Harvard Men's Health Watch

How to beat the post-saw palmetto blues

Despite disappointing scientific tests of saw palmetto to ease bothersome urinary symptoms, men still have self-help options.

Many men have tried saw palmetto in hopes of relieving bothersome lower urinary tract symptoms, such as waking repeatedly in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. But the latest and best clinical trial data have left doctors far less likely to suggest a trial run of the herbal remedy. "Given the data, I actively suggest saw palmetto extracts less often," says Dr. Michael Barry, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.

But men with mild to moderate urinary symptoms—sometimes associated with enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)—still have other self help options. These include avoiding certain behaviors and over-the-counter cold remedies that can increase the need for a bathroom break.

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