Saw palmetto extract

Saw palmetto extract is an herbal nutritional supplement that is derived from the saw palmetto plant. This plant grows in most regions of Florida however it is mostly found in the south central region of the state. It can also be found in certain areas of Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi. This herbal extract has been used for many years in Europe as a treatment for benign prostatic hypertrophy or an enlarged prostate gland. This is a very common ailment in men over the age of 50.

Some of the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy include problems with urination including difficulty starting a stream of urine and having problems with the flow of urine once it has started. A lot of men feel that they are not emptying their bladder properly when they have this problem. Many men have problems with painful urination and the feeling of having to go urinate again soon after they have just relieved themselves. Other symptoms include having to get up and urinate at night after going to bed and having increased frequency of urination. These symptoms are caused by the prostate becoming enlarged and obstructing the urethra or tube that carries the urine from the bladder to the penis. Men can lose bladder tone and function when this condition is present for a period of time.

There are some severe complications that can occur with this problem. The urethra can be totally obstructed which can completely block the flow of urine. This can cause a backflow of urine into the bladder, ureters, and even the kidneys. The backflow can cause bladder and kidney infections and in extreme cases even kidney failure.

Men who have benign prostatic hypertrophy or symptoms of this disease should be evaluated by a medical professional. There are treatment options in the early stages that include natural supplements such as saw palmetto. Saw palmetto has been evaluated in several clinical trials and has been proven to be effective in the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy. In 2002 a Russian study was published which had followed 150 men who had been treated with saw palmetto for this disease process. The men were evaluated several times during a 24 month period of time. Each evaluation showed that the men who had been treated with the herbal supplement showed marked improvement in their symptoms. Their quality of life and sexual function also had improved. Urine flow improved over a six month period and remained improved during the period of the study. All of the men showed a reduction in the size of their prostate after treatment. There were a minimal amount of adverse events reported but none were involved with the treatment plan or with the saw palmetto itself. There were no side effects reported from the men using saw palmetto.

Another clinical trial done in the United States in the 1990’s followed over 500 men in a 90 day study to evaluate the effect that saw palmetto had on benign prostatic hypertrophy and the effect it had on PSA levels in the blood. There had been some concern as to whether saw palmetto might cause lower values on PSA tests than were accurate. This is a laboratory test that is done to screen men for prostate cancer. Increased levels can show the possibility to cancer. The study followed 305 of the men noted above. The findings were that all of the men showed at least a 10% decrease in the size of their prostate gland after 90 days of treatment. Over 88% of the men treated felt that the saw palmetto had helped their symptoms during the clinical trial. Almost 90% of the urologists that were participating in the study agreed with that assessment. There were no serious side effects reported during the trial. The men started seeing improvement in their symptoms within 45 days. This is much earlier than most prescription drugs can offer. On average it may take up to six months for prescription drugs to give men the level of improvement seen with the saw palmetto.

Saw palmetto seems to be a very safe and effective treatment for benign prostatic hypertrophy. However even the experts agree that this should not be used alone for treatment of the disease. A thorough evaluation of the problem should be done by a specialist such as a urologist and a treatment plan formed which can include a supplement such as saw palmetto. There are some other supplements which can be used in addition to saw palmetto to increase its effectiveness. These interventions should be discussed with a physician to develop an individual treatment plan. The only other treatment for this disease is prescription medication or surgical intervention.

Last updated on Feb 6th, 2010 and filed under Alternative Medicine. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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