Saw Palmetto and Prostate Health
Saw Palmetto is also known as American Dwarf Palm, Tree Cabbage Palm, and Saw Palmetto berry. People have been using saw palmetto as a natural remedy for benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is the enlargement of the prostate gland that is not cancerous. It is commonly found in older people. The prostate grows larger and the flow of urine is impeded due to the growth. Urinary tract and bladder symptoms are associated with BPH and they gradually get worse over time.
Saw palmetto has not only been used as a natural remedy for BPH but the Native Americans have also been using the herb to enhance fertility and handle urinary tract issues.
Ripe fruit from the Saw palmetto plant is used to make medicine. According to many small-scale research studies, it is effective for BPH related prostate and urinary tract symptoms. It has also been used in combination with other herbs to treat prostate cancer in some Native American people. Its use for prostate infection treatment is also wide.
Some people have used saw palmetto for cold and cough, asthma, chronic pelvic pain, and migraine. It is also used as a sedative and as an aphrodisiac.
Does Saw Palmetto work for BPH?
Saw palmetto appears to decrease the production of an enzyme known as 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme changes testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the prostate. DHT though plays a vital role in the development of the prostate it is also considered responsible for some prostate issues such as BPH.
Many people think that saw palmetto can reduce BPH symptoms by stopping the conversion of testosterone into DHT.
Is Saw Palmetto Effective?
The symptoms of an enlarged prostate that saw palmetto is believed to relive include, frequent urination, pain while urinating, inability to urinate and hasty urge to urinate. It can also decrease the number of times BPH patients need to urinate during the night, improve urine flow, and brings ease to completely empty the bladder. Saw palmetto seems to work but it takes about one or two months of treatment before the symptoms improve.
Are there Safety Concerns?
Saw palmetto is considered safe for most people. It has relatively few side effects if any. It may occasionally lead to digestive problems. The side effects are found to be mild.
The herb is also not likely to interact with other medications, but there are almost no studies to prove that. Therefore, People taking any other medications should consult with their doctor before taking saw palmetto. Some risk of saw palmetto interacting with aspirin or blood thinners has been reported.
Lifestyle changes along with using the medication are also suggested to reduce symptoms linked with prostate disorders. These changes include:
• Urinating at regular intervals
• Avoiding waiting too long to urinate to avoid bladder muscle weakness
• Trying to urinate again as the urine stream ends. This technique ensures that the bladder gets empty.
• Eating a healthy diet
• Maintaining appropriate body weight
• Exercising regularly