An introduction to what to do if you think you have an enlarged prostate
An enlarged prostate is a common problem as a man becomes older. Symptoms include a need to urinate frequently, difficulty starting and a poor stream. If these symptoms are familiar to you, you may wish to visit our Enlarged Prostate Symptom Check page.
If you think you have an enlarged prostate, get the diagnosis confirmed by a doctor. This will be a simple visit – usually, your doctor can make the diagnosis simply by listening to your story.
But to exclude more serious conditions, he or she may want to do some tests, including an internal examination via your back passage to examine the prostate gland, and blood tests.
Discuss treatment options with your doctor
Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, your doctor will be in a position to discuss treatment options with you. In general, these will include:
- Watchful waiting – for many men with mild symptoms, the option of ‘watching to see how the problem develops' is an acceptable one
- Prescribed medicines – these will belong to one of two classes of drugs known as α-blockers and 5-α-reductase inhibitors. Like all medicines, they have their advantages and disadvantages (including the potential for side effects)
- Surgery – this is usually the option taken if you are not responding to medication or if you experience severe symptoms. Your doctor will refer you to the local hospital for an appointment with an urologist.
Today, an increasing number of doctors will consider the use of licensed herbal remedies containing Saw Palmetto herb in the treatment of an enlarged prostate.
Consider how Saw Palmetto can help
The berries of the Saw Palmetto plant have been used traditionally to treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate. These berries contain specific types of plant oil, including one known as β-sistosterol.
In the UK, the Department of Health has granted registrations (or licences) to a few Saw Palmetto products manufactured to pharmaceutical standards for the treatment of symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Saw Palmetto may be used at the ‘watchful waiting’ stage, either before or after surgery, particularly if symptoms are mild to moderately severe in nature. However, it may not be used if you are already on other types of prostate medication.
Although there is no need for you to speak to your doctor about Saw Palmetto before trying the herb, some men may prefer to do so. To help start an informed discussion, we have produced a Saw Palmetto Healthcare Professional info pack for you to download, print and take with you to your next appointment with the doctor.