Do Herbs Help Or Harm An Enlarged Prostate?

Do Herbs Help Or Harm An Enlarged Prostate?

As men grow older, there’s a good chance they will have to deal with the hassle of an enlarged prostate.  As the prostate gland grows, a man can experience annoying symptoms of frequent urination.

The medical term for an enlarged prostate is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).  BPH is when the prostate cells proliferate causing the gland to grow slowly which eventually will begin to press on the bladder and part of the urethra. 

As the prostate grows, this is what leads to the symptoms of BPH making life unbearable at times for a man causing him to seek out what treatment methods are available.  About 50 percent of all men over the age of 50 will have symptoms of BPH while men over 80 have a 90 percent chance of having the condition. 

One remedy for BPH that has been around for centuries and practiced regularly in Chinese and Japanese medicine is the use of herbs to treat the urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. Around the world, other countries such as Germany, France, and Austria, have turned to herbs as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate urinary symptoms of BPH.

Are herbs a safe and effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of BPH?  It is hard to say.  In the meantime, here are herbs that are commonly promoted and perhaps even recommended by some doctors:

Saw palmetto

Coming from the American saw palmetto plant, this herbal extract from the plant’s purple berries may help shrink the prostate and improve urinary symptoms by reducing the activity of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, similar to how medication such as finasteride and dutasteride work.

Also a word of caution on using saw palmetto for BPH – men who have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners should not take this herb and any man getting ready to have surgery should not take it before the procedure as it can increase bleeding.

African plum

This herb uses an extract that has been used in traditional medicine to treat urinary problems for centuries.  African plum or pygeum comes from the bark of an African evergreen tree.  Pygeum has been shown in several scientific studies to have little evidence of relieving BPH symptoms including nocturia or increased urination at night or improving urine flow. 

Rye grass pollen

A pollen extract from rye grass has also been used to treat BPH.  The brand of rye grass pollen most often used in Cernilton and is also the most studied.  In 2000, a review found rye grass pollen to modestly improve urinary symptoms but there was no significant improvement of urinary function. 

The first thing a man should do is to make an appointment with his doctor to discuss and diagnosis for certain if his symptoms are truly caused by BPH or not. 

Using herbal products for BPH is not well understood and ideally there needs to be more clinical trials to determine if they are effective, at what doses, their side effects and how do they interact with other medications and supplements.

Do Herbs Help Or Harm An Enlarged Prostate?
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