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Acupuncture may help improve enlarged prostate

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Acupuncture may help improve conditions for those with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate glands, and could stand in as an alternative to traditional drug or surgical treatments, local media reported yesterday.

Yiu Rong-sheng, a physician with the Chinese Medical Department at Chi Mei Medical Center, explained that senile BPH is nowadays a common affliction as a result of westernized diets, and that acupuncture may be effective for mild to moderate cases by improving blood and energy flow to the prostate region.

Statistics have shown that an estimated 75 percent of men over 50 years have BPH, with 50 percent showing symptoms, and that 70 percent of males experience difficulty urinating by age 70.

According to local studies, acupuncture could relieve the discomfort that comes with urinary problems through stimulating specific points on the body, Yiu said.

He added that the fine needle treatment would help regulate functions of the prostate, bladder and urethra in order to help relax the urethral sphincter and smooth muscles of the prostate as well as to increase the distensibility of the bladder.

Applying pressure on acupoints like Guanyuan around the lower stomach and Sanyinjiao, Zusanli and Taichong on the feet would alleviate BPH symptoms, said the doctor.

Yiu has been leading an ongoing study to evaluate the effectiveness of the needle technique on relieving symptoms of enlarged prostate glands, such as urinary hesitancy, frequent or painful urination.

Of the 20 patients involved with the research, most have shown improvement after treatment, but the extent to which the therapeutic procedure has helped each individual varies, Yiu said.

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