Once men get past the age of 30, hormonal changes can encourage the prostate gland to grow. This can squash the urethra, making it increasingly difficult for urine to leave the bladder effectively. There are many ways to treat the resulting symptoms of an enlarged prostate, but here I focus on what natural options are available.
What is the best natural remedy for an enlarged prostate?
Getting down to the science, the reason that the gland starts to enlarge is that, as men age, increasing amounts of testosterone start being metabolised into di-hydrotestosterone (DHT), which is inflammatory. So, all this DHT starts accumulating in the prostate, making the tiny glands in the prostate bigger.
Various treatments are available for an enlarged prostate but these can come with uncomfortable side effects which leave many men seeking an alternative. Fortunately, there are many natural options that can help to ease symptoms of an enlarged prostate. These include:
Here, I take a look at just how these natural remedies can help.
1. Saw Palmetto
This herb has been used by Native Americans for thousands of years to treat an enlarged prostate and now science emphasises just how beneficial it can be.
A clinical trial was carried out in Switzerland with 364 men who had BPH, but who hadn't previously been treated.1 In the trial these men were treated with A.Vogel's Prostasan capsules for 8 weeks and, after only 4 weeks, improvements were noticeable.
Symptoms improved by an average of 35%, regardless of how bad they had been to start with. The mildest symptom group improved by 42%, the medium group by 38% and the severe group by 30%.
Quality of life (due to urinary problems) was also improved, with patients going from "somewhat dissatisfied" with their urinary problems to overwhelmingly "satisfied" after 8 weeks.
How does Saw Palmetto help the prostate?
We now know that the berry of the Saw Palm contains hormone-balancing constituents, which prevent testosterone from changing into the inflammatory type of testosterone – DHT. This means you've still got plenty of testosterone (no worries about impotence or erectile dysfunction) but less of the inflammatory sort that causes your prostate to enlarge.
As a helpful additional action, the Saw Palmetto in Prostasan stops any DHT that is formed from getting into the prostate and causing inflammation there.
The overall effect is less inflammation and, therefore, a normal-sized prostate gland. This encourages an easier, unrestricted urine flow out of the bladder, no urinary tract infections, and no discomfort.
Research has tested the effectiveness of pumpkin seed oil extract in treating symptoms of an enlarged prostate.2
In 2017, 65 men with BPH participated in a pilot study involving five European institutions. After 12 weeks of supplementation with pumpkin seed oil extract, their symptoms (particularly nocturia) and quality of life had both improved.
Why are pumpkin sides good for an enlarged prostate?
Zinc deficiency is thought to increase the chance of developing BPH3, plus it has anti-inflammatory properties that could help ease symptoms that are already present.4 EFAs are also anti-inflammatory, thus encouraging a more normal sized prostate gland.
Research by the University of Harvard found that walking reduced the risk of BPH by 25%.6 It was also concluded that the more physically active men were, the less likely they were to experience urinary tract infections, a key symptom of BPH.
How is exercise good for an enlarged prostate?
Exercise helps to decrease inflammation in the body7, so could improve symptoms this way. It also helps to maintain a healthy body weight which, again, can reduce inflammation.
Being overweight is a risk factor for developing BPH in the first place, so this could give us an indication of why exercise reduces the chances of experiencing the problem.8
Want to see for yourself how exercise can influence your enlarged prostate symptoms? Visit our Get Active Hub for lots of tips and advice on how you can be more active, or follow our simple exercise video below!
4. Green tea
Studies have widely shown that green tea is anti-inflammatory.9 This can reduce the pressure on the urethra and, therefore, improve multiple BPH symptoms.
Green tea is also anti-bacterial and anti-viral, so it helps to protect against any urinary tract infections.
Water helps to dilute urine, meaning it's less likely to irritate the bladder. This may, in turn, reduce the severity of problems like nocturia and frequent urination.
Concentrated urine is also the perfect breeding ground for bacteria so, by upping your intake of water, you may see a reduction in the frequency of these.
How to stay hydrated
Keep a water bottle handy at all times, even when you are out and about.
Cut down on coffee and tea (these also irritate the bladder so will make BPH symptoms worse).
Eat more fruit and vegetables, both of which have a high water content and are very nutritious.
Flavour your water with fruit and herbs to make it a little more appealing!
Results: How do you deal with enlarged prostate symptoms?
It seems that natural remedies are the most popular way to address enlarged prostate symptoms, closely followed by medical treatments. This is hardly surprising given there are many options available in both categories.