Benign prostatic hyperplasia or “BPH” is a condition of prostate gland enlargement often leading to bothersome urinary symptoms (Untergasser 2005; Harvard Health 2012; Mayo Clinic 2011; Merck Manual 2008; NKUDIC 2012). It primarily affects older men: about 25% of men in their 40s have BPH, but this increases to more than 80% between the ages of 70 and 79. According to 2007 data, BPH is responsible for 1.9 million doctor’s visits and more than 202 000 trips to the emergency department (Sarma 2012).
Benign prostatic hyperplasia can cause significant urinary symptoms in men. In fact, more than 50% of men in their 60s and approximately 90% of men over the age of 80 have lower urinary tract obstruction due to prostate enlargement. This causes symptoms such as a weak urinary stream, urinary hesitancy (delay in initiating urination), involuntary cessation of urination, straining to void, and a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder. Blockage of the urethra, the “tube” through which urine leaves the body, by the prostate can also affect the bladder. This may result in increased urinary frequency/ urgency, need to urinate during the night, bladder pain, painful urination, and/or incontinence (Sarma 2012).
Sex hormones exert significant influence over BPH development and progression. While many men are aware of a pro-growth role of a testosterone metabolite called DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in prostatic hyperplasia, few know that estrogen may also contribute to BPH (Ho 2008; Matsuda 2004). Aging in men is associated with an increase in the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen (Vermeulen 2002). Some research suggests increased estrogen levels in prostate tissue may promote hyperplasia (Ho 2008; Sciarra 2000; Jasuja 2012; Barnard 2009; Kozak 1982; Burnett-Bowie 2008).
This protocol will discuss the underlying causes of BPH and review conventional treatments along with their drawbacks. In addition, we will review several scientifically studied natural therapies that may ease BPH symptoms, as well as a novel medical therapy that may provide relief to BPH sufferers who have failed to respond to conventional therapy.