Prostate gland is a male reproductive organ. It is walnut- shaped and produces seminal fluid. It is located below bladder; it actually surrounds a portion of the bladder and the beginning of the urethra. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a prostate problem that is less serious from a survival perspective, but far more important in terms of the number of men affected. Hyperplasia is an excessive growth of normal cells, unlike cancer, where cells are abnormal. Therefore, benign prostatic hyperplasia means a non-malignant, excessive growth of prostate cells.
Ayurveda advocates two conditions known as mootrakruchra and mootraghaata, which coincide with the symptoms of prostatism. Mootrakruchra or strangury is characterized by severe pain in passing urine whereas in mootraghaata, there is total suppression or intermittent flow of urine during urination. Prostatism is often used to refer to the collection of symptoms caused by BPH. BPH symptoms can be divided into two categories-obstructive symptoms and irritative sumptoms.
Obstructive symptoms include hesitancy, weak stream, intermittency, incomplete emptying and terminal dribbling. Irrigative symptoms include increased frequency, nocturia (increases urination during nights), urgency, urge incontinence, dysuria (painful urination), haematuria (blood in urine), enuresis (absence of urination), urinary tract infection and urinary retention.
SELF HELP APPROACH AND AYURVEDIC REMEDIES
- It is better to take hot baths. Remain sexually active. Avoid dampness and cold temperatures. Don't let the bladder get full. Urinate as soon as the urge arises. Take time to urinate when it is convenient even if there is no urge. Relax when you urinate. When you take long trips, make frequent stops to urinate. Keep a container in the vehicle in which you can urinate. Sit in a hard chair instead of a soft one whenever possible. Limit coffee, tea, alcohol and spicy foods.
- Drink eight or more glasses of water everyday, but do not drink liquids around bedtime. Reduces stress and don't smoke.
- You should avoid allopathic medications for colds and allergy that contain decongestants such as pseudoephedrine.
- Certain anti-histamines can also slow urine flow in some men with BPH. Other drugs that may exacerbate symptoms are certain anti-depressant and drugs used to treat spasticity. Diuretics and alcoholic beverages can also make matters worse.
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises are useful to prevent urine leakage. They strengthen the muscle of the pelvic floor that both support the bladder and close the sphincter. The exercise consists of repeatedly tightening and releasing the pelvic muscle. Since the muscle is internal and is sometimes difficult to isolate, it is better to practice while urinating. Contract the muscles until the flow of urine is slowed, or stopped and then release it. Generally, 5 to 15 contractions attempting to hold each contraction for ten seconds, three to five times a day give good results.
- Some form of light exercise such as swimming, jogging or walking is preferable, as is avoiding a completely sedentary lifestyle, which allows blood to stagnate in the pelvic area. If you must sit down all day at work, get up every two to three hours and move about, this stimulates blood circulation in the lower extremities. Massage, steam baths, and activities that produce sweating and increased blood circulation are advised.
- Natural therapies have a long history of use in our country to support optimal prostrate health. Gokshura (gokhru), whose botanical name is Tribulus terrestris, has been traditionally used in treating urogenital conditions. Take two teaspoonfuls of the fruit, grind coarsely and bring to a boil in two cups of water until half the water remains. Take a cup of this. You can also take it along with sugar and milk if you prefer. Gokshura may also be boiled in milk. Similarly, two other herbal plants are varuna (Crataeva religosa) and punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa ). These have been shown to be effective for symptoms of BPH. In different clinical trials, both of these have shown significant anti-inflammatory effect, especially pertaining to genito-urinay tract.
- Silajit, a herbo-mineral compound ejected out of rocks during hot weather in the lower Himalayas is specially used in genito-urinary disease. For the dosage and duration, please consult with your Ayurvedic physician, as it is variable in terms of the severity of the disease.
- Kshaaras are the alkaline salts obtained from the ash of medicinal plants. Yavakshaara is one such substance obtained from dried wheat plant, before blooming. This contains altered form of potassium carbonate, which is indicated in enlargement of the glands with special concern of prostate.
- Long-term insufficient zinc intake is also linked to BPH. Good dietary sources of zinc include meat, eggs and seafood. Yassada bhasma, obtained by calcination of zinc is the specific medicine for this purpose. A daily dose of 125 to 250 mg with honey will give relief from the problem.
- Early and mild cases respond well to chandra prabhavati, 2 tablets twice a day with warm milk.