What alternative treatment therapies are available for prostatitis?Prostatitis can be difficult to treat. Acute, chronic, or nonbacterial prostatitis are inflammatory and/or infectious conditions that can be treated naturally with lifestyle changes, nutritional support, and herbal medicine, in some cases. The key to this approach is the elimination of inflammatory agents from the diet while supplementing with anti-inflammatory nutrients,
foods, and herbs. Naturopathic methods may be applied with antibiotics and may even improve their effectiveness.
- Drink copious amounts of water to help keep the system flushed.
- Use medicinal herbs with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties such as Echinacea, Goldenseal, and Garlic, to help reduce inflammation and knock out infection.
- Begin a daily regimen of vitamin and mineral supplements that include antioxidants, vitamins A,C, E, Beta-carotene and Selenium. Also 60 mg. of Zinc Picolinate if symptoms are present, otherwise, 30 mg. would be sufficient.
- Cranberry juice has properties that dislodge bacteria from the bladder wall so that loose invading bacteria are washed away. Cranberry juice may help to prevent infection from spreading to the bladder from the prostate and vice versa. Can be taken as a juice, or as chewable tablets. Take 1 tablet 3X/day.
- Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, helps increase circulation in the prostate while helping to relax and open the urinary tract. Sit in a tub full of the hottest water you can tolerate for 15-30 minutes. Cold soaks may also be therapeutic, and should be alternated with hot soaks. Also recommended are hot and cold packs applied to the prostate area (between the scrotum and anus), the hot to cold ratio should be 4:1, 2-3X/day. *NOTE* Hot soaks are not recommended for acute infection or inflammation.
- Relax and try to reduce stress. Learn stress management techniques and employ enjoyable exercise. Use herbs like Valerian, Crampbark, and Scullcap to help relax muscles.
- Eat lightly. Whole grains, steamed vegetables, fresh fruits, herb teas and tinctures, such as Saw Palmetto and Siberian Ginseng, are good for the male reproductive system. Buchu, Saw Palmetto and Pipsissewa are great genito-urinary tonics and astringents that help strengthen and heal, as well as having anti-microbial actions. Couch Grass, Watermelon Seed and Pipsissewa are natural diuretics that help flush urine, prevent urine build-up, and provide support for other preventive methods. Echinacea and Siberian Ginseng are immune-system enhancers that help the bodies natural defense system build resistance. Comfrey, Couch Grass and Marshmallow have demulcent properties to help sooth and protect.
- Last, but not least, do your Kegel exercises faithfully.
Supplements are intended to provide nutritional support. Because a supplement or a recommended dose may not be appropriate for all persons, a physician (e.g., a licensed naturopathic physician or holistic MD or DO) should be consulted before using any product. Recommended doses follow:
- Bromelain (proteolytic enzymes)-Take 400 mg 3 times daily away from meals. Proteolytic enzymes have anti-inflammatory properties and can potentize the effectiveness of antibiotics.
- Vitamin C-Take 500-1000 mg 3 times daily.
- Vitamin E-Take 400 IUs daily.
- Flaxseed meal-Grind 2-4 tablespoons daily. Flaxseed meal is a better choice due to its fiber, lignan, and vitamin content, but flaxseed oil (1 tbsp daily) can be substituted.
- Probiotics-If antibiotics are taken, supplement with probiotics, such as acidophilus, to replenish the beneficial gut flora.
- Quercetin-Has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Selenium-Is an antioxidant. May be more effective when taken with vitamin E.
- Zinc-Take 30 mg daily. Zinc is vital to the health of the prostate, which concentrates and secretes zinc. Zinc also prevents infections.
Herbal medicines usually do not have side effects when used appropriately and at suggested doses. Occasionally, an herb at the prescribed dose causes stomach upset or a headache. This may reflect the purity of the preparation or added ingredients, such as synthetic binders or fillers. For this reason, it is recommended that only high-quality products be used. As with all medications, more is not better and overdosing can lead to serious illness and death. These herbs may be used to treat prostatitis and associated urinary tract infections:
- Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva ursi)-Acts as a diuretic and antiseptic for the urinary tract system.
- Echinacea and goldenseal-Used to treat infections due to their antiviral and antibacterial properties.
- Flower pollen extract-Follow product directions. It has been used in Europe for over 25 years to treat prostatitis. Flower pollen is not the same as bee pollen.
- Pellitory of the Wall (Parietaria diffusa)-Has anti-inflammatory action in the urinary tract.
- Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)-Provides a tonic effect on the prostate and the urinary tract.