| ||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:
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
- 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.
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:
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.
- Neurogenic bladder.
- Acute prostatitis.
- Chronic prostatitis.
- Other obstructive pathology.
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.
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
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"
To begin you self-help program from "regular" food, the following
eating principles should be considered:
- Zinc 60 mg daily for one month, then the dose might be reduced. This is the MOST important nutrition to heal the prostate gland.
- 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)
Specific therapeutic foods to consider are:
- 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
For folks willing to make fresh juices:
- 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
- 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,
- raw pumpkin seeds: 25 seeds four times daily
- anise, tangerine, cherries, figs, litchi, sunflower seeds, mangos,
- high fiber foods
Of course there's the what you SHOULDN'T eat category...Please strongly consider avoiding:
- carrot and spinach
- carrot, beet, and cucumber
- carrot, asparagus, and lettuce
- lemon juice in warm water
- 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
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:
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Agropyron repens (Triticum repens)