The US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases state that the most common form of prostate problems for men over the age of 50 is prostate enlargement “benign prostatic hyperplasia” (BHP). When the prostate is enlarged, the layer of tissue surrounding it stops it from expanding causing the gland to press against the urethra, like a clamp in a garden hose, the bladder wall then becomes thicker and irritated, the bladder then begins to contract even when it contains only small amounts of urine, causing more frequent urination. Over time the bladder weakens and loses the ability to empty itself and urine remains in the bladder. The narrowing of the urethra and partial emptying of the bladder cause many of the problems associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia
SOME OF THE SYMPTOMS OF BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERPLASIA (BHP)
Symptoms relating to obstructive prostate (voiding symptoms)
- Dribbling after urination
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Weak or slow urine stream
- Straining to start urinating
- Straining to urinate
Symptoms 0f Irritative prostate (storage symptoms)
- Urgent need to urinate
- Frequent need to urinate
- Urge incontinence
- Increased frequency of urination at night
These conditions appear to be caused by an accumulation of the male sex hormone, testosterone in the prostate. When the prostate accumulates too much testosterone it is converted into a more potent compound called dihydrotestosterone. This is the compound that causes the cells in the prostate to multiply excessively causing the prostate to enlarge.
It is extremely important that all men over 50 have their prostate checked periodically by your doctor.
SOME NATURAL TREATMENTS FOR ENLARGED PROSTATE
(Natural treatments should not replace your doctors advice or prescribed medication, if you have any of the symptoms above see your doctor).
Saw Palmetto: One of the most researched herbal remedies for benign prostate hyperplasia a three-year preliminary stuy in Germany found that 160mg of saw palmetto extract taken twice daily reduced nigh time urination in 73% of patients and improved urinary flow rates significantly. In double-blind trial at various sites in Europe, 160mg of saw palmetto extract taken twice per day treated BPH as effectively as finasteride without side effects, such as loss of libido. More recent studies have shown that to achieve the optimal benefits with saw palmetto, it is necessary that fat-soluble saw palmetto extracts are standardized to contain 855 to 95% fatty acids. Most of the older preparations in the market are using the crude extract of saw palmetto berries, the quality and potency of the powder may not be consistent.
Tomato: Lycopene contains phytosterols that give tomatoes their bright red colour. Lycopne is held in high regard by researchers for its high antioxidant properties. Studies have shown tht high levels of lycopene consumption have been associated with long term protection of prostate health.
Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seed extract contain phytosterols, curcubitin and selenium. The extract inhibits 5-alpha-reductase, preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Pumpkin seeds also have an inhibitory effect on aromatase preventing androgens like testosterone from converting to oestrogen.
Hydrotherapy: Sitz bath
A Sitz bath is a common form of hydrotherapy that may be used to relieve BPH symptoms. A Sitz bath helps relax the smooth muscle in the prostate, easing the constriction of the urethra and bladder neck and increasing blood circulation to the pelvic region.
This procedure costs you almost nothing, takes 20 minutes, and can yield positive results in a matter of a few days.
What you’ll need:
1. Two Sitz baths – an inexpensive plastic basin that fits into the bowl of your toilet and overflows from the basin into the toilet bowl.
2. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) – available at most pharmacies.
3. A thermometer that can be immersed in water.
4. A watch or clock with a second hand.
The purpose of the Sitz bath is to apply alternate temperature changes to the prostate. The process of heating and cooling, combined with the effects of the Epsom salts, can effectively drain the acini (small ducts) of the enlarged prostate.
1. Begin by filling one Sitz bath with hot water. Try to use water that is at least 105 degrees F, but no more than 120 degrees F. Mix two to three tablespoons of Epsom salts into the hot water.
2. Fill the second Sitz bath with cold tap water or slightly iced water.
3. Begin by placing the hot Sitz bath inside the toilet bowl and sitting in the hot water. Lean forward, spread the legs and buttocks slightly so all the water covers the prostate area, rising above the base of your penis. Keep moving the hot water against the skin by rocking back and forth gently. Add hot water as needed to maintain water temperature. Sit in this bath for six minutes.
4. Trade the hot bath for the cold one by exchanging Sitz baths in the toilet. Sit for one minute in the cold bath, then repeat the cycle of hot and cold baths three times. Add more hot water to the hot bath if the temperature drops too low.
BENEFITS OF USING HERBAL EXTRACTS FOR PROSTATE HEALTH
- Increases urinary flow rate
- Decreases night-time urinary urgency and frequency
- Reduces prostate size
- Decreases day-time urinary urgency
- Encourages hormonal balance
- Reduces urinary retention and residual urine
Other herbal products that can help in maintaining Prostate health:
- Sitz bath – helps relax the smooth muscle in the prostate, easing the constriction of the urethra and bladder neck and increases blood circulation to the pelvic region.
- Pygeum – A popular herb for helping with symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Pygeum extracts contain phytosterols which can inhibit prostaglandins synthesis, thereby reducing the high levels of prostagandin normally found in benign prostate hyperplasia
- Stinging Nettle – Stinging nettle has a strong affinity for SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), thereby limiting the amount of testosterone and oestrogen than can bind to it and influence cell proliferation.
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