Ever wondered exactly what the prostate is all about? Where it’s located or what it does? Maybe you know about it but have more questions? The intent of this article is to inform you the reader, all about the prostate.
What is the prostate gland
It is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It’s believed to be about the shape and size of a walnut.
It rests below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds part of the urethra, the tube in the penis that carries urine from the bladder.
What does a prostate gland do
The prostate helps produce some of the fluid in semen, which carries sperm
from the testicles when ejaculation takes place.
Facts about the prostate
As men age, the prostate can become larger. It’s a standard part of aging for many men.
By the time a man reaches the age of 40, the prostate might have gone from the size of a walnut to the size of an apricot. By the time he reaches 60, it might be the size of a lemon.
Because it surrounds a part of the urethra canal , the enlarged prostate can squeeze that tube. This causes problems when attempting to urinate. Typically, these problems don’t occur until age 50 or older, but they can start earlier.
You might hear a doctor or nurse refer to this condition as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH for short. It is not cancerous. More on this coming in the next section below.
Diseases of the prostate gland
BPH – is an enlarged prostate. BPH is common condition and it is unlikely that a male over 50 can prevent it. Age and a family history of BPH are two things that increase the chances one might get it.
A few stats that shed light on this likely hood:
- Some 8 out of every 10 men will eventually develop an enlarged prostate.
- About 30% of men will find their symptoms troublesome.
- About 90% of men over the age of 85 will have for benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Estrogen has also been associated to prostate enlargement. As men age, less testosterone is found in the blood stream creating a larger percentage of estrogen. High levels of estrogen have been documented as an indicator for this condition as well.
If one has trouble starting to urinate or have to urinate a frequently, especially at night, these could be signals that one has an enlarged prostate. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling the need to urinate suddenly out of the blue with no sensation of build-up
- The need to strain to get any urine flow to commence
- Urination may stop and start several times
- The bladder doesn’t empty completely after urination
It’s important to see a doctor upon discovery of the early symptoms of BPH. Although uncommon, it can lead to serious health consequences such as kidney or bladder damage.
A larger prostate doesn’t mean you’ll have additional or worse symptoms. It tends to be different for each person. In fact, some men with extremely giant prostates have few, if any, issues. But in any case, a physician should be alerted either way.
How a physician handles this condition depends on the details of the case – the age of the patient, how much trouble it is causing, and more. Treatments may include:
Observant waiting – If a patient has an enlarged prostate but are not bothered by symptoms, he may be advised merely to get an annual checkup, which might include a variety of tests.
Lifestyle changes – This includes cutting back on how much fluid intake at night and before bedtime, especially drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
Medicine – Common treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) are alpha-blockers, that lessen benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) symptoms, and what’s referred to as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, or 5-ARIs, that aid with shrinking the prostate. Many men may take them together.
The FDA now requires labels on the 5-ARIs to include a warning that they may be linked to an increased chance of a serious form of prostate cancer. These medications are dustasteride (Avodart) and finasteride (Propecia and Proscar). The combination pill Jalyn conjointly contains dutasteride together of its ingredients.
Surgery – Men with severe symptoms who haven’t been helped by other treatments may have to turn to surgery. This requires a consultation with a physician about possible risks and outcomes.
This is infection or inflammation of the prostate; it’s not the equivalent of BPH, though some of the symptoms are similar.
It may have an effect on men from their late teens well into adulthood. Symptoms include:
- Chills and fever
- Sexual problems
- Trouble passing urine
Treatment usually includes antibiotics.
If one has recently had a catheter or other medical instrument put into the urethra, there is a higher chance of getting bacterial prostatitis. Some sexually transmitted diseases, such as; Chlamydia may also cause ongoing infection and inflammation.
Preventive Prostate Care
As a preventative measure, a doctor can use a variety of tests to check on the condition of the prostate. A few of them include:
Digital rectal exam – The doctor puts on a glove and gently inserts one finger into the rectum to check the size and shape of the prostate. The exam checks for things such as size, firmness, and any lumps.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test – This blood test checks the amount of a protein called PSA that is produced by prostate cells. Higher levels may be a sign of cancer. By themselves, they are not proof that an individual has prostate cancer.
Higher levels may conjointly incline to an enlarged prostate, inflammation or prostatitis. But, levels may be low even with men who have prostate cancer, so the results must be discussed with a physician.
Prostate biopsy – Men with high protein (PSA) results or alternative symptoms of cancer might have a tissue sample taken of their prostate to conclude whether or not cancer is existing.
Cancer screening – Screening for prostate cancer is debatable. Different kinds of advice and guidance are available from various sources. It is best to talk to a physician about what is the best option. This discussion should take place:
- At age 40 for men who have more than a nuclear family (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age.
- At 45 for men with a higher chance for the condition: this includes African-Americans and men who have a father, brother, or son who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer at 65 or younger.
- At age 50 for men with an usual chance for prostate malignancy.
Note: Routine PSA screening is not recommended for men older than 70.
Diet – There are foods that are bad for the prostate.
What foods are bad for the prostate?
- red and processed meat
- saturated fat
- high-fat dairy
We’ll look at these individually.
Red Meat – A diet high in meat, particularly if it’s cooked well-done, may be associated with an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. This may be due to heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These are carcinogens (a substance or agent that can cause cancer) found in cooked meat. HCAs have been linked to the development of several cancers.
HCAs are compounds shaped throughout hot temperature cooking like broiling or grilling. The World Health Organization Trusted Source suggests that both red and processed meats may be associated with increased risk of developing prostate cancer. Examples include:
- hot dogs
- lunch meats
This is depressing!
Instead of red or processed meats, these protein sources make healthier choices for the prostate and overall health:
- lean poultry, like skinless turkey or chicken
- beans and legumes, like split peas, chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, and kidney beans fresh or canned fish, such as tuna, salmon, or sardines
- nuts and nut butters
For someone who isn’t a fan of cold cut sandwiches, one might try making a chicken salad sandwich instead. Also, perhaps experiment with meat alternatives, like tofu or tempeh, which can be marinated and sautéed to create a flavorful sandwich filling.
One might also experiment with eating meat-free for some meals or days of the week. Here are some ideas to try:
- Grill up fish fillets instead of steaks.
- Replace the meat in the favorite chili or stew with beans.
- Dice up tofu and marinate it in the favorite sauce, then stir-fry it and mix it with veggies and a side of rice.
- Make a black bean burger instead of a hamburger.
Dairy – Consuming large amounts of dairy products may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. According to analysis printed within the Journal of Nutrition, drinking whole milk may increase the risk of progression to fatal prostate cancer. Skim and low-fat milks also increase the risk of low-grade stages of the disease. It’s best to try to limit dairy consumption. At the very least, one should stick to fat-free and low-fat varieties, as they can be healthier for the prostate.
Therefore, aim to eat less of these foods:
- whole milk
- full fat ice cream
- full fat cheeses
- full fat cream cheese
- full fat butter
- full fat yogurts
Instead, try eating low-fat or nonfat versions of the favorite dairy products. You may also try alternatives to dairy products. For example, you may find the following non-dairy options for milk at the grocery store.
- Almond milk
- coconut milk
- flax milk
- soy milk
- cashew milk
- rice milk
- hemp milk
Each of these non-dairy milks has a unique flavor, so if one type isn’t satisfactory, simply try another type. Be watchful of added sugars to these milks however, as many are sweetened (e.g. I use unsweetened almond milk). There are also non-dairy ice creams that use these milks as a base.
To learn more about alternative milks, click here.
Alcohol – (watch the booze) Large amounts of alcohol consumption may put one at higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Researchers, utilizing information from over the thousand men taking part in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, uncovered that serious heavy alcohol drinkers were doubly as probable to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer as moderate drinkers. Heavy drinkers are defined as those who consume more than three drinks a day or more than 20 drinks in a week.
For men, the recommendation for drinks per day is no more than two.
A single drink is equal to:
- 1.5 ounces of a hard liquor (40 percent alcohol)
- 5 ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol)
- 12 ounces of standard beer (five percent alcohol)
There are several alternative drinks to consider instead alcohol. These include:
- non-alcoholic beers or wines
- sparkling water or water mixed with fresh fruit juice
- tea or coffee
- sparkling juices
One can also try making an alcoholic-free version of the favorite cocktail. For example, a virgin pina colada.
Saturated fats – Saturated fats have been linked to heart disease, but their association with prostate cancer is still uncertain. Some studies Trusted Source have found a link between saturated fat intake and risk for advanced prostate cancer, but not all studies have confirmed these findings. While more studies are needed, reducing the intake of saturated fats may benefit the prostate and one’s overall health, since it creates more room for fiber and nutrient-dense plants.
Saturated fats are found in:
- processed foods
- baked goods
- salad dressings
- dairy products
One might attempt replacing some of the saturated fats in the diet with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in such foods as:
- olive oil
In my article https://universal-health-products.com/dietary-supplements-the-facts/ I discuss in detail the benefits of dietary supplements to provide us with the beneficial nutrients we need for our bodies. This includes the prostate gland.
It can be difficult to not consume the above foods, so my rule of thumb is unless you have a condition that prohibits the consumption of a certain food, consume all things in moderation. It’s the excess consumption that can get us into so much trouble.
Please note that changing one’s diet may help reduce the cancer risk, but it’s a good idea to consult a physician before making any dietary changes or taking supplements if you are on treatments or medications for other conditions. Some foods and supplements may interact with certain drugs and therapies.
Further Tips for prostate health
There are several other lifestyle changes that may help keep the prostate healthy. One might try making these changes to his routine:
- Fill the plate with fruits and vegetables. Also, choose whole grains or legumes on the side.
- Move the body most days of the week. Getting in consistent exercise is not only good for overall health, it may also improve mood. One does not need a gym membership either. A brisk walk around the neighborhood a short hike will suffice. If one hasn’t exercised much in the past, a physician may suggest a good routine that can be followed to get started.
- Keep the body at a healthy weight. A doctor may even refer suggest a dietitian for someone who needs some extra help creating a weight loss plan.
- Make an appointment with a physician to discuss cancer risks and to have a prostate exam. Recommendations for screening vary, but it’s generally a good idea to get checked when in the fifties or if there is an elevated risk of developing cancer.
Please feel free to leave any questions comments or concerns below.