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Prostate Health Main Page

"Naturopathic solutions for a healthy prostate"

Index:
When to go to the doctor
Prostatitis
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Bicycle riding and prostate health

Prostate specific antigen (PSA)
Prostate Cancer
Prostadydia (pain)

When to go to the doctor

General Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Disease
If you have any of these symptoms you need to see your MD, ND or DO! Please read through the following signs and symptoms carefully.
  • Difficulty with urination, with symptoms of irritation or blockage (obstruction). Symptoms of blockage include a weak stream of urine, passing water for a long time, or hesitancy - a feeling of not being able to start urinating. 
  • Dribble at the end of urination, or a feeling of not completely emptying your bladder. Wetting of underwear.
  • Symptoms of irritation include feelings of urgency (needing to go right away), or very often, including the frequent passing water at night.
  • Pain (perineal, on urination, testicular, ejaculatory, lower abdominal)
  • Sense of rectal fullness
  • Fever
  • Low back pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Sexual dysfunction

 

Prostatitis

What is prostatitis? 
Prostatitis literally means inflammation of the prostate gland. It can be acute or longstanding (chronic) and can be caused by either bacteria or other less well know factors. The bacterial version is caused by infection of the prostate with bacteria like E. Coli and the non bacterial is basically inflammation of the prostate without bacteria present.

Signs and Symptoms: 
Perineal pain (bicycle seat area), low back pain, or bladder pain, fever, and pain on urination. If the acutely inflamed prostate swells it may impede urine flow, leading to urinary retention. Acute bacterial prostatitis presents with high fevers and a warm and tender prostate. 

What should you Do?
If you think you have prostatitis see your doctor for an examination, urinalysis and a bacterial culture. 

Naturopathic Treatment:

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis

  • General immune support (bed rest, fluids, Echinacea, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, dilute HCL injections, etc)
  • Probiotics for prevention of antibiotic induced diarrhea and alteration of gut flora
  • Sitz bath twice a day alternating with hot and cold water (always end with cold)
  • Antibiotics are often indicated

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

  • Prostate massage can help
  • Various plant derived medicines can be helpful. Some of these include Kampo (traditional Japanese medicines), flower pollen (Cernilton), quercetin, tumeric, and many antimicrobial plants such as Thuja (western cedar), Berberis aquifolium (oregon grape) and oregano essential oil.
  • Avoid irritating foods such as alcohol (especially hard liquor) and coffee. 
  • Avoid inflammation promoting foods such as excess animal fat, highly processed foods, low fiber foods and high glycemic foods.
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods such as cold water fish, flax oil, ginger, soy, pineapple, apples, onions, grapes, citrus, virgin olive oil, and fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries).

Supplements for Various Types of Prostatitis

Acute Chronic Non bacterial Prostadynia
Vit C Zinc* Quercetin Quercetin
Zinc* Pygeum Bromelain Bromelain
    Cernilton Cernilton
    Zinc*  
    Saw palmetto  

*Zinc is concentrated in the prostate gland and may act as an antibacterial agent. Low levels of prostatic zinc have been detected in men with chronic prostatitiis but the efficacy of taking zinc has not been proven.

Contact us for naturopathic advice.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

What is BPH?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is common condition of excessive growth of normal prostate tissue. Hormonal factors are thought to be the part of the cause. It tends to get worse as we age and may part of the normal aging process. Whereas prostatic cancers originate in the peripheral zone of the prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia originates in the periurethral (center) and transition zones. There is still debate as to whether benign prostatic hyperplasia is a normal (aging) or a real disease.

What is the prostate?
The normal prostate gland weighs only about an ounce and is about the same size and shape as a walnut. The prostate's main function in life is to produce prostatic fluid which helps deliver the sperm during ejaculation. Most of the volume of semen is in fact prostatic fluid not sperm.

 

 

 

Signs and Symptoms:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia may be the cause of both obstructive and irritative urinary symptoms. It may also be without symptoms. Obstructive symptoms include decreased force and size of the urine stream and hesitation. Irritative symptoms, which may be a consequence of bladder problems, include frequent urination (day or night), and urgency. Your doctor will likely perform a digital rectal examination that may reveal enlargement of the prostate. Further evaluation (transrectal ultrasound and possible biopsy) may be indicated. The size of the prostate may not correlate with either the symptoms or signs of the disorder or the need for treatment.

What should you do?
If you think might have BPH see your MD, ND, or DO for a work up.  It might be a good idea to have a male hormone panel done because both testosterone AND estrogen imbalances may exacerbate BPH.  PSA, which is often elevated, should be measured to screen for prostate cancer. The PSA level must be divided by the volume of the prostate to get an accurate picture of risk.

More on prostate specific antigen (PSA)
Prostate specific antigen is a normal constituent of semen. Normal prostate and hyperblastic (BPH) tissue produce more PSA than cancerous prostatic tissue. PSA is not specific for cancer. A high PSA could be caused by infection, prostate enlargement, exercise, prostate massage or even urine retention. Blood PSA levels are higher in cancer because there are more cells producing it. PSA is detected in the blood because it leaks out due to tissue abnormalities within the prostate. The main known biological function of PSA is to increase sperm motility.

PSA is also age dependent, as we get older the PSA tends to increase. The rate at which PSA goes up is as important as the absolute value. The value of the PSA test in early detection of cancer is based on establishing a baseline PSA value and  measuring the PSA yearly to observe changes from the baseline value. The following is a guideline of "normal" values adjusted for age:

  • Age 40-49       0.0-2.5 ng/ml
  • Age 50-59       0.0-3.5 ng/ml
  • Age 60-69       0.0-4.5 ng/ml
  • Age 70-79       0.0-6.5 ng/ml

Naturopathic Treatments
If you have mild or moderate symptoms naturopathic treatments can be used alone. If the prostate volume is over 60cc naturopathic treatments should be used in conjunction with conventional treatments. 

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine
  • Avoid liquids within two hours of going to bed, to reduce nighttime urination
  • Avoid foods of animal origin. They have been linked to BPH.
  • Eat cold water fish or fish oil
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Eat soy (if not allergic)

Natural medicines for BPH (in order of importance)

Nutritional supplements Plant derived medicines
Glycine, alanine, glutamic acid combination Saw palmetto
Fish oil Rye pollen extract (Cernilton)
Beta sitosterol
Urtica (nettle)
Pumkin seeds
Epilobium parviflorum

Contact us for naturopathic advice.

Does it hurt the prostate to ride a bicycle?
Most of us have heard this rumor but there is nothing in the medical literature to back it up. Riding a bicycle can elevate PSA but there is no evidence that that riding harm the gland in any way. The rise in PSA is most notable in individuals who already have an elevated value. The mechanical trauma probably causes more PSA to escape into the blood. One condition caused by cycling is the Alcock syndrome. This is the temporary penile insensitivity due to compression of the pudendal nerve within the Alcock canal. 

If anything it is likely to do your prostate more good to ride because increasing circulation to the pelvic area and combating athersclerosis are prostate friendly goals.

Prostate Cancer  

Prostatic cancer is the most common cancer detected in American men. Most prostatic cancers are detected in men without symptoms upon routine examination. 

More than 40% of men over 50 years of age are found to have prostate cancer. Most such unoticed cancers are small and contained within the prostate gland, not spreading to other parts of the body.  The incidence of prostatic cancer increases with age. About 30% of men age 6069 will have prostate cancer. At autopsy 67% in men aged 8089 years have it. 

Studies suggest that environmental or dietary factors among populations may be affect prostate cancer growth. A 50-year-old American man has a lifetime risk of 40% for a slow growing cancer, 9.5% for developing clinically apparent cancer, and a 2.9% risk of death due to prostatic cancer. 

Signs and symptoms:
Symptoms like difficulty urinating are most often due to BPH, which occurs in the same age group. However, large tumors can cause difficulty urinating. Lymph node metastases can lead to leg swelling. Back pain or unexpected fractures should always be looked into to because this can be a sign of metastasis.

What should you do?
Naturopathic physicians must work with an oncologist when treating aggressive prostate cancer. We do not directly treat cancer, rather we try to improve the outcome of conventional therapies. This is known as adjunctive treatment.  Often mainstream medicine will apply the concept of watchful waiting because most men do not die of prostate cancer. Factors such a age, Gleason score, and family history should be considered in a discussion between you, your oncologist/urologist and naturopathic doctor.

In naturopathy we use the term "watchful waiting plus" meaning that along with watching we also begin safe natural treatments to help slow the progression of the disease and prevent metastasis. Unfortunately very little clinical data exists to back up this approach. 

The Gleason score and staging
The Gleason score reflects the degree of abnormality of the cells at biopsy. The higher the number the worse the prognosis. Staging indicates the extent of the disease spread. The stages run from A (no symptoms) to D with D indicating metastasis to lymph nodes.

Prevention of Prostate Cancer 

Nutrition Plant medicines Other
Less than 20% of calories from fat. Eat animal fat sparingly. Camellia sinensis (green tea) Get adequate sleep
Eat flax seed (not oil!) Sliybum marianum (milk thistle seed) Maintain a good ability to deal with stress
Eat  soy Curcumin (Tumeric) Maintain adequate melatonin levels though diet and quality sleep
Increase fruit and vegetables Serenoa repens (saw palmetto)  
Selenium Urtica doica (nettle)  
Vitamin E Numerous Asian Immunomudulating plants such as rhodialo, Panax ginseng, Ocimun sanctum, and Grifola. 

 

 
Lycopene (tomatoes)    
Vitamin A    
Vitamin D    

Naturopathic Support for Prostate Cancer

If you choose to bring in an ND for Co-treatment this is what you can expect:

  • referral to a friendly urologist for biopsy, ultrasound etc
  • extensive discussion of results and options
  • supportive care pre and post surgery
  • reduction of side effects from conventional therapies (hormones, radiation)
  • detailed nutritional advice
  • regular evaluations and follow tests
  • assessment of family risk

Nutrition

Foods to avoid

  • alcohol
  • sugar
  • dairy products
  • calcium
  • red meat and other sources of animal fat
  • fried foods
  • flax oil (it "may" promote tumor growth)

Foods to eat more of

  • green tea
  • soy legumes and whole grains
  • broccoli sprouts 
  • tomato
  • olive oil
  • fish and fish oil
  • vegetables 
  • pumpkin seeds
  • soy (genstein inhibits tumor growth)

Naturopathic support for radiation treatment

  • ibuprofen
  • niacin
  • squalene
  • vitamin A
  • MSM
  • quercetin
  • Withania (ashwanganda, an Ayurvedic herb)

Surgical support 

  • vitamin A
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C
  • Modified citrus pectin
  • bioflavanoids

Contact us for naturopathic advice.

Prostadynia 

Signs and symptoms
Prostadynia can have all the symptoms of prostatitis and accounts for 30% of prostate related pain. No bacteria are found on cultures or in the urine, prostate massage specimens and semen have no white blood cells when examined under the microscope.  Antibiotics are not effective for prostadynia. This condition also is known as noninflammatory chronic pelvic pain syndrome. The exact cause is unknown.  It may result from spasm of the pelvic muscles brought on by stress or anxiety. 

Naturopathic treatment

  • Relaxation and mindfulness exercises
  • Cernilton (flower pollen)
  • Quercetin with papain or bromelain
  • Prostate massage may help

Contact us for naturopathic advice.

How to perform prostate massage: 

Using the index finger the patient's partner finds the median groove of the prostate that separates the lateral lobes. Once the patient is "relaxed" the massage is started.
It is started from the lateral margin of the superior portion of the selected lobe. Begin with slow, gentle pressure and build up to increasing intensity up to the pain threshold. Pressure is maintained by moving from the lateral margin towards the groove. Pressure is decreased as the finger moves toward the center of the gland. The procedure is applied consistently covering the entire lobe up to the lower section. The same procedure is performed on the other side.
Prostate massage clears congested ducts filled with inflammatory debris and may improve the penetration of antimicrobials into previously blocked zones.  It can also improve circulation and muscle tone .

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