Prostate Enlargement – Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia/Hypertrophy (BPH) - in Australia

BPH is the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. The acronym stands for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, which is an increase in the number of cells of the prostate, or Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, an increase in the size of cells.

The prostate itself is a small donut shaped gland about the size of a walnut – it sits just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine and semen pass to get out of the body. One of the main functions of the healthy prostate gland is to make part of the seminal fluid that surrounds sperm and assists them on their travels to fertilise an egg. As men age, their prostate goes through two main periods of growth – the first at puberty, when it doubles in size, and the second, which begins at around 25 and continues throughout life – it is this phase of growth that may lead to BPH. By the age of 60 more than 50% of men will have some symptoms of the condition, and this rises to as many as 90% of men in their seventies and eighties. Supposedly Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were both troubled by this condition.

Whilst the cause is not fully understood, it is believed by some that a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) may be partly responsible. DHT is produced from testosterone, and there seems to be an increasing accumulation of it in the ageing prostate gland, which may encourage the growth of cells. Other theories suggest that increasing amount of oestrogen in the gland relative to a declining production of testosterone (as a man ages) may increase the activity of substances that encourage cell growth.

As the prostate enlarges, it usually grows inwardly, which presses on the urethra. It also irritates and weakens the bladder walls, which means that the bladder contracts more frequently, but is less able to empty fully. These events lead to many of the tell-tale signs of BPH including:

  • More frequent need to urinate, especially at night.
  • Urgent need to urinate.
  • Leaking or dribbling.
  • Hard to start and finish urination.
  • Interrupted urinary flow.
  • Weak urinary flow.
  • Straining to urinate.
  • Occassionally, incontinence. This is because the bladder is full, but cannot start normal urination due to weakening of the muscles.

The size of the enlargement may not reflect symptoms, and some men may only realise they have BPH when over-the-counter cold or allergy medication triggers Acute Urinary Retention, which is an inability to urinate at all. This condition may also be brought on by alcohol, cold or a long period of immobility (such as being bedridden in hospital).

While BPH itself is not a life-threatening condition, serious complications may arise as a result, including Acute Urinary Retention and problems with the kidneys. BPH is not Prostate Cancer, and does not mean that a man is more likely to develop cancer. However, some of the symptoms may be similar, and so it is worthwhile getting a check-up and diagnosis from your GP.

So how can Natural Medicine help?

There are a number of natural interventions that may assist:

  • Zinc has been shown to reduce the size of the prostate gland.
    It may decrease the conversion from testosterone to DHT. A clinically trialled dose of Zinc may be obtained from Ethical Nutrients Zinc Fix.
  • Resveratrol may reduce the conversion of testosterone into oestrogen, one of the reputed causes of BPH.
    This is derived from grapes, but also Giant Knotweed, a key ingredient in Thompson's Ultra Strength Resveratrol
  • Herbs of Gold Selenium 150 Max contains the antioxidant Selenium, which is concentrated in the prostate gland, and helps to prevent oxidative damage to the cells there.
  • Vitamin B6 may be useful.
    It reduces levels of the hormone prolactin, which are found to be elevated in BPH.
  • Symptomatic relief may be obtained from the administration of certain amino acids, including glycine, glutamic acid and alanine.

Herbs too, have a long history of use as male tonics.

  • Saw palmetto has been the subject of a number of studies, which suggest that it can be as effective as some of the pharmaceutical drugs given for the condition. You need to be taking the right dose though – 160mg twice a day is recommended. It is also important to ensure that this contains enough of the active ingredients (fatty acids and sterols). Fusion Men's Balance, Nutra Life Prostate Complete 4000, and all contain high enough amounts of this herb.
  • Nettle root has traditionally been recommended for the condition in its early stages, and this helps to increase the flow and amount of urine. Compounds within the root have been shown to decrease activity of the enzyme that makes DHT from testosterone.
  • Lycopene is a compound found in tomatoes and tomato products that has been found to have beneficial effects on male reproductive health. You can obtain this through diet, or in Fusion Men's Balance, or Nutra Life Prostate Complete 4000.

Research Updates - June 2011

Tewari, R et al (2011), ‘Association of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) with the metabolic syndrome (MS) and its components – ‘a growing dilemma’,  Journal of Men's Health, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp. 66-71

This study of Indian men showed that a number of factors of metabolic syndrome are linked with higher rates of BPH. The men with BPH had higher triglycerides, lower (good) HDL cholesterol and a greater waist-to-hip ratio than health ‘controls’. Researchers suggest that these conditions may act as borderline risk factors for BPH.

Vive Health Naturopaths recommend the following products for BPH:

Products Suggested Dosage
1. Fusion Men's Balance (30 Caps, 60 Caps) 2 Caps x 2 daily
2. Thompson's Ultra Strength Resveratrol (60 Tabs) 2 tabs daily with food.
3. Nutra Life Prostate Complete 4000 (30 Caps, 60 Caps) 1 cap daily with breakfast.
4. Ethical Nutrients Zinc Fix (100g) 1/2 tsp in water x 3 daily after meals (if combining with other supplements do not exceed 100mg elemental Zinc per day)
5. Herbs of Gold Selenium 150 Max 2 caps x 2 daily.
6. Fusion Liver Tonic (30 Tabs, 60 tabs) 1-2 tabs daily.
7. Dr Red Ginger Punch Prostate (750ml) Once a day.


NOTE: Consideration should always be given to individual requirements.  Please consider seeing a qualified practitioner before commencing a new treatment protocol or when combining supplements with pharmaceutical medication.

For more information on BPH or to ask a Qualified Naturopath a question Click Here.


Fusion Liver Tonic
from $27.95
inc. GST 10%
Herbs of Gold Selenium 150 Max
from $24.50
inc. GST 10%
Nutra Life Prostate Complete
from $99.95
inc. GST 10%
  • Run by Naturopaths and Nutritionists
  • Certified Organic Food
  • Gluten Free Products