Dr. Stengler's Medical Mystery: The Prostate Problem Urologists Couldn't Cure
Sooner or later, most men experience a problem with their prostate gland. The lion's share of their anxiety and attention understandably gets focused on prostate cancer, but there is another common prostate problem that affects many -- an inflammation of the gland called prostatitis, which can impact fertility. It can be quite painful and difficult to correct, which 65-year-old "Thomas" discovered over a three-year period, as he struggled with prostatitis that mainstream medical doctors were unable to cure.
NOTHING WAS WORKING
Thomas had consulted several urologists in his attempts to resolve his pelvic and rectal pain and urinary problems and return to good health. The doctors correctly diagnosed his condition as prostatitis, but the multiple rounds of antibiotics they prescribed didn't make it go away. He decided it was time to see if there might be natural treatments that would do the job. It was a long shot, he told his wife, but after getting no relief from pharmaceutical drugs, he was willing to give natural medicine a try... so he called Mark A. Stengler, ND.
The symptoms Thomas described to Dr. Stengler were indeed troubling. He experienced chronic pain in his pelvis and abdomen, his lower back and in the rectal area. In fact, the pain near his rectum was so bad he described it to Dr. Stengler as feeling like he was "sitting on a ball." He frequently needed to urinate, often experiencing a burning sensation when he did. These symptoms were familiar to Dr. Stengler, since he'd treated other men with them. He suspected that while Thomas did have prostatitis, it was of a different type than the urologists had been treating. He believed Thomas's problem was not the bacterial-related prostatitis that responds to antibiotics, but more likely a type the National Institutes of Health (NIH) now classifies as prostatitis Category 3, which includes conditions previously known as nonbacterial prostatitis, prostatodynia and chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Dr. Stengler says this can be caused by Candida albicans. The cure for category 3 prostatitis isn't as straightforward as taking an antibiotic and typically involves patience in order to get to the root of what's causing the uncomfortable symptoms.
The first step Dr. Stengler took was to order a urine culture test for fungus -- something the other doctors had not done. Fungal growth can result from having reduced immunity or earlier use of antibiotics that destroy good bacteria normally found in the urinary tract, which in turn leads to C. albicans overgrowth that can become embedded in the prostate tissue. When the culture came back positive for C. albicans, Dr. Stengler prescribed treatment with the following anti-fungal herbs:
Dr. Stengler also prescribed a probiotic to restore the healthy bacteria in Thomas's digestive tract, advising a product that provides a daily total of five to 10 billion colony-forming units. For pain, he prescribed the homeopathic plant-based substance Chimaphila umbellata, which can provide quick relief and also lasting improvement by reducing prostate inflammation.
While prostatitis is often caused by bacterial infection, it is important to be aware that this is not always the case. Category 3, the one that Thomas suffered, is more mysterious in that numerous factors seem able to trigger it. Urine backup that enables microbes to build up in the prostate is quite often the source of the problem. Also, urine may infiltrate the prostate when a man does heavy lifting with a full bladder, as well as by engaging in physical activities that irritate the prostate, such as biking. Less commonly, a virus can trigger Category 3 prostatitis, including viral interstitial cystitis, though this urinary tract infection is more common in women than men. For these reasons, men who have prostatitis should always request a urine culture to identify possible causes beyond bacterial infection.
It was five years ago that Thomas first saw Dr. Stengler in hopes of a natural medicine cure for his chronic prostatitis, and to his great relief, the natural treatments did the job. While bacterial prostatitis does respond well to antibiotics, natural interventions prescribed by an ND may be even more effective since they address the yeast type of fungus (Candida) that underlies many types of prostatitis.
To avoid a recurrence -- or for that matter an initial onset of prostatitis of any sort -- Dr. Stengler advises limiting substances that inflame the prostate, including caffeine, alcohol and refined carbs. Be sure to drink plenty of water to flush the urinary tract and to get adequate anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids by eating cold-water fish or taking fish-oil supplements as prescribed by your physician.
Mark A. Stengler, ND, a naturopathic physician and leading authority on the practice of alternative and integrated medicine. He is director of the La Jolla Whole Health Clinic, La Jolla, California, and associate clinical professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon. He is author of the newsletter Bottom Line Natural Healing, www.DrStengler.com.