Fall is upon us, and a season staple is the pumpkin! They’re everywhere. In that spirit, we want to take the opportunity to discuss the great pumpkin seed debate.
Patients have had many questions regarding the potential benefit of prostate supplements and whether there are alternatives to prescription medications to help keep your prostate healthy. Can pumpkin seeds improve prostate health? What are some other common basic preventative actions you can take?
Here are our answers:
The Truth About Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil have gained increased attention as a potential treatment for patients with enlarged prostates (BPH) and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrition and are proven to support prostate health. This is due to three reasons.
- They are rich in zinc. Optimal zinc levels contribute to optimal prostate function. For this reason, a handful of pumpkin seeds 2-3 times a week may improve your prostate health.
- They may limit prostate inflammation. Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, which are anti-oxidants and may help decrease the amount of inflammation in enlarged prostate tissue.
- They potentially reduce BPH symptoms. One contributor to an enlarged prostate is caused by testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. Pumpkin seed oil may help prevent the multiplication of overstimulated prostate cells by decreasing the effect of these hormones within the prostate.
Common Preventative Actions
Some other common basic treatments for an enlarged prostate include:
Avoiding certain foods, such as, poultry, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, acidic and spicy foods, and alcohol.
Poultry contains arachidonic acid, which leads to increased inflammation. Caffeine and alcohol contain diuretic properties, which can cause irritation, inflammation, and infections. Any type of spicy food will cause irritation in the prostate.
Alpha-blockers can also be used to make urination easier by relaxing the muscles in the prostate. Finasteride can help reduce the size of the prostate by preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Please consult with a medical professional before adding supplements into your diet.
Being more physically active.
Research has shown that men who are more physically active are less likely to suffer from BPH and other prostate-related health issues. This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym. Simply, take a walk outside a few nights a week, or take the stairs at work to create a more active lifestyle.
- Any man suffering from the symptoms of BPH may benefit from a conversation with his medical doctor. This may or may not involve referral to a Urologist. But don’t be shy or too embarrassed to make an appointment with a physician to find the treatment option best for you.
- A common tool used by Urologists to gauge the severity of a man’s symptoms is the American Urological Association Symptom Score. This helps your physician to recognize the areas where you are bothered most and help formulate the best treatment plan for you.
- The doctor will then conduct a PSA blood test, urinalysis and a rectal exam. Depending on the results of these tests, they will discuss the patient’s treatment options, which can be anywhere from simply avoiding certain foods, to medication, to potentially an office or surgical procedure.