It’s no secret that two of the most common health concerns for men are erectile dysfunction and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH; or prostate enlargement). Today, I’m going to focus on benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment.
BPH is annoying at best—since symptoms include night-time urination (nocturia), dribbling, hesitancy and an inability to completely empty the bladder—and may require surgical intervention at worst. Two classes of drugs have been approved for benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment, and conventional physicians often prescribe both for good measure.
Alpha blockers such as Hytrin and Flomax relax muscles in the prostate and bladder neck and thus make urination easier. They work rapidly and are pretty effective, but because they’re also used to treat hypertension, they may cause low blood pressure, dizziness and weakness.
The other class of meds reduces prostate volume by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone that ultimately drives prostate growth. These drugs, which include Proscar (finasteride), must be taken for weeks to months before benefits of the benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment are noted, and they’re associated with decreased libido and erectile dysfunction.
Thankfully, there are several natural therapies for BPH that work as well as drugs and don’t threaten your health and sex life.
Natural Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Treatments
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is nature’s 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. In fact, it was the inspiration for Proscar. It’s also the best-studied natural treatment for enlarged prostate . A meta-analysis of 14 placebo-controlled and three open-label trials involving more than 4,000 men demonstrated that saw palmetto significantly increased urinary flow and reduced nocturia.
Unlike BPH drugs, saw palmetto is well tolerated. And, rather than impairing sexual function, it may actually improve it. In one study, researchers gave older men 320 mg of saw palmetto per day and followed them for two years. In addition to reducing BPH symptoms and enhancing quality of life, the men reported improvements in erectile function. The suggested dose of saw palmetto for younger men (ages 40–50) is 160 mg per day; the full therapeutic dose for older men is 320 mg per day.
Other botanicals with proven benefits for BPH include pygeum (100–200 mg), stinging nettles (300 mg) and pumpkin seeds. Although they’re not backed by the same degree of scientific research as saw palmetto, all are time-honored benign prostatic hyperplasia treatments.
Antioxidants are also important, especially selenium (200–400 mcg) and zinc (30–60 mg), which are particularly active in the prostate.
Go-Less® is a combination of soy isoflavones and pumpkin seed extract that not only targets 5-alpha reductase but also relaxes the bladder muscles. In one six-week study, Go-Less reduced nocturia by 40 percent! Not surprisingly, sleep satisfaction also improved. The recommended daily dose is 600 mg.
Now it’s your turn: Have you used any of these supplements for benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment?
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