Can Diet and Exercise Affect BPH?

One reality of BPH and its treatment is that we really don’t have a complete picture of its causes. As a result, clear preventative measures have not been defined…yet. What we do know is, for most men, certain lifestyles or lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of BPH. One such lifestyle consideration may be diet and exercise – the ultimate goal being losing excess weight.1

It is worth considering that not all men will see an improvement in their BPH symptoms as a result of a change or improvement in their diet or exercise habits. Other, unavoidable factors such as genetics also play a role.2 Regardless, this is excellent advice for your general health.

Obesity is a clear and significant risk factor for the development of BPH.1 Men who exercise and had low levels of abdominal fat may have a lower risk of developing BPH. Further, a low-fat diet that includes plenty of protein and vegetables was also associated with a lower risk of BPH. Consuming fruits and vegetables, especially those high in certain vitamins and minerals – like Vitamin C – may help reduce this risk as well.3

Of note, certain supplements – discussed in a separate blog post about treating BPH symptoms with natural supplements – are also touted in the treatment of BPH. Unfortunately, while the benefits seem compelling, there is very little oversight in the herbal therapy market. The quality and purity of these supplements are not strictly monitored and their safety and effectiveness cannot be guaranteed.

Ultimately, a healthy diet and exercise plan can work wonders for a man’s general health, especially as they get older. The possibility of the reduced risk of BPH is a compelling secondary benefit as well.

1Parsons JK, Sarma AV, McVary K, Wei JT, et al. Obesity and benign prostatic hyperplasia: clinical connections, emerging etiological paradigms and future directions. J Urol 2013;189. PMID: 19846130

2Sanda MG, Beaty TH, Stutzman RE, et al. Genetic susceptibility of benign prostatic hyperplasia. J Urol. 1994;152:115-119. PMID: 7515446

3Maserejian NN, Giovannucci EL, McVary KT, McKinlay JB.  Dietary, but Not Supplemental, Intakes of Carotenoids and Vitamin C Are Associated with Decreased Odds of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Men. J Nutr. 2011 February; 141(2): 267–273. PMCID: PMC3021446

4AUA Guidelines on the Management of BPH 2010