. Include more polyunsaturated fats by eating vegetables and fish, and use olive oil for cooking. A vegetarian diet has been shown to reduce the amount of circulating hormones in the body-this also reduces the risk of BPH as well as prostate cancer.4,5 A vegetarian diet also adds dietary fiber and antioxidant nutrients. Soy products should be a staple of your vegetarian strategy against BPH and prostate cancer.6