An enlarged prostate can cause urinary and sexual difficulties. However, several natural remedies and lifestyle changes, such as double voiding and exercise, can slow or stop prostate growth.
Prostate enlargement, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), occurs when an accumulation of androgens prevents prostatic cell death and promotes cell proliferation, increasing the size of the prostate gland. BPH is not usually a severe health threat, although it can affect a person’s quality of life.
If prostate gland enlargement begins to cause symptoms, a person may consider certain home remedies, such as saw palmetto, or changes in behavior, such as limiting fluid intake before bed, that can help to ease urinary symptoms.
In this article, we detail 10 natural remedies for an enlarged prostate and discuss its causes and risk factors.
The severity of a person’s BPH symptoms will determine their treatment options. If the condition is negatively affecting the person’s quality of life, doctors may prescribe medications, such as alpha-blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, or even surgical intervention.
Alpha-blockers help reduce BPH symptoms by relaxing muscles in the urethra and the neck of the bladder, which can improve urine flow.
The drug 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is an androgen that prevents the death of prostate cells and promotes their proliferation. Through these effects, it increases the size of the prostate gland. Inhibiting the production of this androgen can help slow or stop prostate growth.
Read on to learn more about medical treatments for an enlarged prostate.
However, some people may wish to try
1. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Saw palmetto is a palm native to the southeastern United States. The extract of this plant is a popular herbal supplement for the treatment of BPH.
Saw palmetto is an inhibitor of 5-alpha-reductase. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the number of estrogen and androgen (DHT) receptors.
Read on to learn more about saw palmetto for BPH.
2. Rye grass pollen (Secale cereale)
Cernilton is a common branded rye grass pollen pharmaceutical. This medication
However, despite some older research suggesting benefit, contemporary research has not shown grass pollen extract to influence BPH symptoms in any large-scale scientific studies. Therefore, further research is necessary to establish the efficacy of this natural remedy.
3. Stinging nettle
Stinging nettle contains similar antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds as pygeum and saw palmetto. In fact, natural treatments for various urinary disorders often use nettle root in combination with saw palmetto.
A 2019 review found that nettle root extracts can effectively reduce BPH symptoms and improve the overall quality of life of people with the condition.
4. Pygeum africanum (Prunus africana)
Pygeum africanum extract comes from the bark of the African plum tree. This extract possesses substances that may have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the urogenital system. The urogenital system comprises the urinary and genital organs.
Additionally, other alternatives are more environmentally friendly, as the current overharvesting of pygeum bark is threatening the survival of the species.
Lycopene is a naturally occurring pigment present in many fruits and vegetables. A pilot study found that the daily consumption of lycopene-enriched extra virgin olive oil improved prostate health and reduced prostate-specific antigen levels.
Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene available to most people, but a few other fruits and vegetables contain lower levels of this antioxidant. Usually, the deeper the color of a pink or red fruit or vegetable, the higher its lycopene content.
Other sources of lycopene include:
6. Green tea
While most evidence suggests that green tea may provide protective benefits against prostate cancer, it may also help with BPH. For example, a 2022 study suggests that a combination of natural products, including green tea, may help to reduce the development and progression of BPH
Read on to learn more about green tea and BPH.
Estrogen inhibits the uptake of zinc in the intestines. As a person’s estrogen levels increase with age, their intake of zinc decreases.
Taking zinc supplements or increasing the dietary intake of zinc can lower a person’s risk of having a zinc deficiency. Zinc can also decrease the production of DHT and inhibit this androgen from binding to receptors, potentially reducing BPH symptoms.
Poultry, seafood, and several seeds and nuts, such as sesame and pumpkin seeds, contain zinc.
Soy is an inhibitor of 5-alpha-reductase and a low potency estrogen. Soy may block the receptor sites that the stronger estrogens use to increase the accumulation of DHT. As such, the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians suggests that including soy in a dietary plan can help to reduce the risk of BPH.
Sources of soy include tofu, edamame, and tempeh.
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the action of compounds that play a role in prostate inflammation.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Read on to learn more about the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
Cranberries contain phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory properties. A
Additionally, a 2020 pilot study suggests a solution containing cranberry and other natural extracts could be beneficial for individuals living with BPH that are experiencing urinary symptoms.
People can take steps to manage the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. These can include:
- attempting to urinate at least once before leaving the home to avoid urinary leakage or other potentially stressful incidents in public
- double voiding, which involves trying to urinate a few minutes after urinating the first time to drain the bladder as much as possible during bathroom visits
- trying not to drink fluids in the 2 hours before bedtime to avoid going to sleep with a full bladder
- maintaining a moderate body weight
- exercising regularly
- avoiding or limiting products that cause dehydration, such as cold medications and decongestants
- using absorbent urinary pads or pants to absorb urine leaks and decrease wetness and discomfort
- using urinary sheaths, which are condom-shaped and fit over the penis, to drain urine into a small bag strapped to the leg
- following urination with a urethral massage, which involves gently pressing the fingers upward from the base of the scrotum to try to squeeze out any urine remaining in the urethra and prevent any leakage later
- limiting the intake of saturated fats, which are in red meat, fried foods, and dairy products
- eating plenty of natural plants, particularly those rich in beta-sitosterol, such as green leafy vegetables, rice bran, wheat germ, peanuts, corn oils, nuts, and soybeans
- avoiding dietary supplements or environmental exposures that may increase circulating hormone levels, such as pesticides, herbicides, and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)-rich dairy products
- avoiding drugs that include dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenedione, testosterone, and human growth hormone
In the vast majority of cases, BPH is idiopathic, meaning that it has no known cause. Doctors and researchers are still trying to determine exactly how and why some people’s prostate cells start to divide abnormally.
As most cases of BPH affect people over 50 years of age, experts believe that BPH is related to hormonal changes, specifically those that occur naturally with age. These include changes in the levels of testosterone, estrogen, and DHT.
Factors that can increase the risk of an enlarged prostate include:
Most males have a 50% chance of having BPH by the age of 60 years and a 90% chance by the age of 85 years.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) note that there is no link between BPH and prostate cancer. They add that having BPH
Several types of foods and nutrients can reduce or trigger BPH and its associated symptoms.
Foods that may be beneficial for people with BPH include:
- fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, legumes, beans, and dark, leafy greens
- fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, which are usually dark red, yellow, or orange
- foods rich in zinc, such as eggs, most types of seafood, and nuts
- products that contain phytoestrogens, such as soy foods, chickpeas, alfalfa, and fava beans
Foods that people with BPH, or those at risk of developing it, should avoid or limit include:
Making dietary changes may help people manage or prevent an enlarged prostate and any resulting symptoms.
Read on to learn more about foods that may help with an enlarged prostate.
Some frequently asked questions about naturally shrinking the prostate include:
What shrinks the prostate naturally?
Natural remedies, such as soy, green tea, pygeum, grass pollen, and saw palmetto, may help to naturally shrink the prostate in some people. Other strategies, such as behavioral changes may also help to shrink the prostate naturally.
What is the best natural remedy to shrink an enlarged prostate?
The best remedies to naturally shrink an enlarged prostate will include a combination of behavioral changes, such as double voiding, exercise, and limiting liquid intake before bed, and following a healthy dietary plan.
How can a person improve prostate function naturally?
Tips to improve prostate health and function can include regular exercise to maintain a suitable weight, consuming a healthy eating plan, maintaining hydration, quitting smoking, and managing stress.
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