Although it’s not considered cancerous, having an enlarged prostate can cause frustrating effects on your quality of life. For one, having to wake up several times at night to void yourself can adversely affect your quality of sleep. And when you’re not sleeping well, other health problems follow.
More importantly, having an enlarged prostate can have negative effects on your sex life. The standard prescription medications for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) can interfere with your libido and your capability to achieve erections. One way to avoid these sexual problems is to treat your enlarged prostate using natural remedies.
1. African Plum Extract
Known as the Pygeum africanum or just pygeum, the African plum tree bark has long been used by African tribes to treat bladder and urinary conditions linked with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Pygeum is known to help in reducing symptoms such as frequent urination and nocturia. Taking pygeum supplements may also help lessen urinary incontinence. Aside from reducing the urinary symptoms of BPH, pygeum may also help slow down prostate cell growth.
Pygeum may also help protect you from prostate cancer. That’s because pygeum works by acting on androgen receptors. These receptors are actually responsible for controlling the growth of prostate cells.
In addition, pygeum has anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this, pygeum can help reduce the inflammation of your prostate if you have prostatitis. Pygeum may also help in treating other inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
2. Saw Palmetto
When it comes to treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, saw palmetto is among the most studied herbal remedies. Various studies have established that saw palmetto can help reduce the symptoms associated with BPH.
Saw palmetto is considered one of the most widely used herbal remedies for BPH. Fruits from the saw palmetto tree are used to formulate medicines in the form of capsules, tablets, as well as tea.
The way saw palmetto works in reducing BPH is by stopping the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone responsible for the growth of prostate cells. An enlarged prostate is actually the result of the abnormal growth and multiplication of prostate cells.
Saw palmetto is also known to alleviate problems with urination that men with enlarged prostate often experience. These symptoms include dribbling after urinating, having a weak urine stream, and difficulties starting a urine stream.
Aside from nocturia, a man with an enlarged prostate may also find himself straining while urinating or not being able to completely empty his bladder when urinating. Saw palmetto may help relieve some of these symptoms.
In addition to helping with urinary problems, saw palmetto is also known for other important health benefits that are of interest to men. Testosterone levels commonly drop as one grows older. However, saw palmetto can help prevent further reduction in testosterone levels since saw palmetto can block the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
Through this action, saw palmetto can help a man maintain his libido. A normal sperm count can also be maintained if testosterone levels don’t drop drastically. In addition, saw palmetto can also help prevent hair loss which often happens as a result of declining testosterone levels.
Orbignya speciosa or babassu is a type of palm tree. Its fruits and oil are used to make medicines. Babassu is taken orally to treat various medical conditions including arthritis, pain, and stomach problems like constipation and stomach swelling.
Babassu is also popular for its anti-inflammatory properties due to its MP1 glucan content. It also contains other bioactive chemicals that help enhance the immune system and hasten wound healing. Babassu oil is often described as a wonder oil because of its numerous uses such as for cooking, fuel, lubricant, and even as cosmetic ingredient.
To treat BPH, babassu kernels are either eaten whole or in powdered form. This can help lessen the various urinary symptoms that occur due to an enlarged prostate. Babassu may help treat BPH by reducing the proliferation of the abnormally growing prostate cells. It can also induce apoptosis or cell death of these abnormal prostate cells.
4. Pumpkin Seed
Among the various herbal remedies for benign prostatic enlargement, pumpkin seeds are one of the most popular. These seeds are quite enjoyable to snack on, so it doesn’t feel like you’re taking medicines while you eat them. Pumpkin seeds are known to be very nutritious and you can also enjoy its benefits in oil form.
In fact, for treating BPH, pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil are often taken together. There are many ways that pumpkin seeds help in reducing an enlarged prostate. For instance, pumpkin seeds are known to be rich in zinc, an essential mineral necessary for the normal functioning of the prostate.
In addition, pumpkin seeds contain phytochemicals that can help block dihydrotestosterone activities in the prostate. Pumpkin seeds may also help in reducing or preventing testosterone from being converted to dihydrotestosterone.
If you don’t like the idea of taking medications for your enlarged prostate, what about increasing your intake of lycopene-rich foods instead? Various studies have shown that taking lycopene supplements or eating more foods that contain lycopene can help reduce BPH symptoms.
Commonly found in tomatoes, lycopene is a carotenoid compound with impressive antioxidant properties. Lycopene can protect your eyes from cataract damage, help prevent cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis, and protect you from various types of cancer such as lung and colon cancer.
For men, lycopene can also help protect your prostate gland from various diseases including prostatitis, prostate cancer, and benign prostatic hyperplasia. In one study, for instance, lycopene supplementation for six months resulted in a significant reduction of serum prostate-specific antigen or PSA levels.
In addition, those who were taking placebo saw a progression in the enlargement of their prostate whereas those who were taking the lycopene treatment did not see any further growth in their prostate size. These results showed that lycopene may be helpful in preventing the progression of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Aside from tomatoes, other natural sources of lycopene include watermelon, papaya, grapefruit, and apricots. Vegetables that are also rich in lycopene include carrots, red cabbage, and red bell peppers.