Prostate, Enlarged

The prostate, a small organ about the size of a walnut that snugly fits at the base of a man’s bladder, is involved in providing and storing 70 per cent of the fluid that makes up semen. A large proportion of men over 60 years of age develop benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of this gland. When the prostate reaches a certain size, it may partly or completely block the outlet from the bladder, causing untold problems in the plumbing department. BPH does not cause prostate cancer, but men at risk of BPH are also at risk of this common cancer. The treatments offered below will reduce your risk of both conditions and are also helpful for inflammation of the prostate, prostatitis.


  • Interrupted flow and force of urination.
  • Getting up to urinate during the night.
  • Urgent need to urinate.
  • Incomplete voiding of the bladder.
  • Dripping after urination.

What causes it?

  • It is not certain why this enlargement happens, although it seems likely that there are hormonal influences, possibly an increase in oestrogen. (Men have some oestrogen, just as women have some testosterone.)
  • You have an increased risk of developing BPH if you also have diabetes type 2, or increased insulin levels.
  • High blood pressure also increases your risk of BPH.
  • BPH is associated with being exposed to heavy-metal toxicity such as chromium, pesticides and other chemicals.
  • There is some evidence that BPH is an autoimmune condition.

What to do


  • The two groups of men with the lowest incidence of BPH are the Japanese who eat a traditional diet and vegetarian men. Clearly you are on a lucky streak if you are a vegetarian Japanese male.
  • A diet high in animal fats increases your risk, so decrease red meat, deli meats and high-fat dairy such as cream, ice-cream, camembert and yellow cheeses.
  • Caffeine is a urinary system irritant. Decrease or avoid all caffeine including coffee, cola, chocolate, guarana and tea (except some green tea).
  • Decrease sugar and refined carbohydrates to decrease your risk of diabetes, itself a risk factor for BPH.
  • Eat some baked tomatoes with your scrambled eggs. Lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes, helps prevent BPH. Lycopene levels increase when the tomatoes are cooked, so tomato paste is also on the menu. Fancy some spaghetti napolitana?
  • Increase zinc-rich foods including oysters, seafood, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy green vegetables and barley.
  • Even though you might be tripping to the loo more often, don’t let this impact on you drinking sufficient water (2 litres of fluids daily).
  • Eat tofu and tempeh as they contain diadzen and genistein, substances that can help decrease the risk of prostate (and breast) cancer.
  • Green tea offers protective properties against BPH.
  • Avoid beer. It contains hops, which have an oestrogenic effect. Australia is an enthusiastic beer-drinking country – and has one of the highest rates of prostate disease.


  • Herbal remedies are very effective for BPH. Old herbal texts refer to saw palmetto as the ‘old man’s friend’ and it is the star herb when it comes to treating and preventing BPH. Other herbs good for prostate health and prevention of BPH are pygeum, nettle root and epilobium. Crateava is an excellent herb for bladder irritation, which is often affected due to the proximity of the prostate gland.
  • Zinc supplementation is recommended to help reduce the size of the prostate gland.
  • The amino acids L-glycine, L-alanine and glutamine have shown in
scientific studies to reduce the feelings of urgency to urinate as well as frequency of urination.
  • Selenium and the B group vitamins are also helpful in reducing BPH.


  • Men who exercise regularly have less risk of BPH. Additionally, exercise decreases the other risk factors for BPH, diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Regular ejaculation is important for prostate health.
  • A yoga posture that encourages circulation to the prostate is to lie flat on your back, bring your knees in and put the soles of your feet together. Hold on to each shin with your hands and pull your heels
towards your tummy. You may look like a recently sprayed cockroach, but don’t let this dissuade you.

At a glance


  • Eat less red meat and animal fats. That will leave you with more vegetables, wholegrains and legumes. 
- Caffeine is an irritant to the urinary system, so reduce your intake from coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
  • Reduce sugar and refined flour products, this will decrease your risk of diabetes, which in turn decreases your risk of BPD.
  • Increase zinc-rich foods including oysters, seafood, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy green vegetables and barley.


  • Saw palmetto is an important herb when it comes to preventing and treating BPH. Other good choices include pygeum, nettle root and epilobium.
  • Take a daily zinc tablet.
  • Selenium and the B group vitamins are also helpful in reducing BPH.


  • Regular exercise reduces your risk of prostate problems.