There are two groups of drugs used for treatment. The first are alpha blockers, which relax the muscles around the bladder, making it easier to urinate. The second are enzyme inhibitors, which reduce the size of the prostate by lowering the hormone needed for the prostate to grow.
Both types of drugs can have side effects. Alpha blockers can decrease ejaculation and lower blood pressure while enzyme inhibitors lower PSA levels (a high level of PSA can indicate prostate cancer), making it harder to screen for prostate cancer.
Herbal treatment has a long history in managing BPH and offers a safer, natural alternative to drug treatment. Berries from the saw palmetto tree are a well documented alternative therapy for BPH and widely prescribed in Europe. They have been shown to improve urine flow rate, reduce the need to urinate at night, reduce residual urine in the bladder and reduce any pain associated with urinating. Saw palmetto is particularly effective when combined with nettle root, which improves urinary output and inhibits cellular proliferation in BPH. Also beneficial in treating BPH are pumpkin seeds containing plant sterols and beta-sitosterols, a plant version of cholesterol, which improves urine flow and leaves less in the bladder.
Combining these herbs with others to improve bladder tone, control infection and improve general health provide an attractive alternative to ensure that BPH symptoms do not disturb daily life.