Over 30 million Americans suffer from the enlarged prostate gland. The symptoms include getting up at night to urinate, frequency of urination, and dribbling after urination. Constantly rushing to the bathroom is a common complaint among the millions of men who develop an enlarged prostate gland, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This blog will discuss the treatment with the herbal product, saw palmetto.
Saw palmetto has been used to treat urologic conditions since the days of the ancient Egyptians. It is a common non-medical approach to the enlarged prostate gland.
Here are five reasons you should skip saw palmetto and head to the doctor for advice instead.
1. It’s no better than a placebo.
Researchers have shown that saw palmetto is no better than a placebo at alleviating symptoms. Large studies have also shown the same effect in scientific studies comparing saw palmetto to placebo.
2. Its dosage may vary.
Even if you wanted to try taking a regular dose of saw palmetto, there’s currently no guarantee that the supplement you choose contains what it says it does. One study analyzed six different brands of the supplement and found that half of them contained less than 20 percent of the amount stated on the label.
3. It might not be safe.
Saw palmetto doesn’t seem to have any major side effects, but some users have reported headaches, nausea, and dizziness. However, we haven’t seen studies proving that saw palmetto is actually safe for the long term. In addition, supplements, including saw palmetto, are not well regulated by the FDA, and it’s not uncommon for wily manufacturers to distribute tainted products. You may think you’re taking a “natural” herbal remedy, but for all you know, you could be taking prescription, or even experimental, drugs.
4. It might mask another problem.
If you have symptoms of an enlarged prostate, including frequent urination, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an enlarged prostate. The same symptoms might pop up if you have prostatitis (an inflamed or infected prostate gland) or a bladder infection that can be treated with an antibiotic. Or the symptoms might even be a side effect of another medication. If supplements relieve your symptoms for some reason, you might neglect treating another ailment.
5. It’s a waste of money.
Instead of throwing your dollars away on saw palmetto supplements, see your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and find out about approved drugs that can help. Common treatments include alpha-blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. Visit Consumer Reports’ Best Buy Drugs to find out more about drugs it recommends for treating enlarged prostate.
Bottom Line: The enlarged prostate is a common problem affecting millions of American men. Saw palmetto is an over the counter non-medical, herbal supplement that probably has minimal or even no benefit at all. All men with symptoms prostate enlargement should seek medical care as solutions are available.