Enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a disorder that generally affects men 50 years of age and older. BPH is not the same as prostate cancer.
The prostate is a small, muscular gland (in the shape of a walnut) in the male reproductive system. It surrounds the urethra just below the urinary bladder and adds fluid to semen to allow sperm mobility.
With age, the cells of the gland begin to multiply, leading to an enlarged prostate. Although the exact cause is unknown, changes in male sex hormones with age may be a factor.
Other risk factors for prostate gland enlargement are family history, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It tends to be more common in men of Asian heritage than other races.
Many men with BPH have either no symptoms or very mild symptoms. However, many men have severe symptoms that may even interfere with their quality of life.
Some of the symptoms of BPH are a frequent urge to urinate, increased frequency of urination at night, trouble starting a stream of urine, a weak urine stream, continued dribbling of urine, and a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying.
If left untreated, an enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine out of the bladder, leading to other complications like urinary retention, UTIs, bladder stones, and kidney damage.
There are several effective treatments for enlarged prostate, including medications, therapies and surgery. In addition, certain home remedies and lifestyle changes can help ease the symptoms.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for enlarged prostate.
1. Kegel Exercises
Kegel or pelvic-strengthening exercises can help ease some of the discomforts of enlarged prostate as they help tighten and clench specific pelvic muscles to help control urination.
- Empty your bladder and lie on the floor with your knees bent and apart. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles for 5 seconds, then relax them for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 to 20 times, 3 or 4 times each day. Pelvic floor muscles are the muscles you use to stop your urine flow.
- Another option is to squeeze the muscles in your anus, then relax your pelvic floor muscles. Do it 10 to 20 times, a few times a day.
Regularly perform kegel exercises throughout the day. You can do them after waking up in the morning, at lunchtime, in the evening and before going to bed. Target your pelvic muscles only and avoid tightening the muscles in your stomach, buttocks or thighs. If you are having difficulty locating the pelvic muscles, get help from an expert.
Note: Men who suffer from chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome must avoid doing kegel exercises.
2. Aerobic and Resistance Exercises
Staying active is good for the prostate as well as overall health. Inactivity contributes to obesity, one of the risk factors for enlarged prostate.
Even a small amount of exercise like aerobic and resistance exercises can help reduce urinary problems caused by an enlarged prostate and can even prevent this problem.
- Aerobic exercises can help you maintain a healthy weight. Incorporate aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, running, tennis, basketball and rowing in your daily routine.
- Resistance exercises help improve strength and muscle tone, while reducing inflammation. Examples of resistance exercises are swimming, push-ups and lifting weights. Do these for 30 minutes, a few times a week.
3. Sitz Bath
A contrast sitz bath is a soothing and effective remedy for enlarged prostate. The hot bath will help relax the pelvic muscles, reduce swelling and promote healing. On the other hand, the cold bath will ease pain.
- Fill one bathtub with warm water and add ½ cup of Epsom salt to it.
- Fill another bathtub with cold water and add a few drops of lavender essential oil to it.
- First, sit in the bathtub with hot water up to your waist for 3 minutes.
- Go, sit in the bathtub with cold water up to your waist for 1 minute.
- Do this 2 more times. The last bath should always be in the cool water.
- Enjoy a sitz bath a few times each week.
Note: Do not follow this remedy if you have acute bacterial prostatitis.
4. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle can also lessen BPH symptoms. The root contains essential bioactive phytochemicals that help shrink prostate tissue. Being a natural diuretic, it also encourages the elimination of inflammatory wastes through urination.
- Add 1 teaspoon of dried nettle leaves to a cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain it. Drink this tea 2 or 3 times daily.
- You can also take a stinging nettle supplement. The usual amount is 300 mg daily. Always consult a doctor before taking a supplement for the correct dosage for your condition.
5. Corn Silk
Corn silk is a time-tested remedy to fight off symptoms of prostate enlargement. It acts as a natural diuretic and even helps relax the urinary muscles and lining. This leads to improved urine flow.
- Put the silk of 6 ears of fresh corn in 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for another 10 minutes. Strain and drink up to 3 cups of this corn silk tea a day.
- Another option is to add 15 drops of corn silk extract to 1 cup of water and drink it a few times a day.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar has astringent properties that help shrink swollen prostate glands. It also aids weight loss and helps prevent complications of enlarged prostate like UTIs.
- Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm water. Drink it twice daily.
- Another option is to add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to a bathtub of water and soak in it for 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy this soothing bath a few times a week.
7. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds also help an enlarged prostate shrink in size. The seeds contain diuretic properties that help urine flow. They are also high in zinc. Men with enlarged prostate usually have a zinc deficiency. In addition, the seeds have omega-3 fatty acids that aid prostate functioning.
- The best way to enjoy pumpkin seeds is to eat them plain without adding any salt. A handful of seeds per day are enough.
- Alternatively, put a handful of crushed fresh pumpkin seeds in a large cup. Add boiling water to the cup and allow it to cool to room temperature. Strain and drink a cup of this tea, a few times a week.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene that helps ease the symptoms of BPH. Lycopene helps lower the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) connected to prostate inflammation and BPH. It helps lower bladder pressure and, in turn, helps shrink the enlarged prostate.
- Include tomatoes and tomato products like tomato sauce, puree and juice in your diet.
- You can also take a lycopene supplement, after consulting your doctor.
9. Zinc Supplement
To help shrink the prostate gland, start taking a zinc supplement. Zinc is an essential trace mineral that plays an important role in the body’s immune response and cell growth. This mineral is present in prostate cells, where it plays a protective and anti-inflammatory role.
According to a 2007 study, Oregon State University researchers concluded that zinc deficiency might impair the function of zinc-containing proteins in the prostate, leading to abnormalities in prostate function and growth.
- Take a zinc supplement, usually a total of 90 mg daily, taken in three 30 mg doses. Before taking the supplement, consult your doctor.
- Also, eat zinc-rich foods like oysters, crab, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, cashews and yogurt.
10. Dietary Changes
Eating a healthy diet can also help in controlling and reducing the symptoms of enlarged prostate.
- Eat 2 servings a week of fish high in omega-3 oils, such as tuna, mackerel or salmon.
- Include soy and soy-based foods in your diet.
- Follow a diet that is low in starches and meats.
- Include vegetables like red bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts in your diet.
- Use polyunsaturated fat in your cooking. Make sure to use it in moderation.
- Try to empty your bladder as soon as you feel the urge to urinate.
- Make a habit of going to the bathroom to urinate, even when you do not feel the urge.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine, especially after dinner or 2 hours before your bedtime.
- Avoid drinking a lot of fluid all at once. Instead, take small sips throughout the day.
- Avoid taking any over-the-counter medicine without consulting your doctor.
- Keep yourself warm and, if possible, avoid cold weather.
- Reduce stress and tension as these can lead to the urge to urinate more frequently.
- Limit your intake of fatty foods and red meats.
- If you are overweight, take steps to lose weight. Obesity is associated with enlarged prostate.
- Avoid prolonged sitting in the same position as it may worsen your condition.
- Breathing exercises and postures can help reduce stress and relieve symptoms of BPH.