I found the following report about taking care of your prostate on line and thought it covered this topic extremely well. It’s written by H. K. Jones who is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, and nutrition professional based in Washington, D.C.
It includes a simple quiz that you can take to see why you should be taking care of your prostate. It’s towards the end of this rather lengthy article & I would give you a direct link – but it’s better that you read all the way through!
Prostate 101: Taking Care of Your Prostate
By H.K. Jones
All jokes about latex gloves and ice-cold lube aside, if you were to name the top 10 things most men—gay and straight—would rather just avoid, prostate exams would be high on the list. But there’s no good excuse to ignore the walnut-sized gland that forms part of the normal male reproductive system.
Located just below the bladder, the prostate’s primary function is the production of fluid in semen; it also contains some smooth muscles that help expel semen during ejaculation, and its stimulation plays an important role in the so-called “male g spot” of receptive anal sex.
But this small gland is also prone to inflammation and disease, particularly in older men. Three main problems can occur in the prostate gland: infection, enlargement, and cancer. Here’s what you need to know today, to protect your prostate tomorrow.
Feel the Burn: Prostate Infection
Prostatitis is a term that describes a wide range of infections affecting the prostate. But it can also be an inflammation with no sign of infection. Types of prostatitis include:
- Acute bacterial prostatitis is a sudden bacterial infection marked by inflammation of the prostate. This is the least common form of prostatitis but the symptoms are usually severe. Men with this condition often experience a concurrent acute urinary tract infection (with increased urinary frequency and pain), pain in the pelvis and genital area, as well as fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting.
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis is the result of recurrent urinary tract infections that have entered the prostate gland. The symptoms are similar to acute bacterial prostatitis, but are generally much less severe.
- Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 90 percent of the cases of prostatitis. The condition is marked by urinary and genital pain for at least three months, but with no bacteria in the urine.
Prostatitis is very common; half of all men will suffer from prostatitis at some point in their lifetime. Whilst prostatitis can be caused by STDs such as Chlamydia and gonorrhoea, most prostatitis is not contagious, and only a doctor can tell one form of prostatitis from another.
If you experience any of the symptoms of prostatitis, see your doctor immediately as, left untreated, prostatitis may lead to more severe, long-term health problems.
When Bigger Definitely Isn’t Better: Prostate Enlargement
Normally the prostate is quite small, but with time and age it can enlarge. An enlarged prostate, nowadays called BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), interferes with the normal flow of urine by forcing pressure onto the urethra (like a clamp on a garden hose). The blocking of the urethra, and the gradual loss of bladder function, which results in partial emptying of the bladder, are responsible for many of the problems associated with BPH.
Benign means not cancerous and hyperplasia means excessive growth, and while BPH is not linked to cancer and does not raise your chances of getting prostate cancer, the symptoms for BPH and prostate cancer can be similar. Common, annoying symptoms include frequent urination, an urgent need to urinate, and dribbling. And although these aggravating symptoms rarely show up before age 40, more than half of men in their sixties, and as many as 90 percent in their seventies and eighties have some symptoms of BPH.
While it is extremely common for the prostate to become enlarged as a man ages (as common as gray hair in fact), the exact cause is not well understood. The only established risk factors for BPH are age and family history. Researchers believe, however, that over time the prostate becomes more vulnerable to the effects of male hormones, including testosterone. Men who use testosterone supplements have a higher risk of prostate enlargement.
While science has developed plenty of treatments for an enlarged prostate, ideally you should do your best to prevent it before the trouble begins. Prostate dysfunction has been called a nutritional disease and it is much more common in developed Western countries with diets rich in animal-derived foods, such as red meat, dairy products, and eggs, than in Asia, where diets include more fruits and vegetables.
Foods strongly influence sex hormones, including testosterone, and researchers have found that cutting down on meat and dairy products and increasing vegetables, can turn down the hormonal stimulation of the prostate and help stave off prostate problems. In fact, daily meat consumption triples the risk of prostate enlargement, regular milk consumption doubles the risk, and failure to consume vegetables regularly nearly quadruples the risk.
Studies also link high caloric intake with prostate enlargement. Research suggests that excess calorie consumption may directly stimulate prostate enlargement through excess body fat and its effects on hormone levels. And because regular exercise directly affects hormone levels and helps maintain a healthy weight, regular physical activity may also discourage BPH.
“One in Six Men Will Develop Prostate Cancer”
A major problem that can occur in the prostate is cancer. Because it grows quietly for years, most men with the early stages of the disease have no obvious symptoms.
“Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American men, and it is estimated that one out of every six men will develop prostate cancer,” says Jonathan W. Simons, MD, chief executive officer and president of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and founding director of the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta. “As the prostate grows, it does not bump up against something that can be felt internally. It can only be detected in an annual exam by a physician or urologist using a digital rectal exam (DRE).”
When prostate cancer symptoms do occur, they may be similar to those of an enlarged prostate. Symptoms of prostate cancer include
- a need to urinate frequently;
- difficulty starting or stopping urination;
- dribbling or weak urine flow;
- painful urination;
- difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection;
- painful ejaculation;
- blood in the urine or semen;
- and pain in the lower back and hips.
Prostate cancer has become increasingly treatable in recent years. With treatment options now ranging from radiation to hormone therapy to surgery and beyond, survival rates from prostate cancer are now higher than 90 percent in the U.S.
The earlier the cancer is detected, the higher the survival rates; the American Cancer Society recommends that men should begin getting screened annually starting at age 50, and that men at higher risk, such as African American men and those with a strong family history of prostate cancer, should begin yearly testing at age 45.
As treatment research continues, so does concurrent research on prostate cancer prevention, a fast-growing area of medical research with much of the research focusing on nutrition and lifestyle choices.
“We are busy funding research into the unanswered questions regarding nutrition and lifestyle choices,” says Dr. Simons. “We know that the genes you’re born with and the environment you’re in, including what you’re fed as a child and as a young adult, interact in creating a risk over a man’s lifetime for prostate cancer. We’re also funding research on whether or not there are ‘hit-and-run’ viruses and infections that might cause the later occurrence of prostate cancer. Yet, we still don’t have all the answers to these very important questions.”
While current research does not fully support definite nutritional guidelines for preventing prostate cancer, according to Dr. Simons, more than 20 minutes of exercise per day and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are very good recommendations.
Below you’ll find some of the most recent data on diet and exercise and their effects on the prevention of prostate cancer:
- Fat: Prostate cancer rates vary greatly from one country to another, with the highest rates appearing in countries where people tend to consume a lot of fat. In fact, the number of prostate cancer deaths in a given country rises in direct proportion to the average total calories from fat in that country’s diet.
- Fruits and vegetables: Studies link a diet high in vegetables to a lower risk of prostate cancer. Soybeans and lycopene-rich fruits and veggies such as tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and watermelon seem to be particularly protective.
- Fish: One study found that men who ate no fish were two to three times more likely to develop prostate cancer as men who ate moderate to large amounts of fish. Types of fish that are rich in the fatty acids that protect against prostate cancer and other diseases include salmon, herring, and mackerel.
- Obesity: Studies have suggested that carrying around too much extra weight might affect levels of hormones related to prostate cancer risk.
To understand how to prevent prostate cancer, you must first understand what causes it.
There are four major factors that influence your risk for developing prostate cancer, factors which unfortunately cannot be changed.
Age: The average age at diagnosis of prostate cancer in the United States is 69 years and after that age the chance of developing prostate cancer becomes more common than any other cancer in men or women.
Race: African Americans have a 40% greater chance of developing prostate cancer and twice the risk of dying from it. Conversely, Asian men who live in Asia have the lowest risk; however when they migrate to the west, their risk increases.
Family history: A man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer has a twofold-increased risk for developing it. This risk is further increased if the cancer was diagnosed at a younger age (less than 55 years of age) or affected three or more family members.
Where you live: The risk of developing prostate cancer for men who live in rural China is 2% and for men in the United States 17%. When Chinese men move to the western culture, their risk increases substantially; men who live north of 40 degrees latitude (north of Philadelphia, Columbus, Ohio, and Provo, Utah) have the highest risk for dying from prostate cancer of any men in the United States – this effect appears to be mediated by inadequate sunlight during three months of the year which reduces vitamin D levels.
Given the facts above, which are difficult to change, there are many things that men can do, however, to reduce or delay their risk of developing prostate cancer.
Why is prostate cancer so common in the Western culture and much less so in Asia, and why, when Asian men migrate to western countries, does the risk of prostate cancer increases over time.
It is believed that the major risk factor is diet – foods that produce oxidative damage to DNA. What can you do about it to prevent or delay the onset of the disease?
Top 10 Considerations for Preventing Prostate Cancer
- Eat fewer calories or exercise more so that you maintain a healthy weight.
- Try to keep the amount of fat you get from red meat and dairy products to a minimum.
- Watch your calcium intake. Do not take supplemental doses far above the recommended daily allowance. Some calcium is OK, but avoid taking more than 1,500 mg of calcium a day.
- Eat more fish – evidence from several studies suggest that fish can help protect against prostate cancer because they have “good fat” particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid trans fatty acids (found in margarine).
- Try to incorporate cooked tomatoes that are cooked with olive oil, which has also been shown to be beneficial, and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) into many of your weekly meals. Soy and green tea are also potential dietary components that may be helpful.
- Avoid smoking for many reasons. Alcohol in moderation, if at all.
- Seek medical treatment for stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression. Treating these conditions may save your life and will improve your survivorship with prostate cancer
- What about supplements? Avoid over-supplementation with megavitamins. Too many vitamins, especially folate, may “fuel the cancer”, and while a multivitamin is not likely to be harmful, if you follow a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils you likely do not even need a multivitamin.
- Relax and enjoy life. Reducing stress in the workplace and home will improve your survivorship and lead to a longer, happier life.
- Finally, eating all the broccoli in the world, though it may make a difference in the long run, does not take away your risk of having prostate cancer right now. If you are age 50 or over, if you are age 40 or over and African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer, you need more than a good diet can guarantee. You should consider a yearly rectal examination and PSA test.
Married men experience prostate enlargement more that single men. American and European men are more likely to get prostate enlargement than Asian men.
Home Remedies For An Enlarged Prostate
- For night-time frequency, drink as little fluid as possible after 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. Cut down on caffeine-containing liquids (tea, coffee, colas). At the very least, don’t drink them or alcoholic beverages after dinner.
- Get up and urinate as soon as you feel the first night-time urge, then stand there for a minute and urinate again. If you get a fair amount out, repeat this one more time.
- Relax, or learn to relax if you don’t know how.
- Reduce the fat content of your diet.
- Have intercourse frequently. Ejaculation will remove prostatic fluid and shrink the prostate. (See, it’s true, every rain cloud has a silver lining.)
- Get some physical exercise.
- Avoid antihistamines and other over-the-counter decongestants and cold remedies.
- Avoid cold weather if possible.
- Soak in a warm bath or hot tub for 20 minutes two or three times per day. The heat of the water will penetrate the prostate to reduce swelling and promote healing.
- Avoid prolonged sitting. A man sits on his prostate. If the onset of symptoms coincides with physical activity (biking, exercise), increased sitting (includes car and plane), or a new chair, your routine should be changed.
- There is some debate regarding whether zinc is of benefit to the prostate. Zinc in quantities of 30-60 mg daily can be tried if you are interested. These preparations can be obtained at various health food stores.
- A medicine from the berry of a saw palmetto tree has been used in Europe as an herbal treatment for enlarged prostates. There are some scientific studies that document an improvement, and many men state that they have had marked reduction in their urinary symptoms. Although saw palmetto hasn’t been shown to affect PSA levels, it is important if you elect to take this medicine that you make your physician aware at the time of any PSA blood test being performed.
- Since the late 1990s, doctors have found that prostate massage can assist with prostate health by increasing blood flow to the area, and providing oxygen and essential nutrients. In addition, massaging the gland can improve total wellbeing and all-over physical and mental health. Research has shown that it can improve the quality of sleep, give you more energy, and improve your sex life.
Prostate massage should never be performed on patients with acute prostatitis, because the infection can spread elsewhere in the body if massage is performed
Here are some good questions to ask yourself, or if you are a woman checking this out for your partner, quiz him with these questions.
Rate each question with the following points:
Not at all=0,
Less than 1 time in 5=1,
Less than half the time=2,
about half the time=3,
more than half the time=4,
- Over the past month, how often have you had a sensation of not emptying out your bladder completely after you finished urinating?
- Over the past month, how often have you had to urinate again less than two hours after you finished urinating?
- Over the past month, how often have you found you stopped and started again several times when you urinated?
- Over the past month, how often have you found it difficult to postpone urination?
- Over the past month, how often have you had a weak urinary stream?
- Over the past month, how often have you had to push or strain to begin urination?
- Over the past month, how many times did you most typically get up to urinate from the time you went to bed at night until the time you got up in the morning?
If the score is under 8, prostate disease is mild and no real treatment is needed;
a score of 8 to 17 indicates moderate disease and treatment can be done;
a score over 18 is severe disease and treatment is urgently required – most frequently surgery.
Your prostate gland functions, maintains, and heals itself only from the nutrients you provide for it. Your prostate cannot perform its functions and rebuild itself if the nutrients are not there.
All those nutrients should be occurring naturally in the foods you eat, providing you are eating a healthy natural diet. Unfortunately, that is not usually the case.
To help counter this lack of nutrients, there are some prostate supplements that every man should consider including in his diet:
Research on Saw Palmetto has shown that it can be effective for the treatment of men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), in other words, enlargement of the prostate gland.
In prostatitis, zinc levels are only ONE-TENTH of those in a normal prostate. (Fair and Heston,1977; Pfeiffer, 1978) and supplementing with zinc has proved beneficial for both enlarged and inflamed prostates.
A recent study by Study leader Professor William Aronson, from the University of California at Los Angeles seems to indicate that increasing omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil decreases the risk of prostate cancer development and progression.
Read more here
These supplements will also help replenish and rejuvenate your sexual system. They provide the nutrients that may be sadly lacking in your diet – nutrients your male body needs to function properly and maintain vibrant health!
You can find all these supplements in store.