Men's Health spacerCONDITIONS
Men's Health

Enlarged Prostate

Enlarged prostate gland - medically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) - is a noncancerous (benign) enlargement. As it grows, the prostate can compress the urethra (the tube that drains urine from bladder) and can cause the muscles around the urethra to contract. Either problem impedes urine flow and causes the bladder to not empty completely when we urinate.

Most men eventually develop some prostate enlargement as they age. Common signs and symptoms include:
  • Weak urine stream
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Stopping and starting again while urinating
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia)
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Not being able to completely empty the bladder
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Urinary tract infection

Risk Factors
Age seems to be the primary risk factor. A family history of BPH slightly increases the chances for the condition.

Alternative Therapies

The most common herbal remedies used in Europe to treat BPH are saw palmetto and pygeum.

Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto is extracted from the ripened berries of the saw palmetto plant (Serenoa repens). It is thought to work similar to the medication finasteride by preventing testosterone from converting to DHT, another form of the hormone associated with prostate tissue growth.

Pygeum is extracted from the bark of the African plum tree (Pygeum africanum). Traditional African healers have used the bark to treat bladder and urination disorders, particularly symptoms associated with BPH. In clinical trials, pygeum has been observed to moderately improve urinary symptoms associated with enlargement of the prostate gland or prostate inflammation. Numerous human studies report that pygeum significantly reduces urinary hesitancy, urinary frequency, the number of times patients need to wake up at night to urinate, and pain with urination in men who experience mild-to-moderate symptoms.

Zinc, an essential mineral, is especially important in maintaining prostate health. Adequate zinc levels are essential for maintaining healthy prostate cells. Particularly high concentrations of zinc are found in the prostate gland and semen. Men need more zinc than women because male semen contains 100 times more zinc than is found in the blood. The more sexually active a man the more zinc he will require.

Good sources for vegetarians include dairy products, beans and lentils, yeast, nuts, seeds and wholegrain cereals. Pumpkin seeds provide one of the most concentrated vegetarian food sources of zinc.

The first signs of zinc deficiency are impairment of taste, a poor immune response and skin problems. Signs of zinc deficiency include growth retardation, hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation and impotence, eye and skin lesions, and loss of appetite.

It is thought that zinc supplementation can help prostate problems, skin conditions such as acne and eczema, and those suffering from trauma or post-surgery.

Daily Performance & Energy

We need good health to continuously perform our daily demanding tasks. A health supplement containing antioxidant nutrients to enhance our immune system, B complex vitamins for essential release of energy, choline & inositol for mental concentration and calcium & magnesium for relaxation of tensed nerves and muscles, could help to improve our daily performance.

Studies have shown that supplementation with coenzyme Q10 could reduce feeling of fatigue and improve physical performance during exercise. Coenzyme Q10 is vital to energy metabolism and is found in the highest concentration in tissues such as heart, brain, liver and kidney.

Source: Ho E & Yan M. Zinc and prostate cancer. Linus Pauling Institute Spring/Summer 2005 Research Report; Office of Dietary Supplements, US National Institutes of Health.

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