What are alternative medicines for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) treatment?
Patients with chronic conditions are often tempted to try alternative treatments, including herbs and other nontraditional therapies. It is certainly possible that some herbal medicines may be helpful, but no one should take any herbal medication or attempt to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia without first consulting a physician.
Saw Palmetto. Saw Palmetto is derived from the berry of the plant Serenoa repens. As with all herbal remedies, saw palmetto is not regulated. A private testing group reported that saw palmetto products sold in major drugstore and health food chains (CVS, GNC, Centrum, Celestial Seasonings, Natrol, Nature's Way, Bayer, Walmart, Walgreen's, Amway, and others) met quality requirements. Saw palmetto appears to be as effective as to finasteride (Proscar) in reducing symptoms and increasing urinary flow and to have fewer side effects. (Alpha-blockers are more effective than saw palmetto, however.) Saw palmetto does not cause impotence, which occurs in some men taking finasteride. There have been reports of increased bleeding during surgery with the use of this herb. Gastrointestinal problems have been reported and the herb may aggravate chronic gastrointestinal diseases, such as peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux, and ulcerative colitis. Some experts suggest it be taken with food. Some experts believe that saw palmetto, purchased from a reliable store, is a safe and possibly effective option for men with mild to moderate symptoms from benign prostatic hyperplasia who are seeking a natural product with no known major side effects to date.
Beta-Sitosterol Preparations. Beta-sitosterol preparations (e.g., Harzol) are derived from South African star grass, Hypoxis rooperi, and other plant species. They have been shown to improve urinary symptoms and flow in four well-conducted studies. They may increase the risk for impotence, however. Long-term effectiveness and safety are unknown. Standardized preparations and comparison trials with standard agents are needed.
Pygeum Africanum. Pygeum Africanum (Tadenan) is an extract from the bark of an African plum tree. In an analysis of 18 trials, the agent provided a moderate improvement in urinary symptoms compared to placebo. Side effects were mild. The studies were small and of short duration, however. The preparations used were also not standardized, and comparison trials with standard agents are needed.
More information on benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
What is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? - Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy, is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland that occurs in almost all men as they age.
What causes benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? - Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is probably a normal part of the aging process in men, caused by changes in hormone balance and cell-growth factors.
What are the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia? - Initial symptoms of BPH include difficulty starting to urinate and a feeling of incomplete urination. Urinary tract infections cause burning or pain during urination, and possibly fever.
How does the doctor diagnose benign prostate hyperplasia? - Patients will be asked about their symptoms and may also be asked to fill out a symptom questionnaire to let the doctor know the nature of the symptoms and how troublesome they are.
Who is associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia? - Age is the major risk factor. A family history of BPH appears to increase a man's chance of developing the condition. Diabetes, in any case, worsens urinary tract symptoms in men with BPH.
How is benign prostate hyperplasia treated? - Treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) focuses on reducing your symptoms. Treatment is based on how severe your symptoms are, how much they bother you, and whether complications are present.
What're lifestyle measures for managing benign prostate hyperplasia? - Certain lifestyle changes can help relieve symptoms and are particularly important for men who choose to avoid surgery or drug therapy. Men with BPH should avoid, if possible, the many medications for colds and allergy that contain decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).
What kinds of medicines are used for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) treatment? - Alpha-blockers relax smooth muscles, especially in the urinary tract and prostate. They include terazosin (Hytrin), doxazosin (Cardura), tamsulosin (Flomax), and alfuzosin (Xatral). 5-alpha-reductate inhibitors are a group of anti-androgens. In other words, they block male hormones, particularly dihydrotestosterone.
What are alternative medicines for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) treatment? - Some herbal medicines may be helpful, but no one should take any herbal medication or attempt to treat BPH without first consulting a physician.
What kind of surgery is available for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) treatment? - An operation on the prostate will involve the removal of parts of the enlarged tissue. The most effective surgical procedures, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and open prostatectomy, are also the most invasive.
Are there other more gentle surgical treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? - Microwave thermotherapy reduces the size of the prostate by causing cells in the centre of the prostate to die. Another endoscopic treatment, in which part of the prostate tissue is removed with laser energy.
How to choose between treatment and watchful waiting for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? - The choice between watchful waiting and treatment usually depends on a number of factors, such as urine flow rates, prostate size, and PSA levels.
How to decide between surgery and medication for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? - If a man opts for treatment, there are a number of choices. Medications are the best choice for patients with mild symptoms who decide to have their condition treated. Men with moderate to severe symptoms still have good choices among drugs and surgeries.