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Men's Health Series - Prostate Problems

Prostate is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It rests below the bladder and in front of the rectum and surrounds the urethra (the tube that urine comes from). The word “prostate” is taken from the Greek expression meaning, “one who stands before,” which describes the position of the prostate gland. Viewed from below, where the urethra leaves the gland, the prostate “stands before” the bladder.

As men age the size of the prostate can become larger which is a normal part of the ageing process. It is known as Benign Prostate Enlargement (BPE) or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). This condition is not dangerous but may affect urination as the enlarged prostate squeezes the urethra. It creates a constriction for the passage of urine. Typically, the problems do not arise until age 50 or older, but they can start earlier. Age and a family history of BPH are two things that increase the chances you might get it.

Some Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) are:

  • Need to get up many times during the night to urinate

  • May have to strain to urinate

  • Unable to urinate and a painful bladder and lower abdomen

  • Inability to completely empty the bladder

  • Unable to retain urine (incontinence)

Usually, medications resolve symptoms of an enlarged prostate, but some men require surgery to improve symptoms and prevent complications. Treating BPE/BPH is important. If the condition lasts for a long time without any treatment, symptoms may worsen and lead to urinary tract infection, blood in the urine, bladder stones and even kidney failure.

Other Prostate conditions include Prostatitis and Prostate Cancer. Prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate, sometimes caused by infection. It is typically treated with antibiotics.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, but it is rarely fatal. Surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy can be used to treat prostate cancer.

The best plan is to prevent prostate problems through a healthy lifestyle. There are many natural ways that a man can promote better prostate health even if he already has symptoms or a diagnosis of a prostate problem. Diet, exercise and lifestyle play an important role for overall health which includes prostate health.

Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Good Prostate Health are:

  • Eat fruits containing Lycopene. Lycopene is a red pigment found in a lot of fruits like tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruit, papaya and apricots. Lycopene is known to reduce prostate size and risk of prostate enlargement.

  • Include fruits rich in Vitamin C, for example, oranges and lemons. Vitamin C is good for Prostate health and reduces risk of prostate cancer.

  • Include oily fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, a variety of vegetables, and foods high in healthy fats like avocados, nuts and olives

  • Follow a diet that is low in sugar, processed foods and saturated fats

  • Asian mushrooms, tomatoes, pomegranate juice and walnuts are known to be good for prostate health

  • Stay hydrated, and do not try to cut down on water intake to reduce your urine production and output

  • Both green tea and hibiscus tea are among the top drinks for prostate health

  • Reduce caffeine intake by cutting back on coffee, soda or energy drinks. Caffeine can irritate both the prostate and the bladder

  • Losing weight can help you reduce the prostate size and help relieve urinary symptoms. Weight loss can also reduce the risk for prostate cancer and help relieve prostatitis too

  • Stress can have a negative impact on prostate health. It can worsen symptoms such as urinary urgency, urinary, frequency and pain. Meditation, deep breathing, or activities like exercise, yoga or tai chi can be practiced regularly to reduce stress and anxiety.

  • Stay active with a regular exercise routine to promote good prostate health.

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