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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia



For many years, men’s health problems have received less attention than the health concerns of women, and men are traditionally less likely to use health services, even though they are at greater risk of many health problems than women. However, in recent years this has changed. The hormonal interplay of men has been highlighted by the increasingly common condition of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and some of the best-researched treatments in natural medicine are for prostate conditions.

BPH is an enlargement of the prostate, believed by some researchers to be a “normal ageing process”, as 50% of men over 50 years of age develop BPH due to the decline in testosterone levels with ageing. This causes an increase in one of the metabolites of testosterone, dihydro-testosterone (DHT), that creates overproduction (or hyperplasia) of cells within the prostate gland. Although a benign condition, as the prostate enlarges, it obstructs the urethra (the tube from the bladder to the exterior) and hence, the flow of urine, causing urine to accumulate in the bladder. This attracts bacterial infections, damages the bladder walls due to the acidity of the urine and causes a backlog of urine in the kidneys, damaging these fragile organs which can result in kidney failure.

COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

- increased frequency of urination
- urgency to urinate;
- having to urinate in the middle of the night
- hesitancy, where suddenly unable to urinate once at the toilet
- decreased volume and calibre of urine, causing dribbling or a fan or forked stream
- an enlarged, painless prostate upon palpation

SOME COMMON CAUSES


1. Excessive production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

This hormone is very potent - 17 times stronger than testosterone - and causes prostate enlargement and acne. Testosterone is converted by an enzyme called 5-a-reductase into DHT in the prostate.

Testosterone ______5-a-reductase _____>Dihydrotestosterone

Therefore the activity of 5-a-reductase needs to be reduced while the rate of removal of DHT needs to be increased.

2. Excessive levels of oestrogen and prolactin

Both of these hormones increase the conversion of testosterone to DHT, inhibit the enzymes that normally break down testosterone and DHT so that they are ready for excretion, block the absorption of zinc, and increase the uptake of testosterone by the prostate.

3. Toxins

Poor liver function due to toxic overload plays an important role as the liver produces sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) that takes excess testosterone and oestrogen out of the blood stream for excretion. Accumulation of toxins in the digestive system due to poor digestion and constipation produces toxic chemicals called polyamines which have been shown to fuel uncontrollable cell growth. Synthetic oestrogens in plastics, hormone-fed meats, herbicides and pesticides and tap water are sources of oestrogens that have also been shown to damage prostate cells and alter their growth pattern.

4. Stress

Stress, via the action of the hormone cortisol, produced in the adrenal glands, easily affects other hormones including insulin which in turn affects blood sugar levels. SHBG in the blood is reduced, while androgens, such as oestrogen and testosterone, are increased.

5. Insulin resistance

Consumption of refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, chocolate and other confectionery, stimulate excessive secretion of insulin from the pancreas, producing insulin resistance in which the cells can no longer obtain sugar for energy production. High insulin levels also inhibit SHBG, so that oestrogen and testosterone are not adequately removed from the blood for excretion.

6. Nutrition - deficiencies of zinc, selenium and essential fatty acids

Zinc inhibits the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, so zinc deficiency increases DHT levels. Selenium protects the prostate from damage, while essential fatty acids decrease inflammation and swelling of the prostate.

7. Excessive or insufficient sexual ejaculation

Excessive ejaculation causes a deficiency of zinc due to loss via the sperm, while a total lack of ejaculation causes accumulation of testosterone in the prostate.


Naturopathic Treatments for BPH
Naturopathic treatments are useful especially to improve urinary symptoms and control the underlying hormonal imbalance that is fuelling the growth of the prostate.

Treatment length for BPH usually requires 6-12 months or for some men ongoing support.

Dietary and lifestyle changes are essential for successful maintenance of the BPH long term. Extensive information and resources are given to help you make healthier choices and control your weight.

Herbal medicines and nutritional supplements are individually prescribed to:

• Balance hormones to improve the relative oestrogen and DHT excess and prevent further growth by correcting underlying hormonal imbalance.
• Improve urinary symptoms of urgency, frequency, dribbling etc
• Normalise insulin and blood sugar levels, an essential part of treatment using weight management, exercise, stress reduction techniques, dietary advice, nutritional supplements and herbal medicines.
• Improve liver function which breaks down and removes excess oestrogen, other hormones and toxins
• Calm and nourish the adrenal glands and the nervous system as well as advice on stress management for everyday life
• Nutritional deficiencies are redressed to optimal levels to ensure proper functioning of the body
• Assess and support cardiovascular health and the circulatory system
• Treat any digestive problems, regulate bowel habits and decrease constipation as oestrogens and hormones are removed from the body via the bowels


You will be referred to your doctor or GP for extensive blood tests unless these have already been done. Please bring in a copy of all recent test results with you to your consultation.


Claudette provides comprehensive advice regarding lifestyle factors covering exercise, creativity, stress management, environmental factors and referrals to complementary, supportive therapies.


Using the work of Vianna Stibal, ThetaHealing®, and Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit, the emotional connections to BPH and the prostate are discussed to address any underlying emotional issues or creativity blocks so as to create healthy boundaries in all areas of your life.


Claudette’s supportive approach makes this journey towards optimum health and balance rewarding and empowering.