Is-Your-Prostate-Causing-You-Problems

Is Your Prostate Causing You Problems?

Running to the bathroom a few times per night? That could be the first sign of prostate enlargement.

In medical terminology, it is referred to as benign prostate hyperplasia or just BPH. In simple words, it is a prostate disorder, that occurs when the prostate gland that wraps around part of the urinary tract, becomes enlarged. It presses on the tube carrying urine altering the flow and the ability to completely pass urine.

In this article, I’ll share with you how to detect BPH and how to relieve symptoms. I’ll help you get your questions answered and finally take action against annoying, difficult-to-ignore symptoms of BPH.

Enlarged Prostate (BPH): Facts, Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Prostate Facts

  • Only males have a prostate
  • The prostate is about the same size and shape as a walnut 
  • 50% of men will develop an enlarged prostate by the time they are 50 years old
  • Up to 90% of men who are 70-90 years old will have an enlarged prostate 

What are the Causes of BPH?

Causes-of-BPH

It isn't clear what exactly can cause prostate enlargement. However, there are four risk factors for the development of BPH:

Aging Process

As you get older, your body experiences changes in the balance of sex hormones, which can impact your prostate. That is why men over 60 are always at risk of BPH. On the other side, it is very rare that a man gets the symptoms of prostate enlargement before turning 40.

Family History

If you have a father or a brother, with prostate problems, unfortunately, you have a high risk of having BPH.

​​​Influence of Other Diseases

 Diabetes and heart disease and the use of beta-blockers can increase the risk of BPH.

Your Lifestyle

Your health always depends on your lifestyle and habits. For instance, if you consume a lot of junk food and suffer from obesity, you are likely to develop BPH. However, if you exercise and stick to a healthy diet, your risk of BPH significantly decreases.

What are the Common Symptoms of BPH?

  • Difficulty starting to urinate
  • Needing to urinate urgently 
  • Dribbling urine 
  • Pain or burning during urination 
  • Frequent pain in the lower back, pelvic or rectal area
  • Blood in the semen or urine 
  • Difficulty maintaining the urinary flow 
  • Needing to urinate more frequently, especially at night time which can lead to disruptive sleeping patterns and fatigue
  • Increase in the occurrence of urinary tract infections

Note:

BPH-is-Not-Prostate-Cancer
  1. 1
    BPH is not prostate cancer (Benign means “not harmful” "not cancer," and hyperplasia means increased cell production).
  2. 2
    BPH doesn’t increase your risk of getting prostate cancer, however, it is possible to have both at the same time.
  3. 3
    The symptoms of BPH and prostate cancer are similar. Therefore, it's important to get checked.

How is BPH Diagnosed?

Diagnosis-of-BPH

1

Step 1 - Physical Exam

The doctor estimates the size and shape of the prostate.

2

Step 2 -  Proper Testing

  • Urine test - to detect infections
  • Blood test - to reveal possible kidney problems
  • DHT test -  growth of the prostate gland may be stimulated by 5aDHT
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test - to measure a substance produced in your prostate (PSA levels will be increased when you have an enlarged prostate)

3

Step 3 -  Additional Tests

Depending on your symptoms and previous test results, you might have to go through a few more tests :

Note: DHT Testing

Patients with BPH may not have increased DHT levels. Nevertheless, it is a crucial test for diagnosis.


One of the best ways to measure DHT levels is DUTCH Test. It is designed to asses not only DHT marker, but total DHEA production, total testosterone, and metabolic preferences (5a vs 5b metabolites).

DUTCH-Test-DHT-Production

Note: PSA Testing. Avoid Self-Diagnosisng!

Assessing PSA (a prostate-specific antigen) levels is not less important for the diagnosis of prostate problems. You can do this test in the comfort of your home by ordering a PSA test kit from LetsGetChecked.


However, the results of testing can be tricky. Quite often, PSA levels are high due to aging, inflammation, prostate infection, surgery or prostate cancer. 


For this reason, the  diagnosis should be made by your doctor, taking into consideration the results of a physical exam, blood, and urine tests. Self-diagnosis and self-treatment may cause complications.


Also, if you need some help with interpretation, you can schedule an appointment with me.

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Treatment of BPH: Drugs, Surgery, Self-Care, and Natural Remedies

Self-Care and Healthy Habits against BPH

Healthy-Habits-against-BPH

There are many ways to deal with prostate enlargement. The treatment of BPH starts with great changes: changing your lifestyle, diet and getting rid of bad habits that ruin not only your male health but negatively impact your overall health.

What I’m driving at, that relying on pills is the wrong attitude towards BPH treatment. Here is a set of ten important actions you have to take against BPH:

  1. 1
    Don’t hold your pee, go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge
  2. 2
    Empty the bladder completely when urinating 
  3. 3
    Try to avoid antihistamines, diuretics, and decongestants, that can cause urination problems
  4. 4
     Eliminate the consumption of alcohol and caffeine, especially after dinner 
  5. 5
    Avoiding fluids in the evening to reduce the risk of nighttime urination 
  6. 6
    Put efforts to reduce food cravings and get rid of excessive weight 
  7. 7
    Learn to manage stress and nervousness to prevent the aggravation of BPH symptoms 
  8. 8
    Don’t be a couch-potato and exercise regularly 
  9. 9
    Practice regularly Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles
  10. 10
    Quit smoking (cigarette smoking can not only aggravate BPH symptoms but increase the reask of developing prostate cancer)

Drugs that Help Treat BPH

Drugs-for-the-BPH-Treatment

Changing lifestyle might be not enough to treat an enlarged prostate. You have to consult your doctor on what medicine would work for you. Let’s have a closer look at the common BPH medications.

Alpha-1 blockers

Uses: Alpha-1 blockers relax the muscles of the bladder and prostate and help make the urination easier.

Effectiveness: Medication is good for relatively small prostates.

Examples: Alfuzosin (Uroxatral), tamsulosin (Flomax), doxazosin (Cardura), and silodosin (Rapaflo).

Side effects:  Headache, dizziness, orthostatic hypotension, and reflex tachycardia.

5-alpha reductase inhibitors

Uses: This medication can shrink your prostate by blocking hormones that make your prostate grow.

Effectiveness: It is good for men with very large prostates.

Examples: Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar), dutasteride (Avodart).

Side effects: Low libido, erectile dysfunction, and decreased ejaculate.

Tadalafil

Uses: It improves blood flow to the penis and helps relax muscle cells in the bladder and prostate.

Effectiveness: Tadalafil helps treat both BPH and erectile dysfunction (ED).

Examples: Cialis, Adcirca.

Side effects: Headache, stomach upset, muscle pain, back pain, stuffy nose, flushing, dizziness.

Note: For better results, it is often recommended by the doctor to take an alpha blocker and a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor at the same time.

Is Surgery Needed for BPH?

Is-Surgery-Needed-for-BPH

In the case of BPH, surgery is not obligatory if you don’t have severe symptoms and a very large prostate.

However, there are a few situations, when surgical therapy is recommended:

  • Medication hasn’t helped much and you have severe symptoms
  • You have bladder stones,  a urinary tract obstruction, blood in your urine, kidney problems

There are numerous not invasive or minimally invasive surgical options for BPH. If your condition requires surgery, you have to decide with your doctor, which solution is the best for you.

Note: Both medications and surgical therapy can have side effects. Depending on the type of treatment you choose, you may encounter various complications, including retrograde ejaculation, temporary difficulty with urination, urinary tract infection, bleeding, erectile dysfunction, incontinence.

Natural Remedies for BPH

Natural-Remedies-for-BPH

These days, natural remedies are rapidly gaining popularity. Although FDA has not approved yet specific natural remedies, some herbs have been used as an alternative medicine for centuries. 

The main reason to choose natural remedies is the minimum risk of side effects. Common drugs can cause numerous side effects and complications, including headaches, upset stomach, problems with vision, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, or retrograde ejaculation. 

If you use natural remedies as intended, they are helpful and safe. On another side, if your condition is critical, taking drugs or even going through surgery might be unavoidable.

Speaking of the supplements to relieve the symptoms of prostate enlargement naturally, these are the most effective options so far:

  • Beta-sitosterol (pumpkin seed) 
  • Pygeum 
  • Zi-Shen Pill (Chinese cinnamon, Anemarrhena, Phellodendron amurense) 
  • Rye grass pollen extract 
  • Stinging nettle 
  • Lycopene (the pink or red pigment in the fruit and vegetables) 
  • Zinc 

Note: Zinc is an essential nutrient for men’s health. By maintaining healthy levels of zinc, you can prevent the growth of cancer cells and reduce the risk of BPH and prostate cancer. However, abusing supplementation with zinc may create the opposite effect.

The Recommended Supplements

Advanced Trichology DHT Blocker with Immune Support

 Advanced-Trichology-DHT-Blocker-with-Immune-Support

A mix of powerful DHT blocking herbs and probiotic, prebiotics, and natural antifungal and antibacterial ingredients.



Havasu Nutrition Saw Palmetto Supplement for Prostate Health

Havasu-Nutrition-Saw-Palmetto-Supplement-for-Prostate

Saw Palmetto is a natural way to prevent hair loss, support prostate function, and urinary health.


Enlarged Prostate Diet

By the age of 80, the high percentage of men will live with BPH. However, you can prevent, delay or relieve the symptoms of prostate enlargement by following a healthy diet. 

The nutritious diet rich in certain vitamins and minerals is key to prostate health. By consuming certain veggies and fruits, you can lower your risk for BPH. To modify your diet, just check out the lists with foods to eat and avoid bellow.

Foods to Protect Your Prostate

Foods-to-Protect-Your-Prostate

To support your prostate health, you have to consume more fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.

Here is the list with specific foods beneficial for your prostate function:

Salmon - healthy fats rich in omega-3 fatty acids, helpful for reducing inflammation

Nuts and Sesame Seeds - zinc, which helps balance testosterone and DHT, and inhibits cancer cells

Tomatoes - a source of lycopene and antioxidant, beneficial for prostate gland cells

Berries( raspberries, blackberries) - antioxidants, that help fight free radicals

Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) - sulforaphane, which promotes a healthy prostate and helps reduce cancer cell growth.

Citrus (oranges, lemons, grapefruits) - vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant, preventing cells from mutating into cancerous ones

Harmful Foods for Prostate

Harmful-Foods-for-Prostate

The intake of several foods should be reduced and even eliminated to keep your prostate healthy. Moreover, it is vital to fight food cravings and overeating.

These are the five main foods you have to avoid at all costs:

Red and Processed Meat  - contains heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which can contribute to the development of prostate cancer

Dairy - if you are already at risk of health problems with the prostate, it is better to skip milk and dairy products like butter and cheese

Caffeine - act as a diuretic, increasing urinary frequency

Alcohol - stimulates urine production

Sodium - high intake of salt can worsen symptoms of BPH

Bottomline

Enlarged prostate or BPH is not a deadly disease. It can be treated in many ways, with the help of drugs or surgery. You can also relieve annoying symptoms of BPH with the help of natural remedies, nutritious diet, and regular workouts.

On the other side ignoring and not treating BPH and its symptoms can lead to the following complications:

  • Increased risk of urinary tract infections 
  • Bladder stones
  • Bladder damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Reduced cognitive performance
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders

Therefore, if you noticed some common BPH symptoms like frequent or painful urination, don't hesitate to consult a doctor. The earlier you identify the health problem, the easier to treat disease and prevent complications and unwanted expenses on medications.

About the Author Michael

Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen

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