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12 Natural Ways to Treat an Enlarged Prostate
Men are well-known for being wary of doctors, especially if they have to talk about sensitive topics like ED (erectile dysfunction) or their prostate. This is probably the reason why many men go looking for over the counter herbal remedies for their prostate problems.
An enlarged prostate is known to your doctor as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This small muscular gland, about the size and shape of a walnut, surrounds the urethra and sits just below the bladder. It adds fluid to semen to allow sperm to move easily. As men age, the cells of the prostate typically begin to multiply, which can eventually lead to an enlarged prostate. The exact cause of this problem is not yet known, but it is thought that the changes in male sex hormones that naturally come with age might be a major factor.
Other risk factors for an enlarged prostate are diabetes, heart disease, family history, and obesity. It also tends to be more common in Asian men than other races, but the reason for this is unknown. Most men have few or no symptoms, eventually, however, most men experience severe symptoms that can interfere with their quality of life.
Some symptoms of an enlarged prostate are:
- Increased frequency of urination at night
- A frequent or more intense urge to urinate
- Difficult starting the urination process
- A weak stream of urine
- Continued dribbling of urine after a man feels he has emptied his bladder
- Feelings that the bladder is never really empty
If left untreated, BPH can eventually block the flow of urine, which can lead to urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and even kidney damage.
If you think you are experiencing an enlarged prostate, you should check with your urologist first. Ask your doctor if any of the following 12 remedies might help you with your BPH or if there might be any drug interactions if you are taking prescription medications.
1. Saw Palmetto
This is perhaps the most popular herbal treatment for prostate problems in the world. This herb comes from the berry of the American dwarf palm tree. It has been used to treat prostate problems as far back as the early 1800’s. Saw palmetto is especially popular for those how have a weak urine flow or feelings of needing to urinate frequently. One survey in Consumer Reports stated that half of the men who tried saw palmetto said it eased their symptoms “a lot” or at least “somewhat.” As far as studies go, one study that involved 85 men found that men who took saw palmetto capsules over the 6 month study period had fewer symptoms than those who took a placebo. This study was published in the December 2001 issue of the journal Urology.
2. Kegel Exercises
Pelvic strengthening exercises, commonly known as Kegel exercises, can help to ease some of the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Most people think of these exercises as something only for women, bu these can also help men, too. To do this exercise, empty your bladder, then lie on the floor with your knees bent and apart. Tighten your pelvic muscles (the same muscles you would use to stop your urine flow) for a count of, and then relax for a count of 5. Try to do this 10 times and work up to 20 times. Start with one set of 10, twice each day and eventually work up to one set of 20, three times each day.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is important to the body’s immune system. This mineral is found in the cells of the prostate where it plays a protective role preventing inflammation. Taking a zinc supplement can help to shrink the prostate gland. Oregon State University conducted a 2007 study which showed that a zinc deficiency might impair the proteins in the prostate that contain zinc, which can lead to abnormities in the growth and function of the prostate. If you decide to take a zinc supplement, 90mg is the normal dosage, taken in three 30mg doses. You can also eat more zinc rich foods such as beans, yogurt, cashews, crab, and oysters.
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4. Dietary Changes
Many men find that by eating a healthy diet they can reduce or control their symptoms. Be sure you consume the following:
- Include some soy or soy based foods (avoid GMO soybeans)
- Eat more vegetables and less meat
- Be sure you include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, red bell peppers, and Brussels sprouts in your diet at least a few times each week
- Eat at least 2 servings of fatty fish each week such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
5. Aerobic and Resistance Exercises
Staying active is good for the body, the mind, and yes, the prostate. Even small amounts of exercise each day, such as walking and weight training, can help to reduce urinary problems caused by an enlarged prostate. Try to do some weight lifting, calisthenics, and swimming exercises for 30 minutes at a time at least 2 days per week, then add aerobic exercises, such as walking, jogging, sports games, or even dancing, at least 5 days each week.
It’s hard to believe that something as simple as tomatoes can help to ease the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Tomatoes contain a substance called lycopene, which can help to lower the level of a prostate specific antigen, which has been linked in studies to inflammation in the prostate. This can help to lower bladder pressure, which will help to shrink the prostate. Try to add more fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato juice in your diet.
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Apples, onions, capers, and many other vegetables contain a flavonoid called quercetin. Lab studies have shown that quercetin can help to block the growth of cancer cells in the prostate. One small study showed significant improvement in symptoms of those who had chronic prostatitis. Try to add more of these foods in your diet to help reduce your symptoms.
8. Sitz Bath
A sitz bath is an old fashioned method that really works when it comes to soothing an enlarged prostate. The hot bath relaxes the pelvic muscles, and promotes healing. The cold bath eases pain and reduces swelling.
You will need a bathtub and a large enough container to sit in to use this method. Fill the bathtub with very warm water and add ½ cup of Epsom salt to the bath water. Now fill the other container (a child’s old plastic bathtub works well) with cold water and add a few drops of lavender essential oil to this water. Now, sit in the hot bath for 3 minutes. Then change tubs and sit in the cold water for 1 minute. Repeat this process 2 or 3 times, always ending with the cold water. You can enjoy a sitz bath three or four times each week to help relieve the symptoms.
9. Pumpkin Seeds
This is a tasty way to help an enlarged prostate shrink in size. Pumpkin seeds are naturally diuretic, which will help to improve urine flow. These tasty little green seeds are also high in zinc. Studies show that most men with prostate problems tend to be deficient in zinc. Pumpkin seeds also have omega-3 fatty acids, which also help to aid in the function of the prostate. Try eating pumpkin seeds roasted but with no added salt. All you need is a handful each day to get your daily zinc requirements. Find out more reasons why you should eat pumpkin seeds.
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10. Stinging Nettle
This helpful garden herb can help to lessen the symptoms of BPH. It’s the root and leaves of this plant that can help to shrink prostate tissue. Stinging nettle is a natural diuretic and encourages the elimination of inflammatory wastes through your urine. You can make a nettle tea by adding dried nettle leaves to cup and adding one cup of very hot water. Steep for 10 minutes, strain into another cup, and drink. Drink two or three cups of this tea each day for best results. You can also take a supplement. Most men find that 300 mg daily is sufficient enough to help relieve their symptoms. Always consult your physician before taking any supplement to determine the correct dosage for your size and condition.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
The astringent compounds in raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar can help to shrink a swollen or enlarged prostate. It can also help to prevent complications of BPH, such as urinary tract infections. Simply mix one or two tablespoons of raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of raw, organic honey in a glass of water. Drink one glass each morning and evening. Some men say they also find relief by adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to a warm bath and soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes three or four times each week.
SEE ALSO: Top Foods That Fight Prostate Cancer
12. Corn Silk
This is a time-tested home remedy to help fight the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. This is a natural diuretic and can help to improve the flow of urine by relaxing the urinary muscles.
Simply put the silk from 6 ears of fresh, non-GMO corn in 4 cups of water. Bring this to a boil and allow to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Strain and drink 3 cups of this corn silk tea every day. You can drink it all at once, or simply drink one glass three times each day. If you can find corn silk extract, you can add 15 drops of the extract to one cup of water and drink this mixture two or three times each day.
If you are overweight, you should take steps to lose some weight. Even losing just 5 percent of your body weight can make a huge difference in your symptoms. Obesity is associated with an enlarged prostate.