By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
February 05, 2014
- Can you fix this plumbing problem?
- Don’t buy into this form of chemical castration
- 5 natural herbs for a stronger urine flow
We men have a serious plumbing problem. Our urine comes out of a urethra that’s just about the width of a toothpick.
That’s not a lot of space to pass huge amounts of liquid through, but it seems to work well enough… until you have an enlarged prostate. Then it can become a pretty serious problem. And it’s one most men don’t know how to fix.
When your prostate becomes enlarged (a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH), it presses down on your urethra like a vise. This can cause all sorts of troubles when it comes to passing fluids through your pipe.
If you’re experiencing any of these problems, you’ll know it. You’ll find yourself making constant trips to the bathroom, especially at night. You may feel a sense of urgency… but when you stand over the toilet, you may only be able to dribble.
As if that weren’t torture enough, an enlarged prostate can also lead to serious health conditions, such as kidney or bladder damage, bladder stones and incontinence.
Unfortunately, almost all men will experience BPH at some point in their lives. But, it’s certainly not part of the normal aging process.
Some researchers believe prostate enlargement is an inflammatory response. This may be why certain foods that cause inflammation, like red meat and dairy products, tend to increase the risk.
But there’s another link here that may be even more important.
There’s a male hormone called dihydrotestosterone – or DHT. This is the hormone that helps bring your prostate to full size during puberty. It’s produced by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into DHT.
Here’s the problem…
Once you hit your 40s, your testosterone starts metabolizing at a higher rate. This stimulates DHT production. And, guess what? This causes your prostate to start growing again.
This excess production of DHT is also linked to hair loss in men. In fact, one of mainstream medicine’s treatments for BPH is finasteride. This drug is often used to treat male-pattern baldness under the names Proscar and Propecia.
Finasteride works by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase production. This, in turn, blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
But I don’t like resorting to drugs to treat the condition. They can make you impotent.
These drugs decrease your sex drive and make it tough to get and maintain an erection. They increase your risk of growing male breasts and make your testes hurt. They’re basically a form of chemical castration!
I prefer a safer, more natural approach, especially when it comes to treating mild to moderate BPH.
My first line of defense to treat enlargement of the prostate includes herbs that reduce inflammation and help normalize your hormones. Here are five of them I recommend most often to my patients…
- Saw palmetto (320 mg twice daily) has been the topic of numerous studies when it comes to your prostate. It’s even been compared to finasteride in scientific studies. It turns out saw palmetto is just as effective as finasteride in improving BPH symptoms and urine flow.
- Rye grass pollen (60 to 120 mg twice daily) affects testosterone levels, relaxes the urethra and improves how well the bladder can force urine out. All of these actions reduce the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, such as dribbling after urinating or having to get up several times at night to go to the bathroom.
- African pygeum (50 mg twice daily) reduces inflammation in the prostate. That’s one reason I like it. But that’s not all it does. This herb also increases urine flow and reduces the amount of residual urine left in the bladder.
- Pumpkin seed oil (160 mg three times per day with meals) can slash BPH symptoms almost in half. Combined with other prostate-friendly herbs, pumpkin seed oil successfully reduces both day-time and night-time urination frequency in about 70 to 80 percent of men.
- Beta-sitosterol (60 to 130 mg daily) won’t shrink your prostate. But it will reduce your trips to the bathroom – both during the day and at night. At the same time, it works to improve urine flow and bladder emptying.
I also suggest doing Kegel exercises. These are the same “squeeze and hold” exercises women use to help reduce urinary incontinence. But they work for men, too.
You see, both men and women have a PC muscle. This muscle runs from the pubic bone in the front to the tailbone in the back. When you exercise your PC muscle regularly, it helps strengthen bladder function and control.
The first step is to locate the right muscle. The easiest way to do this is to stand or sit at the toilet and try to stop and start the flow of urine mid-stream as you eliminate. If you can do this, you’ll know you’re contracting the right muscle.
Once you’ve located your PC muscle, the idea is to clench it for 5 to 10 seconds, and then release the contraction. You should breathe regularly while doing this exercise, and rest between each contraction.
You can easily do this while lying in bed, sitting in a chair, standing, or even walking. You can also do the exercises while urinating, but don’t do that too often, since it could lead to infections.
For best results, perform this exercise for five to 15 contractions, three to five times each day.
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Wilt TJ, et al. “Saw palmetto extracts for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review.” JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1604-9.
R Yasumoto, et al. “Clinical evaluation of long-term treatment using cernitin pollen extract in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia.” Clinical Therapeutics (Impact Factor: 2.23). 01/1995; 17(1):82-7.
Ishani A. “Pygeum africanum for the treatment of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis.” American Journal of Medicine. 2000;109:654-664.
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Wilt T. “Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia.” Cochrane Database System Review. 2000;(2):CD001043.