The enlargement of the prostate can be due to so many diagnoses but the most common reason for such is benign prostatic hypertrophy. Benign prostatic hypertrophy is a disease that goes as a man ages. In this disease, the cells in the prostate continue to grow to the point that it impedes the functioning of the organs near it such as the urinary bladder and the urethra.


Causes of Enlarged Prostate


The actual cause of prostate enlargement is unknown. It is believed that factors linked to aging and the testicles themselves may play a role in the growth of the gland. Men who have had their testicles removed at a young age (for example, as a result of testicular cancer) do not develop BPH.


Throughout their lives, men produce both testosterone, an important male hormone, and small amounts of estrogen, a female hormone. As men age, the amount of active testosterone in the blood decreases, leaving a higher proportion of estrogen. Studies done on animals have suggested that BPH may occur because the higher amount of estrogen within the gland increases the activity of substances that promote cell growth.


Another theory focuses on dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a substance derived from testosterone in the prostate, which may help control its growth. Most animals lose their ability to produce DHT as they age. However, some research has indicated that even with a drop in the blood's testosterone level, older men continue to produce and accumulate high levels of DHT in the prostate. This accumulation of DHT may encourage the growth of cells. Scientists have also noted that men who do not produce DHT do not develop BPH.


Symptoms of Enlarged Prostate:


The arrival of enlarged prostate symptoms naturally conjures up a vision of prostate cancer and, while cancer does strike many men, in the vast majority of cases, enlargement of the prostate gland is quite benign and indeed is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia.


Enlargement of the prostate is nothing more than part of the normal ageing process and for many men it becomes nothing more than something of an annoyance which they simply learn to live with. For others however it becomes more than a simple nuisance and does require treatment. In all cases however it is vitally important that you call into your local health center and consult your doctor so that the necessary tests can be carried out.


It the symptoms you are experiencing are the result of an infections (such as a urinary tract infection) then this can often be cleared up quickly and easily with a course of medication. If the problem is simple benign prostatic hyperplasia then your health can be monitored and treatment given if and when both you and your doctor feel that it is necessary. But, most importantly, if the problem is prostatic cancer then you need to catch this early so that it can be quickly and effectively treated before it begins to spread outside of the prostate gland.


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Herbal Alternatives for prostate enlargement


Saw palmetto Serenoa repens has been widely tested and results are promising. It is thought to work by preventing testosterone from breaking down into another form of the hormone associated with prostate tissue growth. In 1998, researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs reviewed more than a dozen studies involving saw palmetto. It found saw palmetto to be as effective as finasteride in reducing the size of an enlarged prostate and produce fewer side effects. The herbal alternative does work slowly with improvement in urinary symptoms within 1 to 3 months. If after that time there is no improvement then the herb should be discontinued. Additional research is required to determine the appropriate daily dosage of the supplement, its long-term effectiveness.


Many conventional drugs have a herbal basis, so just because we associate herbs with health does not mean they are necessarily ‘better’ for you. Also remember, as with many herbal products, saw palmetto may suppress PSA prostate specific antigen levels in your blood and can interfere with the effectiveness of the PSA test so it is important to tell your doctor before having a PSA test.


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