A multitude of panels show different natural health supplements, with warning flashes around them.

My Experience With Over-the-Counter Supplements

Last updated: March 2023

While I have touched on this before, the topic of male avoidance of doctors deserves a second look. I am talking about the tendency of men to ignore doctors at all costs – hoping whatever concerns they may have will evaporate magically.

What brought this topic to mind for me was the barrage of ads that have been airing locally claiming the effectiveness of over-the-counter pills that can magically manage nighttime bathroom trips due to aging and the impacts of an enlarged prostate.

Trying over-the-counter supplements

Having traveled that path several years ago, my experience with these so-called miracle cures had about as much effectiveness as eating a second donut with my morning coffee.

Why men go to extremes to avoid visiting a doctor is mind-boggling to me. And if by some chance the over-the-counter pills offer relief, I worry that some men use that as a reason to not go to the doctor.

Prior to my diagnosis there was no history of prostate cancer in my family. Or if it happened, no one ever talked about it. Let’s not go there right now. I had no reason to be concerned, nor did I think prostate cancer could be in my future. When I started to experience multiple trips to the bathroom at night, I spoke with a neighbor who was a distributor for water soluble dietary supplements. I had been purchasing vitamin D and B supplements from him for years and felt comfortable with his advice.

Disappointing results

When I casually mentioned my increasing nighttime visits, he assured me that the over-the-counter pills could work wonders. The first pill he suggested contained something called saw Palmetto. I had absolutely no idea what that was, but I heard it was supposed to be helpful in creating a stronger urine stream and help eliminate night-pee runs. The first round of pills did little, so we increased the dose and eventually went on to a more potent and more expensive form.

No changes occurred. Naturally he suggested adding in another supplement: selenium. At this point I am questioning the information being offered and ask how much of this I would need to take to see the desired effect. He had no recommendation. On a visit to the internet, I found no one could confirm the number of pills required.

At this point, I was still convinced I was dealing with an overactive bladder, not yet prostate cancer.

Finally seeing a doctor

With some significant encouragement from my wife, I finally went to go to a doctor and get checked. He put me on Flomax (which can treat an enlarged prostate) and suggested I eat more fruits and vegetables, as well as include more whole grains, nuts, and olive oil. I smiled at the olive oil suggestion and said nothing.

Over the next few months I watched my PSA numbers rise, and I decided to make an appointment with the urologist. A biopsy revealed an advanced contained prostate cancer.

Some 3 months later following surgery, my issues with multiple trips to the bathroom disappeared and I returned to a somewhat new normal condition. Ten years later, my PSA is 0.02. My suggestion is to go to the doctor and get yourself checked. Who knows, in the long run it might help.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ProstateCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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