Celery, palmetto may help symptoms of BPH

Q. I have had an enlarged prostate gland for a number of years and have found saw palmetto beneficial in relieving the symptoms. I have also modified my diet and try to eat several stalks of raw celery every day. Much to my surprise, I can now sleep through the night without getting up for the usual bathroom break. It is also possible to go for six to eight hours during the daytime without the urge to urinate. I am not sure why eating celery alleviates the symptoms of BPH, but I think this dietary tip might be helpful to readers with a similar medical condition.

A. Saw palmetto has been used by millions of men for relief from the symptoms of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), otherwise known as an enlarged prostate. When BPH occurs, and it happens to almost every man as he ages, pressure is placed on the urethra, causing problems with urination. The condition is not cancerous, nor does it increase the risk for prostate cancer.

Symptoms can include urinary retention, incontinence, pain with urination, a slowed start of the urinary stream, dribbling and the annoying need to urinate several times a night.

I am unclear as to how celery is helping ease your symptoms of BPH. Perhaps the saw palmetto is the substance responsible, and the celery is only incidental. Have you made any other dietary changes, such as reducing your caffeine or alcohol intake? They can act as diuretics and can worsen BPH symptoms.

Thank you for sharing this useful tip that is sure to be tried by many men with the condition.

Q. What causes calcification of cells? I have calcified cells in my right breast. I just had my six-month mammogram to check them. I will go back to my doctor soon to hear the results but would appreciate your comments.

A. The calcifications to which you refer represent calcium deposits within the breast tissue that appear as flecks or white spots on a mammogram. They typically appear as tiny grains of salt and cannot be felt by palpation and are particularly prevalent following menopause. While commonly benign, certain calcification patterns, such as clusters with irregular shapes, may indicate cancer. Should a radiologist or physician have any question, additional testing such as a follow-up mammogram, ultrasound or biopsy may be appropriate.

Causes of benign calcifications include cysts in the breasts, dermal or vascular calcifications, cell secretion, ectasia of the mammary duct, prior radiation treatment for cancer, fibroadenomas, mastitis, prior injury and more.

Your physician(s) will definitely want to see you on a timely basis to be assured the calcifications remain stable and don't change in appearance. Keep informed, and follow your doctor's advice. If for any reason you are uncomfortable in either waiting and watching or having specific testing performed, request a second opinion.

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