Most men consider prostate issues something that only affects older men.

Prostate health: A Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective

We explore the root causes of prostate disease and herbal treatment from a TCM perspective.

Understanding prostate health

Prostate disorders beg greater attention and understanding given they affect such a large percentage of the male population; more than one in three of all men over 50 will have some symptoms of prostate enlargement (1), 15% of men of all ages will experience acute inflammation of the prostate at some point in their lives (with 2-10% suffering from chronic inflammation of the prostate) (2) and prostate cancer is currently the most common form of cancer in men (3). Given the nature of the symptoms involved, prostate disease can have many detrimental effects – both physical and psychological – on those affected, with a huge impact on quality of life.

The prostate is a small gland located around the base of the urethra (the tube via which urine is excreted) in men that secretes seminal fluid. The primary prostate conditions are:

Prostatitis (chiefly: acute bacterial, chronic bacterial and chronic non-bacterial prostatitis): inflammation of the prostate gland

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland

Prostate Cancer: cancer of the prostate gland (1)

Of these disorders, chronic non-bacterial prostatitis (often known as Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS)) is the most common prostate condition in men under 50 and BPH the most common for those over 50 and the most common prostate disorder, overall. Of all the prostate diseases, they are also the least understood by allopathic medicine, where no exact causes are known. CPPS and BPH present challenges to modern medicine, where treatment is largely aimed at symptom control and recovery is often slow. (1,4)

While TCM does not have specific disease categories for CPPS and BPH, it has used herbal medicine to treat their associated symptoms for millennia. Prior to the introduction of conventional medicine in China, the Chinese relied exclusively on TCM to treat BPH for more than 3,000 years. (5) And, while more good quality research is needed, some recent research studies for TCM for BPH and CPPS have yielded promising results. (5-9)

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

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