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1 November 2004
Herbal Help For Enlarged Prostate
by George Atkinson

The symptoms of an enlarged prostate (referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia) can range from a weak, slow urinary stream, hesitancy and straining to urinate, an inability to empty the bladder completely, to more serious complications including recurrent urinary tract infections. Most men will experience some degree of benign prostatic hyperplasia in older age although around half of men with this condition may never develop any symptoms. This month, the Harvard Men's Health Watch newsltter examined the safety and effectiveness of several herbs commonly used to reduce benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms and offers practical lifestyle tips that can ease living with this prostate problem.

Among herbal remedies, saw palmetto appeared to be the most promising. An analysis of studies done on this herb found that saw palmetto reduced nighttime urination by 25% and other annoying complaints by 28%. Side effects with saw palmetto were reported as minimal.

The newsletter also offers a few simple tips that can help men deal with benign prostatic hyperplasia. These include:

  • Reducing consumption of fluids, particularly after the evening meal.
  • Limiting consumption of alcohol and caffeine as both increase urine flow.
  • Avoiding medications that stimulate muscles in the bladder and prostate, as well as medications that weaken bladder contractions.
  • Always take up the chance to use the bathroom, even if the bladder doesn't feel full.

More information is available from http://www.health.harvard.edu/men

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