An enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a complex condition that affects a large proportion of men progressively with age. BPH affects 14% of men between 40-50 years of age, while men over 50 have a 50% risk of being affected and 90% of men will have enlarged prostate glands by the age of 80.
The most common manifestation of BPH is lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) such as frequent urination, urgency to urinate, weak urinary stream, incomplete bladder emptying, nocturia (excessive night urination) and straining to void.
Whilst there are genetic and racial factors, weight, physical activity, smoking, alcohol intake and diet are modifiable factors that affect BPH risk and progression. Specific macro- and micronutrients may be beneficial for BPH and some herbal/phytonutrient supplements have been found to be as effective in its treatment as drugs. Therefore, nutritional therapy may be a valuable option for those seeking an alternative to medication (and its unpleasant side-effects) or surgery.