Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy, is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland in men. As men age, the prostate gland slowly grows bigger and presses on the urethra. This causes the flow of the urine to be slower and less forceful, with the need to empty the bladder more frequently both during the day and night. Other symptoms include difficulty in starting the urine flow and dribbling after urination ends. Medications and surgery are the standard line of treatment for this condition.
The Ayurvedic treatment of BPH is aimed at reducing the size of the prostate gland. Medicines used for this purpose are: Chandraprabha-Vati, Gokshuradi-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Triphala-Guggulu, Kanchnaar-Guggulu, Gomutra-Haritaki, Arogya-Vardhini, Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Behada (Terminalia bellerica), Sunthi (Zinziber officinalis), Marich (Piper nigrum), Pippali (Piper longum), Shilajit (Purified Bitumen), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Pashanbhed (Bergenia lingulata), Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Musli (Curculigo orchioides), Daru-Haridra (Berberis aristata), Deodar (Cedrus deodara), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Apamarga (Achyranthus aspera), Sahinjan ( Moringa pterygosperma) and Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa).
In addition, medicines which act on the ‘Mansa’ dhatu (tissue) are useful in this condition. These medicines include Triphala (Three fruits), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Draksha (Vitis vinifera) and Kutaj (Holarrhina antidysentrica).
Patients who do not respond to the above mentioned medicines are given additional medicines like Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens), Kuchla (Strychnos nuxvomica), Samudrashosh (Argyreia speciosa), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Vacha (Acorus calamus), Varun (Crataeva nurvala), Yav-Kshar, Apamarg-Kshar, Mulak-Kshar and Trivang-Bhasma.
Treatment needs to be tailor-made for each patient, since not all patients respond to the same medicines. Depending upon the presenting symptoms and perceived enlargement of the prostate gland, a combination of 2-3 medicines is used for a minimum period of 2 weeks. If there is no improvement after 2 weeks, the combination is changed. On determining that a particular combination is effective, it should be continued for a period of at least 6 months.
It is important to note that the symptoms of BPH can also be present in other conditions like a urinary infection, prostate cancer or a bladder tumor. An accurate diagnosis of BPH is therefore very important before initiating any treatment. All such patients should be under the regular care and supervision of an Urologist.