How to reduce the risk of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia through Lifestyle Modifications
The prostate is the gland that creates the fluid inside semen, essential for male fertility. The prostate is the organ wrapped around the urethra like a donut, at the neck of the bladder where the urethra and bladder connect. The prostate goes through two separate growth periods. One occurs during puberty where the prostate grows to double its size fairly quickly. The second is where benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) can occur, which is where the prostate experiences hypertrophy or an unhealthy enlargement. If left untreated this can cause either prostate cancer or the cessation of urination.
Several things including hormone level changes can cause BPH. These include the overproduction of active dihydrotestosterone (DHT) from testosterone, or higher levels of estrogen production due to a decreased production of active testosterone (NIDDK, 2014). Both situations are known for causing growth in the prostate. Additional factors include eating a diet low in protein, zinc, or essential fatty acids (NIDDK, 2014). Contributors to BPH include alcohol consumption, high cholesterol, and exposure to environmental contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals (NIDDK, 2014).
As of 2010, 14 million men over the age of 50 suffered from some lower urinary tract symptoms (NIDDK, 2014). According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (2014) BPH rarely occurs before age 40, affects 50% of men between the ages of 51-60 and 90% of males over age 80. When left untreated or poorly addressed, BPD can lead to prostate cancer, acute urinary retention (full bladder blockage), an overworked bladder, urinary tract infection, irreparable bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones, or lack of ability for the bladder to relax and release urine (2014).
Long-term support includes eating a high protein, plant-based diet that includes essential fatty acids and zinc. Additionally, the elimination of alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and processed foods supports a healthy prostate. One should also avoid medications such as decongestants containing pseudoephedrine, oxymetazoline, or antihistamines containing diphenhydramine, which weakens the bladder’s ability to contract and relax (NIDDK, 2014). Diuretics, opiates, and tricyclic antidepressants should also be avoided as they promote additional prostate growth (NIDDK, 2014).
Pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds are among the foods recommended, as they provide high levels of zinc and essential fatty acids. Homeopathic protocols to support or manage the healing from BPH include using Chimaphila umbellata 30C, Conium 30C, Pereira 30C, Selenium 30C, and Thuja occidentalis 30C (Peterson, 2016). Hydrotherapy using both hot- and cold-water soaks are also recommended as supportive protocols (Peterson, 2016).
Peterson, D. (n.d.). Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) Online Resources.
Prostate Enlargement: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. (2014, September). In National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
Thibodeau, G., & Patton, K. (2012). Structure & Function of the Body (14th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.