Prostate Problems

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Finding a good herbalist

As you will already know if you have been doing some research into this area, both the diagnosis and treatment of prostate problems present complex and often conflicting viewpoints.

Much of what's written in this article is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist or truly holistic practitioner to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here

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Benign prostatic hypertrophy

A great many men suffer from the symptoms of an enlarged prostate in some form or another. Ageing eventually imposes a number of indignities on the flesh and, for men, it is a statistical guarantee that, if he lives long enough, his prostate will eventually swell to a point that he starts noticing its affects!

The science and symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) are already well published online from numerous sources, this article aims to identify several common factors that cause or worsen BPH and describe some safe, practical steps to help.

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Metabolic syndrome

Top of the list for what brings about a premature problem in the prostate is something called the 'metabolic syndrome'. In a nutshell, this is a very common, genetically inherited tendency to over-produce the hormone insulin in response to excess carbohydrates in the diet.

There is a very well proven cause-and-effect connection between high insulin levels and an escalation of other male hormones that directly contribute to both BPH and, potentially, prostate cancer.

If, along with whatever urinary symptoms might be happening, you have any of the following:

a) a tendency to a round belly, i.e. the 'apple' shape
b) high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol
c) a diet high in carbohydrates i.e. bread, rice, potatoes, pasta etc.

then consider the possibility that you have the metabolic syndrome and that this may be the key driver for your prostate problems. The good news is that the metabolic syndrome is entirely treatable if you are ready to make some lasting changes in your diet. This whole subject is covered in depth here


common signs of the metabolic syndrome

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Zinc deficiency

Research has shown that people with BPH have a much higher likelihood of being deficient in zinc. For example, in a 2011 study put out by the Indian Journal of Urology, 83% of the men with prostate cancer had lower than normal levels of zinc and 61% of the men with BPH had lower than normal levels -- the full study may be found here if you copy it into your browser http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3114577/

You don't need a lot of zinc to correct a deficiency and the old folk-remedy for prostate problems of eating plenty of pumpkin seeds may well have helped because of the especially high zinc levels in this food.

Egg yolks are another excellent source of zinc and you should know that eating eggs truly is good for you despite a number of enduring myths...a somewhat related page on cholesterol found here.

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Herbs for BPH

If the zinc levels are ok and there is no issue with the metabolic syndrome, then the prostate may simply be enlarging as a part of the normal ageing process. If this is the case, use certain herbs that have been well-proven to reduce symptoms of night-time wakening, difficulty controlling or stopping urine flow etc.

Nettles

Top of the list of herbs for most men is the herb Nettles, which may be taken in a variety of forms to help. Some practitioners prefer to use the seeds, others the roots and others the most traditional form, which is the leaves.

We have not yet been able to work with the seeds due to a lack of availability but both root and leaves have been found effective, so long as they are taken in a strong enough dose for long enough to see a significant difference, best measured over a few weeks rather than a few days. Read more about this most helpful herb here

Burdock

Second on the list could be the deep-acting Burdock root. This is another common herb that has been famous since antiquity as a 'blood-purifier'. Again, if taken over a reasonable time frame, Burdock has a potent tonic and restorative action on the urinary tract system as a whole, read more here

Juniper

In many ways, Juniper berry is our most important 'kidney' herb. A man who has experienced poor urinary health because of an enlarged prostate will surely see the value in flushing out their system and this is precisely what Juniper excels at doing. It may not be necessary to take it for so long as Nettles or Burdock but, it used correctly, it will reliably activate and cleanse the entire urinary system, more here.


Urtica dioica (Nettles)

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Prostate cancer

Everything discussed above may improve the symptoms and general outlook for prostate cancer but now, of course, we are dealing with a much more worrying prospective and all options, including serious medical interventions, need to be considered.

That said, if this is you, then I'm sure you already know that many prostate cancers are extremely slow growing and that there is a legitimate 'wait and watch' approach that many clinicians, including urologists, will advocate.

Given that 'wait and watch' is where many men with prostate cancer find themselves, there is a strong argument for taking steps to try to at least prevent any development of the cancer, if not to even beat it back.

Some men will elect to use hormonal drugs for this purpose and, whilst this may be a good option for some, it can be seen that for some men the side effects of such drugs are too disruptive to continue on in good conscience. Fortunately, there are other, legitimate options.


Echinacea angustifolia

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Immune health

Supporting and strengthening the immune system will make a great deal of difference to the long-term outlook for any man with prostate cancer. For example, certain key herbs, such as Echinacea, Astragalus, and Reishi mushroom, have consistently shown excellent results with many men with respect to their long-term symptom development and PSA levels.

If a man has prostate cancer, then he must give the overall health of his immune system the highest priority, this is covered in much more depth here and some further thoughts on the difficult subject of cancer in general are expressed here.


blood cells under dark-field microscopy ((used to help assess treatment effects)

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Coffee & the prostate

Prostate cancer does not come about because of a deficiency in coffee but nonetheless studies have clearly shown that you are significantly less likely to get prostate cancer if you are a regular coffee drinker, with or without the caffeine, more here.

Constitutional health note

Finally, you might benefit from learning about your constitution to know what kind of foods, herbs, exercises etc. will work especially well for your health in general.

There is a brief introduction to the subject here and a more detailed section on working out which constitution you are here.

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!

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© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd