Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) is a common problem of aging for men. It affects one in four men over the age of 50. BPH is a noncancerous growth of the prostate gland and it makes urination difficult and uncomfortable. The expanding prostate squeezes the urethra, the channel that carries urine from the bladder.
As a man ages, testosterone levels decrease as estrogen levels increase. He tends to become more vulnerable to the effects of certain hormones, including (DHT) dihydrotestosterone, which also rise. As DHT stimulates cell growth, the cells multiply and cause the gland to increase in size. This noncancerous growth is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). It becomes a medical issue when the prostate grows large enough to obstruct the urethra, the canal that carries urine from the bladder to the tip of the penis.
Symptoms of BPH include a frequent urge to urinate, increased urination during the night, urinary urgency, difficulty starting urination, trouble with ejaculation and dribbling at the end of urination, pain in the perineum, painful, burning urination, a feeble urinary stream, and impotence.
As much as 98 percent of BPH is combined with some kind of inflammation-chronic prostatitis. It is estimated that half of all men have BPH in their 50s and as many as 90% of men will feel the sort of squeezing as they reach 70s . Although annoying, an enlarged prostate usually is not serious unless it impairs complete emptying of the bladder. During your routine physical, your doctor will do a simple digital rectal exam (DRE) and a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test, which is done to keep a close watch on your prostate.
Signs and Symptoms:
- The need to urinate frequently
- Inability to sleep through the night without getting up to urinate
- Difficulty starting urine stream or complete inability to urinate
- Decreased strength and force of the urine stream
- Dribbling after urination ends
- Blood in the urine (BPH can cause small blood vessels to burst)
BPH is called a silent disease because it doesn’t always causes pain, men commonly don’t feel its progression and men won’t willingly talk about it even to close friends.
Acupuncture treatments have proven effective for BPH. The acupuncture treatment is individualized to each patient’s presentation. The goal of the treatment is to balance the disharmony, open the acupuncture channels, reduce inflammation, stop pain, stop bleeding, shrink prostate, and smooth urination. The treatment achieves this goal by regulating the qi flow throughout the body, particularly the lower abdomen and sacral regions. Acupuncture points for BPH tend to be on the lower abdomen, lower back, sacrum, arms, legs, and ears. Electroacupuncture and moxibustion may also be used to augment the acupuncture itself.
Generally, a treatment course consists of ten acupuncture treatments – 1 to 3 treatments a week. Depending on the severity of your conditions, you may need to come for one or more courses of treatment. For BPH, improvement is gradual but can be long lasting.