There are a lot of great things about getting older as a man. You’re wiser, for one, and perhaps you’ve settled into your skin a bit more, and you feel more confident about the life you lead.
There are downsides too – and perhaps none as insidious as an excessively enlarged prostate – otherwise known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. An enlarged prostate can clamp down on the urethra and restrict the flow of urine from the bladder. This leads to problems such as the need for frequent urination – which of course can disrupt sleep patterns – annoying to say the least!
If you do suffer from BPH you have a few options, such as going on medication, and avoiding agitators such as coffee and alcohol. That said, if you are wanting to avoid more medication, keep living life a little, and avoid those pesky bathroom trips that keep waking you up at night, then read on – there are several well-researched natural remedies that can help!
A herbal remedy derived from the fruit of a palm tree found in Florida and some parts of other south-eastern states, saw palmetto is used mainly to relieve urinary symptoms associated with enlarged prostate glands. Not only that, it’s useful for other conditions, including decreased sex drive, hair loss and hormone imbalances.
A 2018 meta-analysis study found that men who took saw palmetto supplements experienced fewer late-night bathroom trips and better urinary flow, with the researches concluding that saw palmetto “appears to be an efficacious and well-tolerated therapeutic option for the long-term medical treatment of LUTS/BPH.”
For those of us who don’t live in Florida, the saw palmetto fruit can be conveniently taken as dietary supplements in the form of tablets, capsules, liquid extract, or even as tea.
Pygeum is a herbal extract taken from the bark of the African cherry or plum tree. The chemicals within the bark have been used as natural remedies for decades – it has been said to aid with fever malaria, kidney disease and more, along with treating enlarged prostates.
A BPH study involving 1562 men found that men using pygeum experienced reduced trips to the bathroom at night, helping reduce residual urine left in the bladder and improve overall urinary flow.
Pumpkin Seed Extract
Pumpkin seeds – also known as pepitas – have been a men’s health folk remedy for some time, both whole, or as an oil. Both forms are packed with nutrition, including fibre, antioxidants, magnesium, and more.
A study from 2014 found that combining pepitas with saw palmetto oil mitigate BPH, making the combination popular within the industry. One theory as to its effectiveness is attributed to reduced effects of dihydrotestosterone, a metabolite that builds up in the prostate that causes it to grow. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in zinc, which is a critical part of normal prostate function, and keeps zinc levels optimal.
Pumpkin seeds can be consumed daily, eaten raw or cooked, and pumpkin seed oil can be blended with smoothies and drizzled over greens.
Also known as the common nettle, stinging nettle has been used for centuries to soothe the urinary tract and help with prostate problems thanks to its anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties, i.e. increased urine production. It generally works well when combined with other natural remedies or supplements, such as stinging nettle and saw palmetto.
A Prostate-Friendly Diet
While there are a number of natural remedies and herbal extracts that are beneficial for prostate health, a healthy, prostate-friendly diet does wonders. Changing your diet is a common tactic for combating and even preventing BPH symptoms.
Research has found that men with healthier diets - high in fruits and vegetables – had fewer symptoms of BPH and were less likely to develop it. These studies do not point to any one nutrient, fruit or vegetable, but rather to the overall lifestyle associated with a mostly vegetarian diet rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and lycopene.
Medical News Today suggests eating foods known to benefit the prostate: salmon, tomatoes, berries, broccoli, nuts, citrus, onions and garlic. And as part of a diet for an enlarged prostate, here are some foods to avoid: red meat, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and sodium.
Natural men's health supplements are also available to make it easier to stick to a prostate-friendly diet, while also providing a good dose of the natural health remedies mentioned above. Getting the proper nutrients will help keep your prostate gland size in check and reduce those pesky nightly bathroom trips. You deserve a good night’s rest!