Prostate enlargement is a common issue for men as they age, and it can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Fortunately, there are natural remedies that can help alleviate these symptoms, reduce the size of the prostate, and improve general health and wellbeing. This article will look at the best natural remedies for an enlarged prostate and how to use them effectively.
What is an Enlarged prostate?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located just below the bladder in men. The gland produces semen, which carries sperm from the testicles through the penis during ejaculation. The prostate also helps to control urine flow from the bladder.
Usually, the prostate is small, but it undergoes two growth phases with age.
First, it doubles in size, which occurs during the teenage years. The growth then resumes in adulthood after the age of 25 years and for the rest of a man’s life.
The primary reason for this continued growth is unknown, but it may be due to hormones or other changes in the body.
While this growth is harmless, excessive overgrowth of prostate cells may result in BPH, or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, a non-cancerous condition that affects the prostate gland.
When the prostate enlarges, it can squeeze or partially block the urethra, making urination difficult and causing urinary symptoms such as:
- A weak stream of urine
- Straining to urinate
- A sense of incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Urgency to urinate
- Leaking or dribbling of urine
Treatment for BPH may include watchful waiting, medications, minimally invasive procedures, or surgery.
Watchful waiting involves monitoring your symptoms and making lifestyle changes to reduce urinary symptoms.
Medications are used to shrink the prostate, while minimally invasive procedures such as transurethral microwave therapy (TUMT) use heat to destroy excess tissue and relieve urinary symptoms.
Surgery can also help cut off excess prostate tissue and improve urine flow.
- BPH does not cause erectile dysfunction or affect sexual function, but some medications used to treat it may
- BPH is not cancerous and does not increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
What causes an enlarged prostate?
The cause of an enlarged prostate is not fully understood, but it is thought to be due to a combination of factors, including aging, hormones, and genetics.
Age: The incidence of an enlarged prostate increases with age. It is estimated that 50% of men over the age of 50 have an enlarged prostate.
Hormones: Testosterone, the male sex hormone, can stimulate the growth of the prostate gland. A balance between testosterone and another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is necessary for normal prostate function. DHT is produced by the action of enzymes on testosterone. An increase in DHT levels can lead to an enlargement of the prostate gland.
Genetics: A family history of an enlarged prostate increases your risk of developing the condition.
Obesity: Men who are obese have an increased risk of developing an enlarged prostate. In fact, one study found that obesity is a greater risk for both BPH and prostate cancer.
Natural Remedies for Enlarged Prostate
If you have an enlarged prostate, there are a number of natural remedies that can help. Here are some of the most effective:
1. Saw palmetto
Saw palmetto is a small, palm-like tree that is native to the southeastern United States.
The fruit of the saw palmetto tree has been used for centuries by Native Americans for its medicinal properties. Its berries are rich in nutrients and phytochemicals, making them a popular natural remedy for a variety of health conditions.
They are most commonly used to treat urinary problems, such as urinary tract infections and enlarged prostate, due to their anti-inflammatory properties. They also contain compounds that can block the action of testosterone, which can help to shrink an enlarged prostate.
Some studies have shown that saw palmetto can be effective in reducing BPH symptoms, such as urinary frequency and urgency, hesitancy, weak stream, and dribbling.
However, saw palmetto is not effective for all men with BPH and should not be used in place of conventional medical treatment.
Saw palmetto is most commonly taken in capsule form, but it can also be taken as a liquid extract or tincture. The recommended dosage of saw palmetto varies depending on the condition and nature of the supplement, but it is typically between 160-320mg per day.
Besides improving prostate health, saw palmetto is sometimes used to treat hair loss, acne, and other skin conditions.
2. Pygeum africanum
Pygeum africanum, also known as African cherry, is a tree native to Africa whose bark has traditionally been used to treat various ailments such as urinary tract infections, sexual dysfunction, and inflammation.
Modern research also shows that African cherry bark extract can effectively reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
In one study, men with BPH who took pygeum africanum for 12 weeks experienced a significant reduction in urinary frequency and nocturia (nighttime urination) which are common symptoms of BPH.
Another study found that Pygeum africanum extract was more than twice likely to improve urinary symptoms in those that took it compared to a placebo.
Additionally, pygeum africanum may help to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.
3. Stinging nettle
Stinging nettle is another effective herbal remedy for prostate enlargement.
Its root is rich in phytochemicals like phytosterols, lignans, and polysaccharides that have been shown to be effective in treating BPH. The herb also helps reduce inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland.
In one study, the participants who took stinging nettle root extract saw a significant reduction in their symptoms, including urinary frequency, urgency, and nighttime urination.
Although more human research is needed, these findings show that stinging nettle can help provide some relief.
If you are considering stinging nettle for your prostate health, be sure to talk to your doctor first. Stinging nettle may interact with certain medications, and it should not be taken by people with bleeding disorders or those taking blood-thinning medications.
4. Red clover
Red clover is an annual herb that has been used medicinally for centuries. The dried flower heads and leaves of the plant are used to make tea, capsules, tinctures, and extracts.
Red clover contains isoflavones which are thought to act as an estrogen agonist, which means it binds to estrogen receptors in the body and produces effects similar to those of the hormone estrogen.
This property may explain why red clover is traditionally used to treat conditions like hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
The estrogen-binding effects of red clove modulate hormone activity, which helps reduce inflammation and cell proliferation. This can cause shrinkage in the size of an enlarged prostate.
In one study, men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) who took a daily supplement of red clover for 12 weeks had a significant decrease in both their urinary symptoms and prostate size.
Additionally, red clover extract has been shown to reduce levels of PSA, a marker for prostate cancer risk.
Red clover is generally safe for consumption, though some people may experience gastrointestinal upset or skin irritation from contact with the plant.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not consume red clover due to its estrogenic activity.
Additionally, Men with BPH should speak with their doctor before taking red clover supplements, as it may interact with medications used to treat BPH.
5. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are an effective natural remedy for prostate enlargement. They are rich in nutrients like zinc and magnesium, which are known to benefit the prostate.
Pumpkin seeds also contain phytosterols, which have been shown to reduce prostate size.
In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help to protect the prostate from damage.
You can eat them whole, roasted, or as an extract in capsules, but the tincture form has been shown to be more effective.
A Beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol that is structurally similar to cholesterol. It can be found in many plants, including soybeans, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds. This supplement is usually obtained from various Beta-sitosterol-containing plants. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of conditions.
More recently, beta-sitosterol has been shown to be effective in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia.
It works by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT is a hormone that plays a role in the development of BPH. By inhibiting the activity of 5-alpha reductase, beta-sitosterol decreases the amount of DHT produced and helps to relieve the symptoms of BPH.
There are a number of over-the-counter products available that contain beta-sitosterol. These products typically come in the form of capsules or tablets taken once or twice daily depending on the manufacturer.
7. Rye grass pollen extract
Rye grass pollen extract is a natural product made from rye grass pollen. It has been used for centuries in folk medicine and is said to have a wide range of health benefits.
Rye grass pollen extract is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients that are essential for good health.
It is also a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to improve symptoms of enlarged prostate.
In a recent study, men with BPH who took rye grass pollen extract for 16 weeks had significant improvements in urinary symptoms and quality of life compared to those who did not take the supplement.
Rye grass pollen extract works by reducing inflammation and swelling in the prostate gland. It also helps break down and flush out excess testosterone, which can aggravate BPH symptoms.
This natural supplement is safe and effective, and may be a helpful addition to your treatment plan if you have BPH.
Just remember to follow instructions for use on the packaging and consult your doctor if you are already on BPH medication.
Cranberry has long been used as a natural remedy for urinary tract infections.
It works by preventing the adherence of bacteria to the walls of the urinary tract. This action helps to reduce inflammation and prevents the growth of bacteria.
Studies have also shown that cranberry can improve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
In a study of men with BPH, those who took cranberry extract twice daily significantly reduced urinary frequency, urgency, and nocturia (waking up at night to urinate). They also had a decrease in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.
Cranberry has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These effects may reduce the size of the prostate and improve urinary symptoms.
Cranberry also contains compounds that can help relax the smooth muscle tissue in the prostate gland, which can improve urinary flow.
Foods that can help
- Phytoestrogen-rich foods like chickpeas, soy, and fava beans
- Foods rich in zinc, like nuts, chickpeas, lentils, oatmeal, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds
- Fiber-rich foods like beans and other legumes, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains
- Antioxidant-rich foods like colored fruits and vegetables
Foods to Avoid
- Nicotine Red meat
- Starchy and refined foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Carbonated drinks
Additional Tips for Managing BPH
- Avoid drinking fluids 2 hours before bedtime. Doing this can prevent having to wake up at night to use the bathroom.
- Double voiding: This technique can help you empty your bladder more completely. To do this, urinate as usual, then wait a few seconds and try to urinate again. This may take a little practice, but it can be helpful in reducing urinary frequency and urgency. It can also help you avoid having to wake up at night to urinate.
- Maintain a moderate weight
- Exercise regularly
- Following urination with a urethral massage
- Massage the urethra after urinating to remove any remaining urine that may cause leaks. To do this, gently press your fingers upward from the base of the scrotum.
- Avoid drugs containing human growth hormone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenedione, and testosterone.
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If you’re struggling with an enlarged prostate, know that you’re not alone—it’s a very common issue among men over the age of 50. And while medical treatments are available, natural remedies have also been shown to improve symptoms.
There are a number of natural remedies that can help with an enlarged prostate. Saw palmetto is one of the most well-known and commonly used supplements for this purpose. It’s thought to work by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which is a hormone that plays a role in the enlargement of the prostate. Other natural remedies include pumpkin seed, stinging nettle, and pygeum.
If you’re considering trying any of these natural remedies, it’s important to talk to your doctor first to make sure they’re safe for you and won’t interact with any medications you may be taking.
Once you have the green light from your doctor, start with small doses and increase gradually as needed.
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