What is the Prostate and What Does It Do?
The prostate is a golf ball-sized gland located between the bladder, rectum, and penis in the male genitourinary system. It surrounds the urethra, which is the passageway for urine from the bladder and sperm from the testis. The prostate produces and secretes a milky alkaline fluid that makes up about 25 percent of the volume of sperm. Prostatic fluid provides energy for sperm on the journey to the female egg, contains enzymes required to break through proteins, and contains a natural antibiotic to help prevent infections.
Why Does the Prostate Gland Enlarge?
The prostate gland grows slowly from birth to puberty. Between puberty and age 30 it grows more rapidly as the endocrine system enters adulthood. Between the ages of 30 and 45 the size of the prostate typically remains relatively unchanged. However, the prostate gland often begins to grow again for most men after the age of 45. Generally, the prostate will continue to grow for the rest of a man’s life. There is no known physiological reason for the enlargement of the prostate but the cause is believed to be due to an increase in androgen hormones in the body, specifically DHT.
What Are the Signs? How Is It Detected? When Should It Be Treated?
Prostate enlargement is generally associated with clinical symptoms like difficulty urinating or ejaculating, urinary frequency or urgency, incomplete emptying of the bladder, incontinence, or terminal dribbling. It is recommended that men over the age of 40 have yearly prostate exams as a preventative screening technique. If the prostate begins to harden and enlarge a preventative strategy should be implemented to help reduce or prevent further growth and development of symptoms.
Naturopathic Treatment for Prostate Enlargement
Our goal is to determine the underlying causes of prostate enlargement for each patient and formulate a treatment strategy that addresses those underlying causes. Diets high in pesticides, chemicals, cholesterol, and alcohol are associated with prostate enlargement. Diets low in essential nutrients like zinc and essential fatty acids are also linked to prostate enlargement. Several botanicals, like saw palmetto, and nutritional supplements have been shown to reduce prostate enlargement by reducing the formation of DHT. Naturopathic treatments are also indicated for people with current urinary symptoms. Hydrotherapy, botanical medicine, acupuncture, massage, and homeopathics have been used successfully for decades to treat symptoms of prostate enlargement. If you are interested in more information please consult your naturopathic physician about individualized treatment.