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A number of studies have indicated that pollen can be an effective approach for treatment of prostate conditions, which has prompted some men to ask, “Can pollen treat prostatitis?”
Currently the conventional treatment for nonbacterial prostatitis involves using drugs for BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), which are not always effective. Therefore the challenge to treat chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome has prompted some men to look beyond conventional medications and to explore alternatives.
Prostatitis, a condition in which the prostate becomes inflamed and causes a range of urinary tract symptoms, affects about half of all men at some point during their lives. Of the four types of prostatitis, two involve bacteria (acute bacterial prostatitis and chronic bacterial prostatitis), which make up only about 5% of all cases. Another uncommon form is asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. All three of these forms of prostatitis are typically treated with antibiotics.
The most common and most challenging type of prostatitis to treat is nonbacterial chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Nonbacterial chronic prostatitis symptoms include a strong urge to urinate immediately, weak urinary stream, difficulty starting urinary stream, dribbling, frequent urination during the night, pain and/or burning during urination, genital or pelvic pain, blood in the urine or semen, and painful ejaculation.
What is Special about Pollen?
Pollen extract comes from a number of plant sources, and when it is gathered from specific flowering plants, then the end product can be standardized, which means it contains the same amount of active ingredients in each batch. Most of the studies that have involved the use of pollen and its effect on prostatitis have included the use of pollen called cernilton/Graminex.
Graminex is composed of pollen from rye, corn, and timothy, and this combination has been used to help manage prostatitis and enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) in Europe for nearly four decades. The property that makes pollen extract special is its ability to fight inflammation. This extract has been shown to cause the bladder to contract while also allowing the urethra to relax, which improves urinary flow.
Pollen and Prostatitis Studies
Here are some examples of how pollen extracts performed in studies of men with prostatitis.
- Ninety men with chronic prostatitis were divided into two groups: those without complicating factors (72 men) and those with complicating factors (18 men). All the men took cernilton three times a day for six months and were tested at three and six months. After six months, 56 men who did not have complicating factors said they had a favorable response to cernilton: 26 had no symptoms and 30 had significant improvement. Among the 18 men with complicating factors, only one said he had a response to pollen. (Rugendorff)
- A group of 60 men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome were assigned to receive either pollen extract or a placebo for six months in a double-blind study. At the end of the six months, men who had taken pollen extract reported either a significant improvement or elimination of their prostatitis symptoms. Therefore the authors concluded that pollen extract was “superior to placebo in providing symptomatic relief in men with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.” (Elist)
- A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 study compared cernilton with placebo in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Seventy men took pollen extract and 60 men took placebo daily for 12 weeks. Compared with men in the placebo group, those who took pollen reported significant improvements in total symptoms, pain, and quality of life, and this was achieved without severe side effects. (Wagenlehner)
Before taking pollen extract, consult your healthcare provider and discuss any allergies you may have to flowers, grass, or other plants. He or she can help you determine if this extract is safe to use and at which dose.
Elist J. Effects of pollen extract preparation Prostat/Poltit on lower urinary tract symptoms in patients with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Urology 2006 Jan; 67(1): 60-63
Rugendorff EW et al. Results of treatment with pollen extract (Cernilton N) in chronic prostatitis and prostatodynia. Br J Urol 1993 Apr; 71(4): 433-38
Wagenlehner FM et al. A pollen extract (Cernilton) in patients with inflammatory chronic prostatitis-chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a multicentre, randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 study. Eur Urol 2009 Sep; 56(3): 544-51