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6 Natural Remedies for Enlarged Prostate (BPH)

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The prostate grows

The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that wraps around the urethra, the tube that urine flows out of. The prostate is part of the male reproductive system. One of its main jobs, along with other organs, is to add fluid to semen. This is the fluid that carries sperm.

The prostate gland starts out small and has two main phases of growth. It doubles in size during the teenage years, then continues to grow again after age 25 throughout the rest of a man’s life.

An excessively enlarged prostate results in a disease known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Eventually, an enlarged prostate can clamp down on the urethra and restrict the flow of urine from the bladder. This leads to problems such as:

  • frequent urination
  • difficulty in voiding
  • urinary leakage
  • urinary tract infections

Read about natural remedies that may improve some BPH symptoms.

There are several treatment options for an enlarged prostate. You can take alpha-blockers such as terazosin (Hytrin) or tamsulosin (Flomax) to help relax the prostate and bladder muscles.

You can also take dutasteride (Avodart) or finasteride (Proscar), a different kind of medication for reducing BPH symptoms. These block the hormones that cause the prostate to grow.

Combinations of these two different types of medications may also be recommended. Your doctor might also recommend surgery to remove the extra prostate tissue. One common surgical procedure for BPH is known as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).

There are also natural remedies that may work to combat enlarged prostate symptoms. However, the evidence is debatable on whether these treatments actually work. The American Urological Association currently doesn’t recommend any herbal therapy for managing BPH.

If you do want to try any of these natural remedies, talk to your doctor first. Some herbal treatments can interact with prescription medications. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the quality or purity of herbal supplements. This means there can be a lack of consistent ingredients.

Saw palmetto is an herbal remedy that comes from the fruit of a type of palm tree. It’s been used in alternative medicine for centuries to relieve urinary symptoms, including those caused by an enlarged prostate. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) , a few small-scale studies have suggested that saw palmetto might be effective for relieving BPH symptoms.

However, the NIH reports that when larger studies were conducted, they didn’t find saw palmetto any more effective than a placebo. Research continues to look into the anti-inflammatory and hormone-blocking properties that saw palmetto may have and its possible use in combination with other medications. Saw palmetto is safe to use, but minor side effects can be upset stomach and headache.

This herbal medication is a mixture taken from different plants that contain cholesterol-like substances called sitosterols or phytosterols (plant-based fats). Several studies have suggested that beta-sitosterol can relieve urinary symptoms of BPH, including the strength of urine flow. Some scientists have also suggested that it’s these fatty substances — like beta-sitosterol, which is also found in saw palmetto — that are actually doing the work.

There haven’t been any major side effects reported with the use of beta-sitosterol. However, doctors still don’t know all the long-term effects of this natural therapy.

Can natural remedies help relieve symptoms from an enlarged prostate? Here’s what the research says.