Probiotics for Prostatitis Treatment
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria and microflora that reside in your gut. These yeasts and “good” bacteria normally reside in balance with other bacteria in the intestinal tract. Taking probiotics for prostatitis is recommended to help restore this balance.
Probiotics are considered a natural and alternative treatment for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) and are also especially helpful if you have bacterial prostatitis, especially if you have taken antibiotics. Probiotics work well for managing prostatitis, especially when they are combined with the supplements pollen and quercetin as part of phytotherapy.
Taking a probiotic supplement can help you restore the balance of good/bad bacteria in your intestinal tract, which can help you to fight the effects of these organisms. Probiotics can help to restore gut health, which is especially compromised by taking antibiotics that are commonly prescribed for prostatitis.
Since widespread use of antibiotics can kill off both the beneficial and the harmful bacteria in your body, some of the more harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract can take over, causing health problems such as diarrhea, rashes, ulcers, and gum problems. It has even been hypothesized that widespread use of antibiotics can increase risk of developing chronic prostatitis. If you have recently taken antibiotics, using supplements like probiotics can help you to restore a healthy balance and promote immunity by restoring your beneficial bacteria.
The largest group of beneficial bacteria found in the gut are those in the genus Lactobacillus, followed by Bifidobacterium. Each of these two groups has scores of species and subspecies, and researchers are still exploring the traits and benefits of these microorganisms.
Probiotics are beneficial to men’s health in several ways. The following includes the benefits of the two main types of “good” bacteria:
- Lactobacillus, as well as the genuses Streptococcus and Lactococcus, are known as lactic acid bacteria. These beneficial bacteria help break down food, and in the process form lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide. This in turn helps eliminate bad bacteria and help restore balance to the gut. They also are critical in promoting digestion, nurturing immune system function, boosting the synthesis of B vitamins, and aiding in the absorption of nutrients (including calcium).
- Bifidobacterium species also produce lactic acid, but they can be beneficial in different ways. Generally they support the immune system, aid in digestion, help reduce cholesterol levels, fight allergic reactions and infections, and have some anticancer properties.
It can be beneficial to provide your body with both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species of probiotics on a daily basis.
How Do Probiotics Work for Treating Prostatitis?
Long before researchers began to understand the scientific basis behind the benefits of probiotic supplements, many different societies were enjoying foods that provided these beneficial bacteria by consuming fermented foods and beverages that are still available today. The ancient Romans ate sauerkraut while members of ancient (and contemporary) Indian society enjoyed a raw yogurt beverage. A variety of fermented vegetables have been a popular part of Asian culture for millennia while Bulgarians and people of the Ukraine make fermented dairy beverages a part of their regular diet.
In the early 1900s, beneficial bacteria received some scientific recognition, but it was many decades later when a better appreciation of the health benefits developed. This delay is partly because these good bacteria are a natural substance and not a profitable product for the pharmaceutical companies, who were busy introducing many new drugs to the market. In more recent years, research on probiotics has been brisk, and an appreciation for these good microorganisms has been growing.
One of the best ways to prevent prostatitis from developing is to keep the immune system in optimal condition. Providing the gut—which controls 70 to 80% of immune function—with a probiotic supplement on a regular, everyday basis can help you meet that goal. If the population of beneficial bacteria in your gut is reduced or compromised due to illness, stress, or the presence of toxins (including medications such as antibiotics), it’s important to replenish your levels of good bacteria and restore balance to the intestinal tract.
Probiotics for Bacterial Prostatitis
Urinary tract infections, epididymitis, and urethritis are among the common causes of bacterial prostatitis. The bacteria that cause these infections, which can result in prostatitis, may be held at bay or eliminated if the gut is well populated with probiotics. Therefore, regular ingestion of probiotics can assist in preventing the development of acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis by fighting both inflammation and the possibility of infection.
Although prevention is a goal, you can still develop prostatitis, and that’s when probiotics can help with management. Doctors prescribe antibiotics for bacterial prostatitis, sometimes for several weeks, and this places men at risk of developing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. In the case of chronic bacterial prostatitis, the infection frequently returns and needs to be treated for months, placing men at additional risk. If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics to treat your condition, you can take a greater dose of a combination of beneficial bacteria to prevent or reduce inflammation as well as antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
Probiotics for Chronic Prostatitis
The most common type of prostatitis is a nonbacterial form called chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). Even though this prostate disease is termed “nonbacterial,” the disease-causing microorganisms can still play a role in it. In fact, two potential causes of nonbacterial prostatitis are having a history of bacterial infection in the prostate and also the atypical bacteria that resist treatment with antibiotics. That is why it is wise to use probiotics on a daily basis and especially when a prostate problem is suspected.
Some experts believe that an imbalance in the bacteria normally found in the urethra may reach the prostate and be involved in causing chronic prostatitis. They also suggest that the common use of antibiotics (typically prescribed for chronic prostatitis) may trigger the disease. (Liu) If this is the case, then using probiotics could be helpful in managing prostatitis.
Another theory about prostatitis is that it is an autoimmune disorder. Probiotics are immune system supporters, so regular use of beneficial bacteria could serve to boost the immune response and guard against this inflammatory disease.
Probiotics can help to both prevent and manage CP/CPPS. When probiotics are combined with other supplements such as pollen extracts and quercetin as phytotherapy, they have been shown to have long-term favorable outcomes for CP/CPPS. That is why phytotherapy is a recommended treatment for whole-body approaches to CP/CPPS such as organ-specific domains of the UPOINT system and the NPAT CPPS Treatment Program. (NPAT stands for Natural treatments, Phytotherapy, Alternative treatments, and Total body.)
Good health depends on your having a healthy balance of friendly bacteria in your gut to offset the negative effects of the harmful microorganisms that also reside there. Maintaining a healthy balance of intestinal flora is important not just for managing prostatitis but every day. Even though you should take steps to correct occasions when your beneficial bacteria levels are jeopardized, it’s also essential to maintain healthy levels of beneficial bacteria all the time. As a group, probiotics play a critical role in maintaining your overall health, including your prostate health.
How to Find a Good Probiotic Source
Probiotics are a good idea for men’s whole-body health, and they are best taken daily because maintaining a healthy balance of intestinal flora is important 24/7, every day of your life. There are two sources of probiotics: food and supplements.
Foods that contain probiotics include fermented vegetables (including sauerkraut and kimchee), yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and items that are enriched with good bacteria. Although it is a good idea to include these foods in your diet, they often do not contain a significant amount of active bacteria, especially if the products have been pasteurized or otherwise processed, as these methods can kill the beneficial bacteria.
The other option is to take a high-quality men’s probiotic supplement from a reputable manufacturer. You should look for products that offer a variety of well-researched Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species to help ensure you replenish and restore a healthful balance of bacteria in your gut for overall health and your prostate health in particular. Also, combining probiotics for prostatitis with other natural supplements such as quercetin and pollen extracts (called phytotherapy) can help you successfully manage your chronic prostatitis.
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WebMD: What are probiotics?