Any man over the age of 50 is very likely to have or be developing benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH. Studies show that half of all men between 51 and 60 have this disorder, which involves an enlargement of the prostate gland. By the age of eighty, more than 80% of all men will have this condition.
The prostate gland sits right under the bladder and surrounds the urethra. As it enlarges, it puts pressure on the urethra, which inhibits the flow of urine. This results in symptoms such as:
Difficulty starting the flow of urine
Intermittent urine flow (stopping and starting of urination)
Weak urine stream
Dribbling after urination is done
Urgency to urinate, even with scant urine production
Disturbance of sleep, waking up needing to urinate at night
These symptoms are problematic, but they also increase the risk of other problems. For instance, the lack of urine flow increases the risk of urinary tract infections (UTI), which can cause painful, burning urination. The urine sitting in the bladder can increase the risk for bladder stones, which can be very painful. There is also an increased risk for kidney problems.
Although BPH and prostate cancer are not the same, men also are at risk for developing prostate cancer as they age. Another problem men can develop is prostatitis, which is an inflammation of the prostate, which can also cause problems with urination.
Fortunately, there are herbs and nutritional substances that can help men have a healthier prostate gland. We’ll talk about these substances, and dietary and lifestyle changes that can also help prostate health, in this month’s Herbal Hour.