What is BPH?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a noncancerous condition. It causes the prostate gland to become enlarged and can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms. BPH is one of the most common prostate diseases affecting men. In fact, BPH affects up to 50% of men by the age of 60 and up to 90% of men older than 80.
Learn The Signs And Symptoms Of BPH
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is located just below the bladder, in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). An enlarged prostate restricts the flow of urine and creates pressure on the surrounding tissues. This can be uncomfortable and can lead to the following symptoms of BPH:
- A need to urinate often and urgently
- Waking to urinate at night
- Difficulty starting urination
- A urine stream that is weak or stops and starts
- Not being able to completely empty the bladder
In some cases, BPH can also lead to:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Not being able to pass urine
- Blood in the urine
BPH affects everyone differently. For some, the symptoms are more severe; for others more moderate. Regardless of how you experience BPH, without treatment and management of your symptoms, they will likely become worse over time.
What Causes BPH?
The prostate continues to grow throughout a man’s life. Usually, with no significant effect on his health and wellness. In some cases, the growth of the gland is enough to cause discomfort and problems with normal urination. But why does this happen in some men and not others?
Here are some contributing factors to BPH in men:
- Genetics: If you have a family member who had/has prostate problems, you are more likely to develop them yourself.
- Weight and BMI: Men who carry extra weight are at a higher risk of developing BPH than those at a lower, more optimal weight.
- Diabetes and heart disease: Men with either (or both) of these conditions are more likely to experience prostate problems like BPH.
A link between hormones and BPH has also been established.
The Connection Between Hormones and BPH
Male sex hormones (androgens)– specifically testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT)– affect the growth of the prostate gland. When levels are too high, growth can speed up and that extra growth could lead to problems like BPH.
But, most men experience BPH as they age. This is the same period of life when androgens naturally start to decline. This has led researchers to look at the role of other hormones and their connection to prostate health. Specifically, estradiol—a type of estrogen.
“When circulating estradiol levels are too high in men, especially in relation to the testosterone levels, this could potentially contribute to growth of the prostate gland. This relative estrogen dominance could potentially explain the increasing prevalence of BPH in the elderly when testosterone levels drop.”
— “Men’s Health Spotlight: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia” by Dr. Nicole Hartman
While the cause of BPH is still unclear, men looking for natural ways to treat and manage their prostate health have options.
Treating BPH With Naturopathic Medicine
Conventional medicine (the kind of treatment you would receive from your family MD, for example) usually treats BPH with prescription medications. Some examples are alpha-blockers and enzyme inhibitors. The goal of these prescriptions is to slow or stop the growth of the prostate. These can be effective but, as is the case with many pharmaceutical medications, there can be short and long-term side effects to consider.
If you are looking for a natural treatment for BPH, a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) like Dr. Richa Grover can help.
Natural Treatment Options: Herbs, IV Therapy and Acupuncture
When you work with a naturopathic doctor (ND), a holistic approach is used to determine the root cause of your symptoms. This is important when the goal is to treat and manage a condition with many possible causes, like BPH. An ND may request a blood panel to look at hormone, vitamin and mineral levels.
Some of the available treatment options for men living with BPH include the following:
Herbal Supplements And Remedies
Tinctures, capsules and teas made from Saw Palmetto, Pumpkin Seed Oil, and Stinging Nettle are all herbal options that have been shown to help manage the symptoms of BPH. Alone or in combination, these herbs can help to balance hormone levels, reduce inflammation and promote prostate health.
IV Therapy with a high dose of zinc, selenium and Vitamin C is often recommended for men looking to naturally manage the symptoms of BPH.
- In a healthy prostate, zinc is present in high levels. In men with BPH, zinc levels are usually found to be low. By replenishing zinc levels in the body, you can help to slow and even prevent further growth of the prostate gland.
- Selenium (Se) plays an important role in achieving an optimal antioxidant/oxidant balance in the body. It is also important in the production of sex hormones.
- An imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants (called oxidative stress) has been linked to an enlarged prostate. Because Vitamin C is high in antioxidants, it can help to restore balance and ease the symptoms of BPH.
Acupuncture For Prostate Health
Research finds acupuncture to be a safe and effective way to support a healthy prostate and to relieve the symptoms of BPH—specifically, restricted urinary function. By targeting the right acupuncture points, the inflammation and pain associated with an enlarged prostate can be reduced or resolved. And, because acupuncture treatments require no downtime for recovery or negative side effects, they are an option appropriate for most people.
Get To The Root Of Your BPH Symptoms And Manage Them Naturally.
Urinary issues are most often associated with women’s health. But, they are very normal for men—especially as they age. Often these issues are due to a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. This condition is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).
There are different possible root causes for BPH. Ageing, changing hormone levels, and specific nutrient deficiencies have all been connected to this prostate condition and its symptoms. When you work with a naturopathic doctor, you will explore your whole health, find the root cause for your symptoms and treat it naturally with supplements, acupuncture, or IV Therapy.
If you are a man living with BPH or other urinary problems in Peterborough, ON reach out to Horizon Family Naturopathic Clinic and book a consultation with Dr. Richa Grover ND.