Young men can experience prostate concerns due to hormone imbalance. Sometimes younger men don’t think about their prostate for many years because after all, the prostate disease is thought to be an older man’s disease. Not true. 😮
The uncomfortable symptoms may occur at any age, and hormone imbalances can lead to prostate enlargement. The condition is abbreviated as BPH which stands for Benign Prostatic Enlargement. Unfortunately, we’re seeing BPH and prostatitis occur younger and younger like for men in their thirties!
The associated problems with prostate dysfunction include frequent nighttime urination which can disrupt sleep, as well as frequent daytime urination, urgency, painful urination, lower pelvic or rectal pain, inability to completely empty the bladder, and an irritable bladder. 😧
Prostate Dysfunction May Be Tied to Cortisol or Thyroid
It is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland which impedes the normal comfortable flow of urine. This can cause dribbling of urine and the sensation that you haven’t fully emptied your bladder. Sometimes other symptoms are present too, such as fatigue, erectile dysfunction, hair thinning, reduced muscle strength, cystic acne and problems with mental clarity.
That’s because BPH isn’t always tied to the manly hormone called testosterone. Sometimes it’s related to another hormone, for example, cortisol or thyroid. I’ll explain that in a moment. The point is that so much goes into the production of your hormones every single day, and they are interrelated. Not too many practitioners really think this all the way through and do enough testing in my opinion. And so many men get taken down the testosterone pathway.
By that I mean, they are given testosterone replacement, or maybe they are given a 5-alpha reductase blocker (I’ll get to this in a minute) and that is it! That’s the end of it, all the eggs are in the testosterone pathway to either create more of it or to block the production of DHT which is dihydrotestosterone.
I should back up. 😊
Testosterone and Prostate Function
Testosterone or “T” is a hormone that both men and women make and it’s broken down by two different pathways. That’s the most important part.
We know that a person makes a hormone and any blood test can check that, however, what is happening to that hormone? How it is breaking down? A urine test can check for the metabolites and answer that question. It’s called the DUTCH test and you can ask your doctor about it, or visit my website for more information.
Testosterone or “T” is produced in both men and women and is considered the libido hormone. T either breaks down the 5 alpha-reductase or the 5 beta reductase pathway.
If it goes down the 5 alpha pathway, it turns into a super-duper potent androgen called DHT (short for dihydrotestosterone). So, you know, DHT is the type of testosterone that, in excess, is associated with male pattern baldness and BPH. In a woman, DHT is associated with PCOS, a painful condition of ovarian cysts that are associated with women having irregular cycles, excessive facial hair, and fertility problems.
They often have lower FSH levels and higher DHT. This can be tested by using the DUTCH test. So DHT production is something that has to be kept in check. What happens if you give a man who is low in T some testosterone replacement? It could create more DHT! Don’t attempt to restore “deficient” testosterone, unless you know how you’re breaking hormone that down! If it’s going down the 5 alpha pathway, it will make your symptoms worse by creating more DHT😟
Do you know if you break down your testosterone using the 5 alpha or the 5 beta reductase pathway? If you don’t, you can find out pretty easily with a urine test. Most doctors can evaluate you for this test, and I also offer it on my website because I’m a provider and licensed practitioner.
The 5 alpha Pathway for Testosterone
So controlling the production of DHT is very important and crucial to your health and well-being. You don’t want too much T breaking down the 5 alpha pathway. You really want it to go down the 5 beta pathway too so that there is balance without any alpha dominance. You want the see-saw steady.
But there’s a bigger picture to look at like I said it’s not all about testosterone and 5 alpha reductase blockers. Sometimes the reproductive concerns in both men and women have to do with other hormones. They are all interrelated. You can’t pull one side of your bed sheet without impacting the other side of the bed, it’s all connected! 😜
Prolactin Plays a Role in BPH
In women, this hormone is used to trigger breastfeeding, as in “pro lactation” hence the name. Yet, it plays a role in men with BPH. If it rises, testosterone will go down. So, will estrogen. In other words, your brain may possibly be overproducing prolactin which then reduces levels of a person’s primary sex hormones (i.e. testosterone or estrogen).
A full workup could include a blood test to evaluate prolactin levels. If prolactin is high, it could be caused by a prolactinoma. This is a noncancerous tumor in the pituitary gland which can be treated with medication or surgery. You can see why I say looking at testosterone levels is not the be-all, end-all.
Thyroid Hormone Improves Prostate Function
Thyroid hormones are released by your thyroid gland at the base of your neck. The thyroid hormone requires adequate iodine by the way. There was a STUDY last year published in the World Journal of Men’s Health in September 2019.
It’s interesting because thyroid disorders are considered a female disease, however, nothing could be further from the truth. A complete thyroid panel should be run on a man with BPH symptoms, and not just a TSH. (You may be interested in grabbing a copy of my thyroid magazine called “Health & Radiant Aging Vol. I” which is available HERE or my paperback book available in two different places):
TO PURCHASE AT MY OWN SHOP, CLICK HERE.
The STUDY evaluated over 5,700 men who had BPH or similar lower urinary tract symptoms. The researchers considered levels of thyroid hormone which were measured (as TSH and T4). As you might expect, those men with adequate amounts of free T4 (thyroxine) had better prostate volume and function.
Estrogen levels Impact 5 alpha
Considered a woman’s hormone, however, foods and plasticizers (and even estrogenic supplements) that crank up estrogen will also crank up more testosterone. Again, if that T is breaking down the “5 alpha” pathway, all you’re doing is making more DHT.
Insulin and Leptin Affect Prostate Health
For men, leptin and insulin imbalances are important to measure with a simple blood test. Insulin is a hormone that shuttles glucose into the cells. Leptin is a satiety hormone that tells your brain that you’re full. Both are measurable in the serum.
Few docs are aware of how important leptin is, it’s not just a hormone monitored in obesity and diabetes, it plays a crucial role in maintaining the physiological growth of the prostate gland because it stimulates both cellular proliferation and apoptosis which occurs with decreasing levels of the enzyme aromatase. If you’d like to read more about this topic, CLICK HERE to read the scientific paper which was published in 2012 in the Scientific World Journal.
If you take a medication that wipes out your selenium or zinc stores, you will have a higher risk for reproductive problems as well as hair loss. These two minerals are essential for a man, not only for his prostate but for his fertility and immune function. The depletion of zinc is quite profound if you take an acid-reducing medication, or an ACE inhibitor drug (ie lisinopril, benazepril, enalapril, and others.)
Another big category of medications that suppress zinc in your body includes the laxatives such as Mineral Oil, Lactulose (Enulose), Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol 3350), and Senna (Senokot). If the topic of nutrient depletion interests you, or you’re looking to learn more about the other drugs that deplete the body of zinc, please use my search box at this site or purchase a copy of my best-seller, Drug Muggers available HERE.
Men with an enlarged prostate often have elevated blood glucose levels, which increases their risk for prostate difficulties including cancer. Many studies have shown a correlation between BPH and any of these conditions: Diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity. The less control you have over your blood sugar, the more likely the gland will become enlarged.
What you may not have thought of is a concussion or a head injury or TBI (traumatic brain injury). Even whiplash. It could lead to poor libido, weight gain, and problems with insulin, LH (Luteinizing Hormone), and FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone). This trauma could contribute to causing BPH symptoms.
It’s something to think about. Also, military-related injuries or sports-related head injuries can impact your brain. This could impact the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary axis) and it will impact your ability to make the right amount of cortisol and thyroid hormone. This, in turn, impacts your reproductive hormones. Sometimes HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) can help with this.
6 natural strategies that you can implement for BPH
Of course, ask your doctor if these ideas and supplements are right for you:
1. Quercetin is a Natural Strategy for Prostate Health
Quercetin is usually considered a natural antihistamine, and it’s actually a pigment. So, it gives color to fruits and vegetables. We call plant pigments “flavonoids.” So, quercetin is a flavonoid found in many items including green tea, apples, onions, and grapes. It’s also found in ginkgo and buckwheat tea. Supplementing with capsules of quercetin at about 500 mg once or twice daily might be helpful in dealing with prostatic discomfort.
This is a dietary supplement that is sold nationwide, and online. It’s an impressive type of supplement, sometimes found in combination with vitamin C and that’s okay too if you want to take both together. Quercetin is a strong antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory effects which might help reduce inflammation of the prostate.*
2. Pumpkin Seed Oil
You can buy this as a dietary supplement (softgel) or as an actual cold-pressed oil to use on salads and cook with. Some brands come with a dropper for oral use too. Eating pumpkin seeds is another way to garner the benefits. Research suggests that pumpkin contains natural compounds that help shrink a prostate. It’s hard to give you a dose on this because I consider it food. Consume the oil and seeds every day, or alternatively, follow directions for the supplement if you choose that route.
According to Harvard Health, “Selenium was linked to a significant reduction in deaths from lung, colon, esophageal, and prostate cancer; protection appeared strongest for prostate cancer, with 63% fewer deaths in the men who took selenium. There were no cases of selenium toxicity.”
Taking about 100 to 200 mcg per day could be useful.
4. Vitamin D.
About 2500 to 5000 IU per day might be of value. You can buy this over-the-counter, just ask your practitioner what amount is right for you. There is some research to show that vitamin D levels are important for prostate health and that it can help shrink the prostate for some men.
5. Saw Palmetto-based supplements.
There are a plethora of supplements available at health food stores that have saw palmetto in them. One that is multi-tasking that contains other prostate-loving herbs are my choice for you.
There are again so many of these that your head will spin if you go to the health food store. You can also read reviews for hours on the ones sold online. What you’re looking for is a product that contains a standardized extract of saw palmetto (called “Serenoa repens), pygeum herb, lycopene, stinging nettle root (not the leaf), and possibly other herbs and nutrients. I am not fond of those that contain copper because
I’m not a fan of copper supplementation, it sometimes causes DNA to go rogue in cells, and it’s very estrogenic.
There are many supplements that I like and have read the reviews on, but of course, I do not have unlimited space. You can choose what you think is right for you. This is in no particular order, but there are two that I’ve studied and think are worthy of mention.
The first supplement I’d like to mention today is called “Prostate Support” and it’s made by NOW® and it contains a standardized extract of saw palmetto, lycopene, and stinging nettle root. This is dosed usually 2 capsules twice daily, but of course, follow the label directions if they’re different (and you can always take less to see if it works at a lower dose). This is a very simple formula that is easily accessible at any health food store, very strong and effective in my opinion.
The other multi-tasking supplement that I think is worthy of your consideration is called Prostate 5LX by New Chapter. You take 2 capsules per day. It contains a standardized extract of stinging nettle, saw palmetto as well as ginger, rosemary, and pumpkin seed oil! This is a very comprehensive formula that is potent and beautifully configured.
6. Stinging Nettle Root.
This can be purchased as a supplement. Sometimes it is found as part of a supplement that also contains saw palmetto. You have to read the labels and see what’s listed on the “Supplement Facts” box/panel.
Stinging nettle root is commonly used for urine and bladder problems in men and women. It has studies to support its use for men with an enlarged prostate (or BPH). It works fast and can help with symptoms usually within a week.
Taking ibuprofen may be helpful if you have a flare-up too, however it has GI and esophageal side effects and it is not right for every man. I mention it because it could help with pain for a few hours. Heating up a hot pack so that it’s warm and applying it to your lower pelvic region or groin might feel good for a few minutes.
A warm bath may be useful for mild pain. Turmeric is another natural herbal remedy for some men who experience pain. You can take this herbal agent as “curcumin” and it’s available at any health food store. It’s also thought to help with BPH due to its potent anti-inflammatory effects!
Just a comment regarding prostate cancer. According to Douglas C. Hall, MD.
“It is unfortunate that more physicians don’t utilize the DUTCH test in evaluating men for the risk for prostate cancer. For example, the 4-OHE2 (4-Hydroxyestradiol) is more carcinogenic to prostate epithelial cells than the parent hormone estradiol (E2).”
The metabolite of 4-OHE2 is actually measured in the DUTCH test which is available HERE, or through many other physicians and providers. I offer it because I am one of their providers.
The levels of 4-OH estrogen (in a man or woman) can generate dangerous quinones that can damage your DNA, which raises your risk of cancer. If you’re interested in a related article, please read Dr. Hall’s guest post entitled, Erectile Dysfunction is Not a Viagra Deficiency.
Before I leave you today, I want to tell you that there is some compelling new research on Vitamin K2 which is proving to be a marvelous ally for prostate health. In fact, K2 along with vitamin D3 both work harmoniously together for a wide range of conditions that are associated with immune imbalances. You can read more about this topic in my other article Vitamin K2: A Powerful Weapon Against Prostate Cancer.
It goes without saying that if you have these types of prostate-related symptoms you should see a qualified professional for a complete workup. 😊
The information that you’ve read here is strictly educational, and not intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. Please visit your physician for medical and pharmaceutical advice that applies to your own situation.
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Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.