Benign prostatic hyperplasia, benign prostatic enlargement, and enlarged prostate all mean the same thing – your prostate gland has grown bigger than what it should be. This is not the same as having a swollen or inflamed prostate. Just the same, it’s a medical condition that needs to be treated.
In older men, having an enlarged prostate is quite common. This doesn’t mean that you should simply consider it as a normal part of aging. There are various herbal remedies that can help restore your prostate back to its original size. Below you’ll find great examples of effective herbal remedies that can help shrink your enlarged prostate.
1. Saw Palmetto
Known for having numerous health benefits, saw palmetto or Serenoa repens is actually one of the herbal remedies that are quite effective for treating benign prostate hyperplasia.
BPH, as the condition is often called, is non-cancerous. However, it does cause a lot of inconvenience and, sometimes, pain. Your prostate gland is wrapped around your urethra, the tube through which your urine flows from your bladder to the opening in your penis.
Because of the way its positioned, when your prostate becomes enlarged, it can squeeze your urethra and put pressure on your bladder. This can lead to various urinary problems which actually get worse over time, especially if your enlarged prostate isn’t treated.
Many researchers consider dihydrotestosterone or DHT as one of the culprits that cause the prostate to become enlarged. DHT is actually an androgen sex hormone, and it is produced when another substance called 5-alpha reductase converts your regular testosterone to DHT.
Saw palmetto helps fight BPH by inhibiting the production of 5-alpha reductase. The theory is that if you have lesser amounts of 5-alpha reductase, less testosterone will be converted to DHT. The lower your DHT levels, the lesser the chances that your prostate will grow in size.
Even if you don’t have an enlarged prostate, you can still take saw palmetto supplements. Saw palmetto can help with various hormone problems, hair loss, and pelvic pain.
It’s also taken to help relieve pelvic pain and other urinary problems. One of the best benefits of saw palmetto for men is that it can help improve sperm count and increase your libido. Saw palmetto may also be helpful if you have prostate cancer.
2. Green Tea
Green tea is another herbal remedy that’s popular for its diverse health benefits. For instance, if you’re planning to lose weight, green tea can help with your diet. Green tea contains high concentrations of catechins which are powerful antioxidants.
Many of the benefits you can get from drinking green tea regularly are attributed to the effects of catechins. For instance, these antioxidants can help protect you from cancer. Drinking green tea can also help you manage your cholesterol levels.
Green tea can also help relieve some of the urinary symptoms you may experience when you have an enlarged prostate. For instance, if you have nocturia or you need to wake up several at nights to urinate due to BPH, regular consumption of green tea can help with that.
Green tea can also help improve poor or intermittent urine stream, incomplete bladder emptying, and other lower urinary tract symptoms. Aside from these, green tea can also help with other medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Again, this is due to the antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties of green tea.
Maca is another superfood that contains a lot of antioxidants. Because of this, maca also has numerous positive effects on health. And just like green tea, maca can also help improve BPH.
There are different varieties of maca and each variety is known to have different health benefits. When it comes to treating BPH, red maca is known to be more effective than other varieties of maca.
In one study involving rats with testosterone-induced enlarged prostate, butanol extract of red maca was found effective in reducing prostate size. What was impressive is that the treatment did not increase the activities of androgen receptors.
Androgen receptors play a contributing role in the enlargement of the prostate. When androgen receptor signaling is blocked, it can help decrease BPH. Since red maca butanol extract does not increase androgen receptor levels, it’s really quite effective in helping reduce BPH.
Other Supplements That May Also Help With BPH
Aside from saw palmetto, green tea, and maca, there are other natural ways to shrink an enlarged prostate. Various supplements are known to help improve BPH. These include pygeum or African plum extract, rye grass pollen, and stinging nettle.
Pygeum contains beta-sitosterol which protects the urinary tract from oxidative stress and relieves inflammation. If you have BPH, taking pygeum supplements orally may help improve low urine flow and nocturia.
Rye grass pollen can also help lessen the urinary symptoms of BPH like not being able to completely empty the bladder when urinating. Rye grass pollen is also believed to help inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Just like saw palmetto and pygeum, stinging nettle also contains antioxidants that may help reduce BPH. Stinging nettle may be able to help reduce the size of an enlarged prostate without affecting testosterone levels. Stinging nettle is often taken with saw palmetto for a stronger combined effect.
Medical Treatments For BPH
If you are at risk of developing a medical condition as a complication of BPH, taking prescription medications may help reduce your prostate size faster. There are two standard medications for BPH, with different effects.
Your doctor may prescribe alpha blockers for you. By making the muscles of your prostate and bladder neck relaxed, these medications help relieve the symptoms of BPH. Examples of alpha blockers that may be prescribed to you for treating BPH include doxazosin and alfuzosin.
On the one hand, your doctor may prescribe 5-alpha reductase inhibitors for you. These drugs help reduce the size of an enlarged prostate. Taking this type of medication can also help prevent further growth of the prostate gland. Finasteride is an example of a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor.