Saw Palmetto effective in easing symptoms of UTIs in men.





Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Cranberry Saw Palmetto Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
Professional Data: Cranberry Saw Palmetto Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)


UTI's are disorders involving a repeated or prolonged bacterial infection of the bladder or lower urinary tract. Most urinary tract infections occur in the lower urinary tract, which includes the bladder and urethra. Cystitis occurs when bacteria, along with the accompanying inflammation infect the lower urinary tract, which is normally a sterile environment. If an individual has frequent infections or if the infection does not respond to treatment, then the condition is considered chronic. Chronic or recurrent urinary tract infections include repeated episodes of cystitis, or urinary tract infections that do not respond to usual therapies or that last longer than two weeks. UTI's are most common in women; however, men and children may experience them as well.

Under normal circumstances, the urinary tract is pretty resistant to infection by bacteria. This is partly because of the very nature of urine itself. Urine has a very low pH, which along with its high concentration of urea and the manner in which it sets up or crosses membrane barriers, allows it to kill or at least slow the growth of many organisms. There are several ways in which professionals classify UTI's. One of these methods simply refers to where the infection is. Lower urinary tract infections include cystitis (bladder), urethritis (urethra), prostatitis (prostate gland), and epididymitis. Pyelonephritis is considered an upper urinary tract infection and involves the kidneys.

A recent investigation published in the journal Urology, looked at the effects of saw palmetto on urinary symptoms and flow, as well as sexual function. This randomized, double-blind placebo trail involved 85 men over the age of 45 years. These men received either the saw palmetto or placebo for 6 months. The outcome measurements included a sexual function questionnaire, evaluation of urinary flow, along with the International Prostate Symptom Score. The saw palmetto group showed a statistically significant improvement in urinary symptoms, compared with the placebo group. Changes in sexual function did not occur, but a small improvement was seen in quality of life. The authors concluded that saw palmetto had a positive effect on men with lower urinary tract symptoms, although the mechanism of action is still unknown.1


1. Gerber GS, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of saw palmetto in men with lower urinary tract symptoms. Urology. Dec 2001;58(6):960-963.