Aging & Health A to Z
Lifestyle & Management
Managing Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Lifestyle changes may help relieve symptoms and allow you to avoid surgery. You may feel better if you:
- Drink less than 2 quarts of fluids per day
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine (all bladder irritants)
- Stop drinking fluids after your evening meal
- Urinate at least every 3 hours and try to make sure your bladder is really empty.
- Stay warm and try to exercise regularly.
- Avoid decongestants and antihistamines that contain pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and other adrenergic medicines and diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
- Talk to your doctor about changing medications or reducing the dose if you are taking diuretics (water pills), antidepressants, or drugs to treat spasticity. These may all worsen BPH symptoms.
- Do pelvic floor muscle exercises to reduce urine leakage. Try to stop the flow of urine for 20 seconds while you are urinating. Repeat the same muscle contractions 5-15 times, three to five times daily.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly those high in beta-carotene and vitamin C.
- Stay away from high doses of zinc supplements, which can worsen BPH.
Men with prostatitis often experience symptom relief with the following approaches:
- Soaking in a warm bath (sitz bath)
- Staying away from alcohol, caffeine, acidic or spicy foods
- Sitting on a soft cushion or special inflated pillow to reduce pressure on the prostate
- Stop bicycling or use a soft, wide bicycle seat and padded shorts.
Some “alternative” or “complementary” approaches include:
- Biofeedback (a technique of muscle relaxation and body control)
- Acupuncture (a Chinese technique of pain control that involves inserting thin needles into your skin at certain points on your body)
- Herbal supplements (rye grass, quercetin, saw palmetto, vitamins and minerals). None have been confirmed to be beneficial, and some may be harmful, so check with your healthcare provider before taking herbal preparations.
Since a diet high in animal fats is linked to a higher risk for prostate cancer, many men choose to modify their diet—as well as their lifestyle—as follows:
- Reduce meat consumption, especially red meat
- Increase consumption of whole grains, tomatoes, vegetables, fish, and soy products
- Lose weight if you are obese
- Increase exercise
- Stop smoking
- Stop drinking alcohol.
Updated: May 2012
Posted: May 2012