How to Cope With Enlarged Prostate

Two Parts:Coping with BPH at HomeUsing Home Remedies for BPH

The gradual growth of the prostate gland (called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) is very common in American men and can start as early as the age of 25.[1] By the age of 50, most men experience symptoms related to BPH, such as difficulty initiating and stopping the flow of urine, an increased urgency to urinate, a sense of incomplete bladder emptying, a more frequent need to urinate (especially at night) and painful ejaculation. Learning to cope with the symptoms of an enlarged prostate can certainly make life more enjoyable, although certain home remedies and medications are effective for reducing the symptoms.

Part 1
Coping with BPH at Home

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    Avoid drinking caffeinated and alcoholic beverages in the evening. Caffeine and alcohol are classified as diuretics, which means they affect the muscle tone of the bladder and stimulate the kidneys to produce urine. Since a primary symptom of BPH is increased urgency to urinate, you should avoid drinking caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, especially in the evening.[2] Avoid alcohol and caffeine, especially after dinner.
    • Try not to drink any beverage with caffeine or alcohol within four hours of bedtime, and stop drinking all fluids about two hours prior to heading off to bed.
    • Caffeine is found in coffee, black tea, green tea, hot chocolate, colas, most soft drinks and virtually all energy drinks.
    • Caffeine also increases neuron activity in your brain, which can keep you up at night and acerbate the symptoms of BPH.
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    Avoid taking over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines or decongestants. Many OTC cold and allergy medications, as well as sleep aids, contain antihistamines or other decongestants that can worsen BPH symptoms and trigger more trips to the bathroom.[3] Other types of drugs can also negatively impact BPH symptoms, so review all your medications (OTC and prescriptions) with your doctor and/or pharmacist to be on the safe side.
    • Other problematic drugs include: high blood pressure (hypertension) medication, antispasmodics, antidepressants, and neurological drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease.[4]
    • Your doctor might be able to adjust the dosages or change the schedule for problematic medications, or maybe prescribe different ones that cause fewer urinary problems.
    • Be aware that some drugs also contain caffeine or other diuretics/stimulants, so research the ingredients of all medications that you take.
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    Try to always completely empty your bladder. When urinating, particularly in the evening just prior to bedtime, take the time to completely empty your bladder because it will reduce the need for subsequent trips to the bathroom during the night.[5] This isn't always easy to do with BPH and may take five to 10 minutes, but it helps to prevent sleep disturbance from having to get up every two to three hours.
    • To promote bladder emptying, try sitting down while urinating rather than standing up — it changes the angle of the urethra and can be more relaxing.
    • Other methods to help promote emptying your bladder include: running the water in the bathroom sink, distracting yourself with relaxing music and keeping yourself warm (by wearing slippers or a housecoat) if it's chilly.
    • Consider using the double-voiding technique: after your initial strong stream of urine comes out, wait a moment and then try again to see if more comes out.[6]
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    Take warm Epsom salt baths in the evening. Taking a warm salt bath in the evening can help you cope with the symptoms of BPH in a variety of ways. The magnesium-rich Epsom salt and warm water can be soothing and combat stress, promote sleep, get rid of mild aches and pains, reduce muscle tension and potentially trigger urination.[7] If you do feel the need to go, empty your bladder while in the bath for best results — don't worry, urine is sterile and great for moisturizing skin.
    • At least two cups of Epsom salts should be added to a warm bath for noticeable therapeutic results, but don't make the water too hot (to prevent scalding).
    • Don't soak in the bath for much more than 30 minutes because the salty water will pull fluid from your body and start to dehydrate you.
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    Be active and exercise more. Sitting around too much and being inactive is generally unhealthy, but the lack of circulation and pressure on the pelvis while sitting isn't good for the prostate gland either. Some research suggests that mild exercise, such as walking, may help reduce the symptoms of BPH.[8] Exercising can also reduce stress and muscle tension, which are contributing factors that make it more difficult to urinate normally.
    • Although walking, hiking and swimming are great stress-relieving exercises that can benefit BPH sufferers, avoid cycling — the pressure from the seat can irritate the prostate and make BPH symptoms worse.
    • Lifting heavy weights and straining at the gym can make the symptoms of BPH worse in some men, so focus on less strenuous exercise.
    • Other exercises that may acerbate BPH symptoms include rowing and canoeing.

Part 2
Using Home Remedies for BPH

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    Take beta-sitosterol for BPH. Beta-sitosterol is a cholesterol-like compound found in a variety of plants. Research indicates that beta-sitosterol can significantly improve urinary flow and reduce the amount of residual urine left in the bladder in men with BPH.[9] Researchers didn't find that it shrinks the prostate gland, just that it's able to combat the primary symptoms.
    • Suggested dosages of beta-sitosterol for BPH issues are between 60 to 130 mg per day for many weeks.
    • Beta-sitosterol is also used to lower blood cholesterol levels, which makes it a good option for men who have high cholesterol along with BPH. levels are high.
    • Pumpkin seeds are particularly rich in beta-sitosterol, which is why they are often recommended for men with prostate problems.
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    Try saw palmetto berry extract. Saw palmetto berries have been used for many generations to combat prostate gland problems, including BPH. Several (but not all) studies have concluded that saw palmetto extract can relieve BPH symptoms.[10] The herbal extract works by preventing testosterone from being converted into dihydrotestosterone, which is needed by the male body for the prostate to grow.
    • Recommended dosage is at least 320 mg daily of an extract that's standardized to contain 85 – 95% fatty acids and sterols. It usually takes a few weeks to impact urinary symptoms.
    • Research indicates saw palmetto extract is as effective as some prostate medications, such as finasteride (Proscar) and has fewer side effects.
    • Saw palmetto is very popular in Europe (especially Germany) for treating BPH and other prostate conditions.
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    Consider pygeum for BPH symptoms. Pygeum bark extract (African plum extract) is another old and time-proven remedy for prostate problems. Pygeum has been shown to be an effective treatment for BPH symptoms in men. It is particularly effective in combating nocturia (increased urination at night) and improving the flow of urine.[11] It contains various phytosterols (including beta-sitosterols), which inhibit the production of prostaglandins (inflammatory compounds) in the prostate.
    • Pygeum, although originally discovered in Africa in the 1700s, has been used in Europe (particularly France) to treat BPH since the 1960s.
    • Recommended dosage is between 75 – 200 mg daily. It usually takes a few weeks or more to impact urinary symptoms caused by BPH.
    • Pygeum is available in various capsules, liquid extracts and powder forms, which means concentration and effectiveness varies according to manufacturer.
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    Experiment with rye grass pollen. Rye grass pollen (Secale cereal) is another herbal remedy for BPH that's backed by scientific evidence. More specifically, a couple of studies found that a standardized extract of rye grass pollen improved BPH symptoms, including reducing frequency of nighttime urination (nocturia) and the amount of residual urine left in the bladder.[12] Grass pollen is also able to decrease the size of the prostate (as determined by ultrasound exams in men with BPH).
    • Do not use this remedy if you have allergies to grass pollens.
    • The studies on grass pollen are based on men taking the supplement for between four to six weeks, so don't expect immediate results.


  • If you are heading out to work, school, meeting or concert, plan ahead by cutting down on fluids beforehand and visit the bathroom just prior to leaving.
  • Enzyme inhibitors are drugs that can shrink the prostate by reducing the amount of testosterone converted into dihydrotestosterone — a hormone the prostate needs to grow.[13] Examples include: finasteride (Proscar), dutasteride (Avodart) and botulinum toxin (Botox).
  • While common in the U.S., BPH is much less prevalent elsewhere in other countries, so environment, lifestyle and diet are somehow involved in the development of the condition.[14]
  • Between 50-60% of American men with BPH never develop significant symptoms, although the lives of some are severely affected by the condition.[15]
  • Try not to postpone urination until the very last minute. An over-distended bladder can make urinating more difficult.
  • Alpha blockers are drugs that cause muscles around the bladder to relax, making it easier to urinate. Examples include: These Terazosin (Hytrin), doxazosin (Cardura), tamsulosin (Flomax) and alfuzosin (Uroxatral).

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Categories: Men's Health