As men get older, the possibility of having an enlarged prostate can become a reality. It’s estimated that about half of men who are just 50 years old have an enlarged prostate (also called BPH, for benign prostatic hyperplasia). BPH can lead to symptoms like difficulty starting or stopping urination, increased frequency or urgency of urination, bladder infections, formations of kidney stones, to name a few.
So, how can you decrease your symptoms of BPH or even lessen the likelihood of getting them? There are a number of things, but here are 3 quick tips!
1) Have some soy – soy has lots of good nutrients, and one of them is beta-sitosterol. This has the same mechanism of action as a common medication prescribed for BPH, and has been shown in studies to decrease BPH symptoms. A 3.5 oz serving a day of soybeans or tofu can significantly lower symptoms.
2) Get moving – physical activity has been well shown to decrease BPH symptoms. Even moderate physical activity such as household chores, yard work, has been associated with decrease symptoms. And it’s dose dependent too – the more active you are, the less likely you will get symptoms!
3) Consider going herbal – Pygeum africanum is an extract from an African prune tree that has been shown to decrease symptoms of BPH in a number of studies. There are other herbal extracts that have shown beneficial effects as well, and this is one of the best studied. Pygeum has a good safety profile, but as with any prescriptions, you want to check with a professional to make sure the form and dose are right for you and that there won’t be any interactions with any medications you are on.
There are lots of diet, lifestyle, herbal and nutraceuticals options to help keep the prostate happy. And isn’t that the saying – happy prostate, happy household?
Happy Movember everyone!
Dr. Alan Vu, ND
1) Ambrosini et al. 2008. Dietary patterns and surgically treated benign prostatic hyperplasia: a case control study in Western Australia. BJU Int. 2008 Apr;101(7):853-60.
2) Fowke et al. 2013. Association between physical activity, lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and prostate volume. BJU Int. 2013 Jan;111(1):122-8.
3) Wilt at al. 2002. Pygeum africanum for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1)