Healthy Prostate through Diet, Lifestyle, and Chinese Herbal Medicine

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Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland in men. The exact cause is not known, although it is thought to be due to hormone fluctuations, especially testosterone. BPH can be seen in men as young as 40, and affects the majority of men who reach 80 years old.

The prostate gland is a small, walnut-sized organ that sits below the bladder and surrounds the urethra (the duct connected to the bladder through which urine passes out of the body). Its main function is to secrete prostate fluid, one of the fluids that protects sperm during ejaculation. Due to its close proximity to the urethra, the prostate gland has a significant effect on urination. When the prostate gland is enlarged, it can squeeze the urethra, restricting the flow of urine. Some of the symptoms of enlarged prostate are the feeling of incomplete emptying after urination, frequent urination (every 2 hours or less), stopping and starting again during urination, difficulty controlling the retention of urine, weak urinary stream, having to push or strain during urination, and nighttime urination. 

The best medicine is prevention. If you already have BPH, proper diet can greatly decrease the symptoms.  In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, when using MerryHerb’s Prostate Health herbal formula (http://www.merryherb.com/prostatehealth-p/f-prostatehealth.htm), most men can see improvement in their symptoms within 2-3 weeks. This is an all-natural herbal formula which contains 12 different Chinese herbal ingredients that work together to decrease symptoms and promote prostate health. The Prostate Health formula is gentle, with no side-effects. On average we recommend taking this formula for 4-6 months, until your symptoms are stable. After that, you can continue to take the herbs at a lower dose for maintenance. If you are currently taking a prescription medication, it is advised that you continue to take it as prescribed. With MerryHerb’s prostate health formula, you may be able to decrease your prescription medication over time, but always under your doctor’s supervision.

Here are some self-care tips for those who suffer from BPH:

  • Avoid fatty foods, especially trans-fats (margarines, fried fast foods, etc) – trans fats can interfere with the production of hormones

  • Eat soy (preferably non-gmo or organic soy), ground flax seed, and pumpkin seeds

  • Eat fruits and vegetables rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, such as dark leafy vegetables, oranges, any fruit or vegetable with a bright color

  • Limit fluid intake at least 2 hours before bedtime to avoid interrupting sleep to urinate

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can increase urine production

  • Urinate when you feel the urge, don’t wait

  • Stay warm – cold temperatures increase the chance of urine retention

  • Avoid sugar and processed foods. Sugar causes inflammation and weight gain in the body, which can make BPH worse. It’s been found that being overweight causes a decline in testosterone levels, which affects prostate health. Sugar is hidden in most processed foods. In addition, processed foods don’t have nearly as much nutritional value as whole foods in their natural state.

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Teresa is a California licensed acupuncturist in San Francisco, CA

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