The symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland, called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH for short, are usually mild at first. According to experts at Harvard Medical School, half of all men have some degree of BPH in their 50s and by their 80s, an estimated 90% have the condition.
“It is the most common medical condition that affects the prostate gland,” says David Samadi, MD, a world-renowned urologic oncologist and expert in robotic surgery. “BPH is a noncancerous condition that is considered harmless but can become a nuisance that affects men’s urinary habits causing changes in their quality of life.”
Samadi, whose web site is Roboticoncology.com, explains that BPH can cause frequent urination and the need to “go” more often, which disrupts sleep patterns and triggers urgency to find a bathroom in time.
“While there is no definitive answer on exactly how to prevent it, there are some natural ways to treat an enlarged prostate to bring men some relief,” he sais. “And if a man lives a long life, the earlier he begins to adapt these habits, the better.”
Here are Samadi’s top tips:
- Take your time and relax when urinating. It is important to really empty your bladder each time you urinate. One technique is called “double voiding.” “Even when you feel you are done urinating, wait a few seconds and try again,” says the expert. Make sure you visit the bathroom before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Spread fluid intake throughout the day. Do not drink anything at least three hours before bedtime, especially beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine, which are diuretics that stimulate the kidneys.
- Avoid sitting too long. Samadi tells his patients that sitting for an extended period of time makes BPH worse. Get up and stretch and walk around the room every 20 to 30 minutes. “It’s good to stretch your legs, but it’s also good to get the circulation going.”
- Change your diet. According to Healthline, a recent four-year study in China found that men who consumed diets high in fruits and vegetables, especially leafy, dark vegetables and tomatoes, had less BPH, fewer symptoms of BPH, and were less likely to have a worsening of their condition.
- Consider saw palmetto. This plant has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries to relieve urinary problems, including BPH, according to Healthline. The results of scientific studies have varied, however, in assessing its efficacy. Ask your doctor if it is right for you.