Prostate enlargement, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is extremely common in men as they age. BPH can start after the age of 40 and becomes more common as men get older. It affects nearly all men, though some men do not have any symptoms even though their prostate may have started to grow larger. More than half of men in their sixties and as many as 90 percent of men in their seventies and beyond exhibit some symptoms of BPH.
Quick disclaimer – I am required to clearly state that I am not a licensed medical professional nor do I pretend to be one on this site. Take what I write as a launching off point to do your own research. My advice, experience, and suggestions are not to be considered medical advice.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a small, but important gland (organ) in the male reproductive system. Its main role is to make fluid that protects and feeds sperm. The prostate makes about one third of the fluid that is ejaculated (released) from the penis at the time of orgasm.
Where is the prostate?
The prostate is about the size of a walnut and is shaped like a doughnut. The prostate sits underneath the bladder, and surrounds the top part of the urinary tract. Urine passes through the urinary tract on its way from the bladder to the penis.
Why does the prostate become enlarged?
As men age, the male hormone testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and accumulates in the prostate gland. This encourages the growth of cells in the prostate which in turn makes the prostate grow in size. So as men grow older, the prostate grows. At puberty, testosterone levels in boys start to increase and the prostate grows to about eight times its size. It continues to grow, doubling in size between 21 and 50 years, and almost doubles again in size between 50 and 80 years. The reasons for this ongoing growth are not fully understood.
Prostate enlargement is not JUST a side-effect of aging. Lifestyle and diet can potentially play an important role. Dr. Bruce Fife specifically mentions in his book “The Coconut Oil Miracle,” (affiliate link) that prostate enlargement is really only a major problem in westernized countries. He believes this is due to the consumption of processed foods and a more sedentary lifestyle. Men who live in less westernized areas do not appear to be troubles by prostate enlargement as much.
What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (increase in the number of cells) or hypertrophy (increase in cell size) is the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. BPH is the most common prostate disease in men. As the prostate is positioned around the urinary tract, the enlargement of the prostate makes the urinary tract narrow and puts pressure on the base of the bladder. Narrowing of the urinary tract can affect the passing of urine in a number of ways.
What are the symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or an Enlarged Prostate?
- Trouble starting a urine stream or making more than a dribble
- Passing urine often, especially at night
- Feeling that the bladder has not fully emptied
- A strong or sudden urge to pass urine
- Weak or slow urine stream
- Stopping and starting again several times while passing urine
- Pushing or straining to begin passing urine
At its worst, BPH can lead to
- A weak bladder
- Backflow of urine causing bladder or kidney infections
- Complete block in the flow of urine
- Kidney failure
How does Coconut Oil help with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?
In order to understand how coconut oil might actually assistant with prostate enlargement, we much first look at Saw palmetto, the berries of a subtropical plant that are a proven herbal remedy for treating an enlarged prostate.
In order to slow or stop Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, you need to block the conversion of testosterone into DHT. There are several drugs on the market that do this but not everyone wants to go onto pharmaceuticals that many cause additional issues with health and wellness. Saw palmetto berries were found to block the toxic effect of DHT formation.
Saw palmetto’s medicinal effects are derived primarily from the fatty acids in the berries. Many of these fatty acids are medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), something that coconut oil is loaded with. It was stand to reason that if the MCFAs in saw palmetto effectively treated prostate enlargement, that the MCFAs in coconut oil would to.
I am patiently waiting for some studies to be conducted or released that prove that coconut oil’s MCFAs have the same effect. Saw palmetto has been embraced by both the mainstream and holistic medical community. What a huge step it would be if coconut oil was as well!
Be sure to check out other posts on Coconut Oil over on my Coconut Health page!