Naturopathic Medicine For Men's Health
Competition and sports are an important part of many peoples’ lives, especially men. In the case of elite and professional competitors, athletes go to extreme lengths to improve their performance. Beyond hard work and technical practice, a few athletes risk their careers and their health by using performance enhancing substances. These practices are not only usually illegal, they are also often very damaging to long term health. It is really important for parents, coaches, teachers, and physicians to talk with young men and women about this issue and the associated risks.
For the more typical man interested in pursuing sports and competition for health and pleasure, naturopathic medicine can help you to be well prepared to compete, recover from your activity quickly, prevent injury and treat many common sports injuries.
Once again, proper eating will be a cornerstone of helping you prepare to participate in sport. A whole foods diet rich in high quality protein, complex carbohydrates, and beneficial fats will be recommended. Plenty of water to ensure properly hydrated muscles and other tissues is also very important. An ND experienced in sports medicine will be able to help advise you on an appropriate training schedule to help prevent injury and to perform your best. There are particular nutrients, particularly minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium that should be part of your recovery program, as they will help to minimize muscle soreness and help you recover more quickly.
With sports and competition comes the risk of injury. Muscle strains, ligament sprains, tendonitis, and stress fractures are just a small sampling of the many common types of sports injuries. Serious injuries may require comprehensive evaluation and sometimes surgical repair. An ND will make this diagnosis, and refer you to the appropriate medical professional to take care of any serious problems. They can also recommend pre and post surgical programs to help prepare you for surgery and promote a speedy recovery. If nothing serious is diagnosed, an ND can treat you for the more common and less serious types of sports injuries by utilizing natural anti-inflammatory supplements such as fish oil and bromelain. Very often, physiotherapy is effective in treating sports injuries. Therapies such as ultrasound are commonly used by ND’s to treat these injuries. Manual therapy, meaning hands on therapy, will also commonly be employed by ND’s for treating sports injuries. Soft tissue as well as osseous (bony) tissue techniques will often be used together to promote healing.
Exercise is a vital part of health and well being. A naturopathic doctor can work in partnership with you to keep you performing in peak condition.
As men age, it is common for the prostate gland to enlarge. This enlargement can result in symptoms of a weak or split urinary stream, frequent urination, and an inability to completely empty the bladder. This condition is called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). While this is not a dangerous condition, it can be very uncomfortable and disruptive for men. It is important that you consult with an ND or other health care professional if you have any of these symptoms. Prostate cancer can also cause some of these symptoms, so it’s important to have an accurate diagnosis of your condition. Naturopathic medicine can help men with enlarged prostate glands. Diet changes can be helpful. It’s important to reduce intake of saturated fats and excessive alcohol. Essential fatty acids such as fish oil and flaxseed oil are beneficial. Zinc is a helpful nutrient, and can be found in pumpkin seeds and oysters. There are two herbs that have research documenting their benefit in BPH. The two herbs are saw palmetto and pygeum. Don’t let BPH slow you down. Consult with an ND to see if naturopathic approaches might work for you.
Sexual function is an important part of many men’s’ sense of health and well being, and sexual dysfunction is a fairly common problem for men. There are many different causes for sexual dysfunction in men, ranging from physical causes such as diabetes to mental and emotional causes such as stress and depression. Often, it’s a combination of factors. The first step in addressing sexual dysfunction is to have a thorough evaluation conducted to identify all of the contributing factors. A naturopathic physician will review your symptoms, diet, sleep patterns, habits, stress levels, potential toxic exposures, medications and supplements, and other areas as appropriate to assess your specific situation. Laboratory testing will most likely be ordered to look for problems such as anemia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, etc. Once your ND has collected and evaluated all of this information, an assessment of the cause of your sexual dysfunction will be formulated. From that assessment, a treatment plan will be developed to address the causes. Diet advice, counseling, homeopathy, and certain nutritional and botanical supplements may all be a part of your treatment plan. Arginine is an amino acid that can play a role in the treatment of sexual dysfunction by improving the function of the circulatory system and blood supply to the penis and surrounding tissues. Gingko biloba is an herb that can also improve blood supply, often improving impotence that is the result of poor blood supply. And finally of course, a healthful diet and lifestyle is critical to establish and maintain a vital and healthy sexual life.