The prostate is a gland that produces the fluid which carries sperm during ejaculation. Enlarged prostate is not usually a serious threat to a man's health. In some men, the symptoms are mild and do not require treatment. In others, symptoms can be very troublesome and have a major impact on their quality of life. Prostate enlargement is a common condition associated with ageing. Around 60% of men who are aged 50 to 60 or over have some degree of prostate enlargement.
Complications of prostate enlargement can include urinary tract infections (UTIs) or acute urinary retention (AUR) but serious complications are very rare.
Symptoms may include:
Pygeum has also been shown to contain a wide range of fatty acids, alcohols, and sterols such as beta-sitosterol that have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the urogenital tract. A few studies indicate that consuming between 100 and 200 mg of pygeum extract daily or splitting this into two 50 mg doses twice daily may help reduce BPH symptoms.
Saw palmetto is one the most studied and popular herbal supplements used to treat BPH. Several studies have linked saw palmetto to reduced BPH symptoms. This is most likely because it inhibits the production of testosterone and reduces the size of the inner lining of the prostate.
Babassu or Orbignya speciosa is a species of palm tree native to Brazil. Several indigenous Brazilian tribes and communities use the dried or ground kernels from the tree to treat urogenital symptoms and conditions. Oil from babassu nuts has also been shown to inhibit the production of testosterone, while other parts of the nut contain compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Pumpkin seeds contain beta-sitosterol, a compound similar to cholesterol and found in some plants. Preliminary studies have shown that beta-sitosterol may improve urine flow and reduce the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination. Some studies recommend taking 10 g of pumpkin seed extract daily for BPH symptoms.
Stinging nettle contains similar antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds as pygeum and saw palmetto. Nettle root is sometimes used in combination with saw palmetto. More research is needed, however, to determine whether it is effective.
Green tea has a lot of antioxidants called catechins that have been shown to enhance the immune system and potentially slow the progression of prostate cancer. It is important to keep in mind that green tea contains caffeine. Caffeine can stimulate the bladder and cause a sudden urge to urinate, potentially worsening BPH symptoms.