Natural Treatment for Prostate Problems

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a diagnosis characterized by overgrowth of various cells within the prostate. Gland enlargement may result from this accumulation of cells.

The hyperplasia results in enlargement of the prostate and this may restrict the flow of urine from the bladder.BPH is a normal part of the aging and is driven by the hormones testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). An estimated 50% of men demonstrate BPH by age 60. This number increases to 90% by age 85.

Difficulty urinating that results from prostate gland enlargement and bladder obstruction is termed lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).  An older term is prostate. Not all men with BPH have LUTS, and likewise, not all men with LUTS have BPH.

Symptoms of bladder obstruction include urinary frequency, urgency, awakening at night to urinate, decreased or intermittent force of stream, or a sensation of incomplete emptying.  More serious complications can occur and may include acute urinary retention (AUR), impaired bladder emptying, the need for corrective surgery, kidney failure, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or blood in the urine.

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is considered the gold standard for relieving bladder outlet obstruction but is highly invasive.

Prostate enlargement is largely caused by the hormone and potent androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT). In the prostate gland, an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase is responsible for turning testosterone into DHT. DHT binds to hormone receptors in the prostate causing growth of the gland.  There are number of natural plant medicines that can lower DHT by acting as alpha reductase inhibitors.

Studies have shown that large numbers of alpha-1-adrenergic receptors are located in the smooth muscle of the stroma and capsule of the prostate, as well as in the bladder neck. Stimulation of these receptors causes an increase in smooth-muscle tone, which can worsen LUTS. Conversely, blockade of these receptors can reversibly relax these muscles, with subsequent relief of LUTS.

The theory behind BPH is that, as the prostate enlarges, the surrounding capsule prevents it from expanding, resulting in compression of the urethra. However, obstruction-induced bladder dysfunction contributes significantly to LUTS. The bladder wall may become thickened, and irritable when it is forced to increase in size.

The bladder may gradually weaken and lose the ability to empty completely, leading to increased residual volume kidney damage, recurrent urinary tract infections, blood in the urine, and bladder stones may result if left untreated.

The main function of the prostate gland is to secrete an alkaline fluid that comprises approximately 70% of the semen volume.

Our naturopathic approach at NatureMed is to modify hormone levels using naturally derived medicines found in plants (herbal medicine).  It’s important to maintain hormonal balance and men and look at the whole picture.  We don’t want to reduce hormone levels dramatically to relieve urinary symptoms which will then also cause symptoms of male menopause.  We typically like to use strong DHT blockers while maintaining good testosterone levels an optimal estrogen levels.  Estrogen also stimulates prostate growth in the prostate gland is embryologically similar to breast tissue.  Since we are in integrative medicine clinic prescriptions may also be used if indicated.