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Why Saw Palmetto Is Not Effective Against Enlarged Prostate

Jul 29, 2008
When the prostate tissue surrounding the urethra starts to expand, the person immediately starts to have problems with urination. This is also known as a condition called Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, or enlarged prostate, and affects men over the age of 40. This condition is normal and is thought to be the natural part of aging. Some men are more affected than others. The most common reaction is to visit the doctor in order to get help. However, there are some men that avoid the doctor in order to stay away from prescription medications or to have an exam. There are natural alternatives, such as Saw Palmetto, but there are certain theories against this alternative prevention.

Saw palmetto is a small palm tree, also known as the American Dwarf Palm, which is usually found in the Southeastern areas of the United States. The tree has small seeds that have been thought to help cure an enlarged prostate. Research has proven that close to 2 million men in the United States use saw palmetto with hopes that it will improve their prostate. In earlier studies, saw palmetto proved to be effective in the treatment of an enlarged prostate. However, in a more recent and more controlled trial, a double blind placebo failed to show any effects of saw palmetto on the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy. It is thought that in earlier trials, the patients were able to smell the saw palmetto in the placebos, thus making the results false.

While using saw palmetto is risk free in some cases, and it does not hurt to try any type of alternative treatment, there are some side effects that all users should be aware of first. An allergic reaction to the treatment is rare, but it has been seen in some men. The allergic reactions are shown with trouble breathing, the closing of the throat, inflammation of the lips or tongue, and the swelling of the face mixed with hives. If you see any of these allergic reactions, it is recommended that you stop taking the treatment and contact your doctor immediately.

Other less serious side effects have been found, such as nausea, cramping, diarrhea, and headaches. You might also experience other side effects, but it depends on the person and what other medications they might be taking. In some instances, taking saw palmetto can keep the person from experiencing nausea but it is not guaranteed. If you feel any discomfort, even a headache, you should still contact your doctor to make sure that you do not have the early signs of an allergic reaction.

To lessen the risk of having any side effects, never take saw palmetto without consulting with your doctor first. Some medications do not mix well with saw palmetto. This could potentially harm you and your prostate more than it already is. Alternative treatments are not for everyone and you can never be sure how your body will react to the supplement. Saw palmetto contains ingredients that affect your hormone levels, and the beginning results could be more than what you were expecting.
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