Prostatitis and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BHP) both refer to swelling of the prostate, a small gland tucked underneath the bladder in men (women don’t have prostates). Prostatitis/BHP can be acute (short term) or chronic (long term) and can have a number of causes.
Acute prostatitis is caused by an infection. It comes on quickly and is normally painful. Symptoms can be severe, and may need immediate treatment. Antibiotics are normally effective.
Chronic prostatitis or BHP are not normally caused by infection, and will come on more slowly. There will be various urinary symptoms, such as difficulty or stop-start urinating, urgency, dribbling urination, feeling that the bladder isn’t fully emptied after urination and so on. Sometimes there can be symptoms to do with sexual function too, such as erectile dysfunction.
There may also be pain, anything from a dull ache to a much more severe pain. In this case, the diagnosis Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS) is sometimes used.
Conventional treatments include painkillers, alpha-blockers to help relax the muscles and even antibiotics, even though it is unlikely that there is an infection in chronic cases. Needless to say, these treatments all have their side-effects. Sometimes more drastic measures are taken, such as surgery to ‘shave’ the prostate, which should be a last resort.
The NHS website admits that ‘chronic prostatitis can be challenging to treat because little is known about what causes it’ and this makes conventional treatment hit-and-miss at best.
The Chinese Medicine Treatment of Prostatitis
Fortunately, Chinese medicine has a lot to offer in the treatment of chronic prostatitis. As always, it is a person-centered diagnosis and treatment that looks at each person individually. Prostatits symptoms very a lot between different men, and the Chinese medicine approach is work out exactly where the imbalances are for each individual, and treat appropriately.
In my Bristol Chinese medicine clinic I have successfully treated a number of men with chronic prostatitis, and I’m fortunate to have been able to spend time in Beijing with herbal medicine master Dr Feng, an expert in men’s health, and see his approach to treating cases of prostatitis.
Chinese medicine, especially herbal medicine, can be very effective for prostatitis. A study by Dr. Zhou et al published in the Journal Of Andrology looked at the effects of a Chinese herbal formula on prostatitis and found a reduction of symptoms of 76.9% in the treatmnet group, against 53.8% in the control group. In a separate study by Dr. Zhang, also published in the Journal Of Andrology, a different formula was studied, with an overall amelioration rate of 62.21% after 1 month of taking the herbs.
Chinese herbal medicine can address the swelling of the prostate and relive the associated symptoms, regulating both urinary and sexual functioning, sometimes quite quickly. If you or anyone you know is suffering with prostatitis, I would definitely recommend considering Chinese herbal treatment.