All Men Should Read This in Recognition of Movember

All Men Should Read This in Recognition of Movember

Preventing BPH Naturally

While many men are growing mustaches in recognition of prostate health this Movember, how many are making the changes key to the prevention and treatment of prostate health issues? 

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlargement of the prostate gland, is an extremely common condition, typically beginning around age 50. By age 60, most men have some degree of BPH, and by age 85, 90% of men have urinary symptoms related to BPH. The symptoms of BPH include increased urinary frequency, nighttime awakening to empty the bladder, stopping and starting during urination, difficulty starting urination, dribbling after urination ends, recurrent urinary tract infections, and even blood in the urine.

Though the exact cause of BPH is unknown, it is believed to be instigated by dihydrotestosterone, a byproduct of testosterone when it breaks down in a man’s body, triggering the prostate to keep growing. Another theory is that a change in the ratio of testosterone to estrogen as a man ages causes the prostate to increase in size. Obesity and some over-the-counter drugs for colds or allergies can increase the risk of BPH and worsen the symptoms.

If your partner, father, brother, or someone else close to you is showing signs of an enlarged prostate, tell them to get checked out by a heath professional. 

Helping promote a healthy prostate, here are serval natural preventive steps a man can take to lower his risk of developing BPH and prostate cancer, while managing and treating the condition. 

Increase your intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Limit your intake of refined carbohydrates, choosing instead fibre-rich whole grains. Make sure to include at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Consume tomatoes, red peppers, and other produce high in lycopene—a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to fight cancer. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale may also help prevent cancer.


Choose healthier protein. Decrease the amount of red meat you consume, including beef, pork, and lamb, as well as processed meats like sandwich meat and hotdogs. Instead of red meat, choose fish that is high in omega-3 acids like herring, mackerel, and salmon. Increasing your dietary fish intake will not only benefit your prostate, but also help your heart and immune system. Legumes also offer a healthy protein alternative, with the additional benefit of being high in fibre.


Consume good fats and remove bad fats from your diet. Reduce your intake of saturated animal and dairy products, swapping them out for healthy fats—olive oil, nuts, ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and avocados. Also, limit your consumption of fast foods and processed foods, as they often contain unhealthy partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats). 


Reduce your alcohol, caffeine, salt and sugar intake. Though you don’t have to completely avoid caffeine and alcohol altogether, you are better to cut back to one or two cups a coffee a day, and a couple of small glasses of alcoholic beverages a week. And avoid having those drinks within two hours of bedtime. Stay away from products high in salt, and avoid sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices. 


Make some important lifestyle changes. Urinate when you first get the urge, spread out your fluids through the day instead of drinking large amounts at a time, exercise regularly, and work on reducing or managing your stress. You may also benefit from Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor.


Take Panax Ginseng. There is some strong evidence to suggest that Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng—also known as Korean ginseng or Chinese ginseng) may be useful in the treatment of BPH. Panax ginseng has a long history as a powerful herb for protecting your prostate health. A recent study on rats with testosterone-induced BPH showed Panax ginseng suppressed the development of BPH. Other animal studies have also demonstrated Panax ginseng to help relax the prostatic urethra, helping reduce the obstructive effects of BPH. What’s more, Panax ginseng appears to be safe, demonstrating no signs of toxicity.

Panax ginseng has long been revered as a tonic for longevity, so if you are hoping to live a long and healthy life, consider that this herb may be the herb you are looking for.


Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine, caring for patients in an integrative medicine clinic in Vancouver.