Reprinted from Nature's Field
Benign Prostate (BPH) Hyperplasia
by Steven Horne

Read also
1. About Male Reproductive
2. Erectile Dysfunction

Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. When the prostate becomes enlarged, the urethra from the bladder becomes constricted. This causes difficulty in urinating. Since the bladder does not empty fully, there is a frequent urge to urinate. The affected individual may need to wake up several times a night for a trip to the bathroom.

BPH affects a large percentage of aging men. Estimates range from 25% to 80% of American men over 40 being affected. Likely more than half of all males over 50 have this problem. At least 25% (a total of ten million men) are affected severely enough to require medical attention.

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The most severe cases are usually treated by surgery. So, about 400,000 operations, costing three billion dollars, are performed for this problem each year. This is the second leading cause of surgery in the United States. About 32% of those undergoing this operation have complications like incontinence, impotence or enlargement of the breast tissue due to hormone imbalance. In 15% of the cases a second operation will be required within 5-6 years.


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Understanding why men develop this problem requires that we learn a little more about male hormones. Testosterone is the principle male hormone. It stimulates sperm production, libido, muscular strength and the physical characteristics of the male. Testosterone is converted to another hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by a special enzyme (5a-reductase).

DHT is necessary for the development of the male reproductive organs of the fetus in the womb. It is also needed to complete the development of male sexual characteristics during puberty. However, later in life, DHT does not serve men so well. It stimulates enlargement of the prostate, baldness, unusual hair growth and acne.

A key to preventing prostate problems, then, is to interfere with the body's production of DHT. The mineral zinc, long known for it's beneficial effects on the male prostate, has been found to be a potent inhibitor of 5a-reductase, especially in combination with Ginseng.

 

Prostate Joke Elevated levels of the female hormone, estrogen, are also thought to play a role in the development of BPH. (Both sexes produce male and female hormones, only in differing amounts.) It has been demonstrated that reducing estrogen levels in males decreases swelling of the prostate. Drug companies have used this approach in treatment.

Herbalists have likewise used a similar approach by employing the use of male hormonal herbs. One of the most popular hormonal herbs for treating an enlarged prostate is Panax ginseng (American ginseng, not Siberian ginseng).

Pygeum


Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D., says that he searched far and wide for an effective herbal treatment for BPH and discovered an African plant, Pygeum africanum. It contains phytosterols which have been found to be anti-inflammatory. It also contains pentacyclic triterpenoids which have a diuretic action and reduce swelling. Lastly, linear alcohols and ferulic esters were found to reduce prostate swelling by (oddly enough) inhibiting the absorption and metabolism of cholesterol. It was found that this contributed to prostate pathology. Dr. Mowrey says that dozens of "pilot" studies have confirmed this plant's benefit in BPH.


Notes from Four Winds Nutrition


Men's Formula: Each capsule contains: 54 mg concentrated pygeum extract (2.5% total sterols), 190 mg concentrated saw palmetto extract (20% essential fatty acids), 115 mg gotu kola, 10 mg concentrated stinging nettle extract (2% plant silica), 35 mg standardized lycopene beadiets, 5 mg zinc.

Saw Palmetto Concentrate (480 mg/day for best results - 1 capsule 3 times/day if taken alone)

Saw palmetto berries are important in glandular strengthening and toning combinations. It is considered a tonic for the whole body.
It strengthens the thyroid which controls overall glandular function. It also strengthens digestion, the lungs and other tissues that are damaged by debilitating, wasting or chronic diseases. It is an aid for diabetics.
In men, it is used for impotence, sterility, underdeveloped testicles and enlarged prostate.
In women it is used for infertility, lack of stamina, ovarian dysfunction and underdeveloped breasts.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Vegetables in the mustard family (broccoli, cabbage, etc.) have been shown to contain substances which inhibit certain forms of cancer. You see, whenever the body is assaulted by toxins, it responds by increasing levels of its protective enzymes known as Mixed Function Oxidases (MFO's). These cruciferous vegetables (and probably many medicinal herbs as well) contain small amounts of chemicals which stimulate this protective response. Indole-3-carbinol and ascorbigen are two components of these vegetables which have been identified as stimulating these protective enzymes (MFO's). MFO's increase oxidation (or breakdown) of estrogen in the body. So, not only do they have a protective affect against breast and colon cancer, they may benefit the prostate, preventing and reducing BPH.

Non-Herbal Remedies

ProstateIn this illustration, it may be seen that the prostate gland is near the rectal area. It is possible to gently "milk" a swollen prostate by inserting a well-lubricated finger into the rectum in the same way a doctor checks for prostate swelling. By gently massaging the prostate, it is possible to immediately reduce the swelling and ease the problem. I picked this tip up years ago from an issue of Alternatives newsletter.

Drinking ample amounts of pure water, may help to flush the uro-genital tract and ease irritation in minor cases. A warm bath or sitz bath may help to relax the prostate and enable a man to void the bladder more easily. Some aromatic nervine herbs like rosemary, chamomile, lavender, etc., might be a nice addition to such a bath.

Drugs like antihistamines, cold medicines and tranquilizers relax the bladder and tighten the prostate. It is also possible that the increase in prostate problems may be due to our increased exposure to toxic chemicals. So beware of drugs and chemcials.

Seeds are good foods for prostate health, especially pumpkin seeds, which are rich in zinc. (I like eating raw pumpkin seeds on my tossed salad.)

Kegel exercises help develop sexual control and strengthen and tone the prostate gland. These exercises involve contracting the pubococcygeal (PC) muscle the same one you contract to shut off the flow of urine after it has started. For more information on this subject see pages 109-111 of  "The Male Herbal" by James Green (Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press, 1991)

There is hope for those suffering from prostate problems. It would seem wise to me that before using drugs or surgery that a little herbal and nutritional supplementation might be in order.

PSA (meaning) (Note from Four Winds Nutrition)

Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood.

Remember that the PSA test cannot diagnose cancer. Only a biopsy can diagnose cancer.

It is normal for men to have a low level of PSA in their blood; however, prostate cancer or benign (not cancerous) conditions can increase a man's PSA level. As men age, both benign prostate conditions and prostate cancer become more common. The most frequent benign prostate conditions are prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) (enlargement of the prostate). There is no evidence that prostatitis or BPH causes cancer, but it is possible for a man to have one or both of these conditions and to develop prostate cancer as well.

A man's PSA level alone does not give doctors enough information to distinguish between benign prostate conditions and cancer. However, the doctor will take the result of the PSA test into account when deciding whether to check further for signs of prostate cancer.

Older men typically have slightly higher PSA levels than younger men.

Normal ranges by age group commonly used include:

  • Men below age 50: PSA less than 2.5

  • Men 50 - 59 years: PSA level less than 3.5

  • Men 60 - 69 years: PSA level less than 4.5

  • Men older than 70 years: PSA level less than 6.5

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories.

References
Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH): Technical Report #8. (Unpublished manuscript)
Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno (Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1990)
The Male Herbal by James Green (Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press, 1991)
Prostate Problems, Prostate Solutions, by Dr. Edwin Darracott Vaughan, Jr., Health Confidential, November 1990.
Prostate Drug Proscar Cleared for Marketing, C&EN, June 29, 1992.
Pygeum: Natural Prostate Therapy, by Daniel B. Mowrey, Let's Live, December 1989, p. 62.
Treating Enlarged Prostate, by Solomon J. Herbert, Let's Live, April 1990, p. 46.

This information is for educational purposes only. Consult with a qualified health practictioner for all serious or persistant illness.
Copyright 1999 by Robinson & Horne, L.C., P.O. Box 1028, Roosevelt, UT 84066. This material may be duplicated for educational purposes only (not for resale) provided it is not altered in any way.