Enlarged prostate is an exceedingly common health concern for men over age 50. Studies show that 40-50% of men age 51-60 will experience symptoms of enlarged prostate, and by age 80, 80% of men will suffer from it.
This means that enlarged prostate, officially known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), is a problem that most men can expect to face. The prostate is a small organ located below the bladder and surrounding the urethra. Over time, as hormones shift and decline, the prostate grows and swells, eventually pressing on the urethra and blocking the flow of urine to the penis, leading to all kinds of uncomfortable problems.
The ability to urinate is immediately impacted from this condition. While the man feels the need to go, he finds that his stream is weak and the bladder cannot empty completely. This leads to a miserable cycle of running to the bathroom every 5 minutes, with very little relief. Worst is at night. He quickly becomes exhausted and irritable.
Often there is an additional unfortunate consequence of BPH, which is the inability to maintain an erection. Just as the urine was blocked, so too is the flow of blood to the penis. The prostate acts as a vise, clamping down on the flow. Between the infuriating inability to urinate, the chronic fatigue, and the inability to have sex, a gentleman may find himself asking what happened to his vitality and good humor, seemingly overnight. This can lead to depression and other secondary problems.
Western medicine offers therapies with only limited success. The options are pills which relax the bladder but also relax the heart, leading to side effects such as headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, and fatigue; or pills which shrink the prostate but have unfortunate side effects in the bedroom, with diminished sex drive and problems with erection and ejaculation. Or there is surgery, but this can lead to other complications and does not have a stellar success rate.
These are not exciting prospects…what is a guy to do? I recommend you consider acupuncture.
Eastern medicine offers an entirely different approach to treating enlarged prostate. We diagnose based on a long list of qualifying questions, such as do you have pain, and where is it, and is it sharp and stabbing, or dull and achy? Do you have cold legs and knees, and are prone to backache? Do you have ringing in your ears? Is your tongue pale and wet, or is it purplish and thick? There is a particular spot I touch on the wrist that communicates whether the problem is related to blood flow or water flow.
These variety of symptoms indicate different kinds of internal problems. Almost always with enlarged prostate there is an imbalance in the Kidneys at work. If the problem is more about poor blood flow, then the Heart and Liver are also involved. If there is a buildup of dampness in the body, then the Spleen is not performing well.
I select points for acupuncture based on the diagnosis. The point locations vary, on arms and legs, on the low abdomen or the sacrum, and even at the tailbone and perineum. Yes, it’s true, the treatment is a little up close and personal, but is not painful and in fact is very relaxing. After the needles are placed, the patient rests quietly listening to soft music, and drifts to sleep.
And acupuncture gets results. Usually within 2-3 weeks my patients report improvement in the ability to urinate. Another few weeks and they are sleeping uninterrupted through the night . And they are delighted to report that their energy is higher, their mental clarity and memory are better, their mood is improved, and their libido has awakened. As a practitioner this is such rewarding news. It’s an amazing thing, to watch a person emerge from the fog of frustration and depression to regain their vitality and quality of life.
The great news is that many health insurance plans now cover acupuncture! Call today to inquire if yours does! (520) 318-5560.
Candice Thomas is a licensed acupuncturist in Tucson, specializing in chronic pain, stress relief, and prostate health. Visit her at www.LightWorksAcupuncture.com.