Archive for November, 2004

If You Suffer From Prostate Enlargement… Here’s What You Need To Know

 

 

 

Enlarged ProstateProstate enlargement is one of the most common health problems men experience. In fact, if you are a man over the age of 45, there’s a 50 percent chance you already suffer from it! Medically, it’s known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), both of which are just medical jargon for an enlarged prostate.

Studies show that approximately 50 percent of men over the age of 45 have BPH, and according to the National Institute on Aging, by age 70 that figure rises as high as 90 percent. Over 10 million American men suffer from an enlarged prostate! Between 9 and 12 million men with BPH have symptoms so severe they must seek medical treatment, and one out of four undergo surgery.

So, what causes prostate enlargement?

Though many factors come into play, the hormonal changes that occur as men age are a primary cause of prostate enlargement.

Around the age of forty-five, men’s levels of testosterone in the blood plummet and levels of other hormones, such as prolactin and estradiol, increase. The end result of these changes is an increase of a very potent form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT in the prostate gland. Leading scientists say DHT is the prime culprit that stimulates an over-production of prostate cells, which leads to an enlarged prostate.

As the prostate enlarges, it pinches the diameter of the urethra, partially blocking it, which in turn puts pressure on the bladder. Imagine putting a kink in a garden hose, and you’ll get the picture. The pressure weakens or stops the flow of urine. The same thing happens when the urethra is blocked. The urine stream is lessened, and the bladder is unable to empty com- pletely.

Eventually the backed up pressure can severely weaken and damage the bladder. Bacteria breed in the stagnant urine that isn’t passed and the bladder may become infected. The kidneys can also be dangerously affected by a resulting increase in pressure when the bladder can’t be properly emptied, much as household plumbing backs up when there is an obstruction in the system. Infections in the bladder can easily be transmitted to the kidneys.

The most common symptoms of an enlarged prostate are difficulties with urination, and sexual function can be affected as well. One of the most noticeable symptoms is the need to pass urine frequently, a problem that becomes increasingly more troublesome with time.

Many men with enlarged prostates find their sleep disrupted by having to get up several times at night to urinate. Added to that is the frustration of having difficulty starting or stopping the urine flow, and dribbling or even incontinence. Pain and burning are additional symptoms, and there may be blood in the urine.

It’s possible to have an enlarged prostate and not be aware of it because no noticeable symptoms have yet surfaced. However, symptoms can occur suddenly and dramatically√≥ for example being unable to urinate at all. This is a condition known as acute urinary retention, which can be brought on by a number of factors, one of which is alcohol. Some common over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines can also trigger this condition, because they contain ingredients that prevent the bladder from emptying.

There are urgent reasons to get prostate enlargement under control. If allowed to go on too long, it can cause serious health problems, including permanent bladder and kidney damage, urinary infections and incontinence. It is important to treat BPH early to lower the risk of complications. There are several examinations to detect prostate enlargement. For convenience, some of these are referred to by their initials.

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Benign Prostate Hyperplasia – The Cause Remains A Mystery

 

 

 

Each day a huge number of men (something in the region of 13,000 in the US alone) call to see their doctor with a variety of problems associated with urination and come away having been told that they are suffering from an enlarged prostate.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH, to give it its proper medical names, is an extremely common and treatable problem seen in many men over the age of 65 and is suffered by as many as half of all men in their sixties and ninety percent of men in their seventies and eighties.

But what causes this condition which is a simple part of the natural aging process and is as common as your hair turning grey with age?

The simple answer is that, despite all the advances in modern medicine, we don’t know. We do, however, have enough evidence to start to unravel the mystery.

Men are more likely to suffer from BPH if their father, or a brother, has suffered from an enlarged prostate. This suggests that there is, at least in part, a genetic component to the problem.

One theory here is that genetic instructions given to the cells of the prostate to control its growth during puberty are again activated in later life and either cause further growth in their own right or make the cells of the prostate more sensitive to hormones which promote growth.

We also know that men who have their testes removed at an early age (before puberty) do not suffer from BHP. There is therefore a link between the aging of the testes and the development of an enlarged prostate.

Although the exact role played by the testes is not clear we know that men produce both the male hormone testosterone and small quantities of the female hormone estrogen throughout life. With increasing age however the quantity of testosterone present in the blood decreases although the level of estrogen does not fall in the same proportion. The theory, supported to some extent by research carried out on animals, is that the higher proportion of estrogen present in the prostate promotes the activity of other hormones which are responsible for cell growth.

Although this theory has been around for some time now researchers have found it somewhat difficult to explain satisfactorily the link between the theory and the fact that the removal of the testes before puberty results in a failure to develop the problem of an enlarged prostate.

The final, and perhaps at present most credible, theory is that an enlarged prostate is caused by the presence of a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

We know that DHT plays a crucial role in the development of the sex organs during pregnancy and that it is also largely responsible for the development of facial hair, the deepening of the voice and the development of the prostate during puberty.

DHT is derived from testosterone and is found in the prostate where it is believed to play a role in the growth of the prostate gland. However, as testosterone levels drop with age the body’s ability to produce DHT does not appear to diminish and indeed DHT accumulates in the prostate and continues to promote growth. It is also interesting to note that men who lose their ability to produce this hormone derived from testosterone do not develop enlarged prostate glands.

Although it may be some years yet before researchers uncover the exact cause of BPH. While it is almost certainly the result of hormonal changes resulting from the aging process, the precise nature of these changes and the effects which they trigger remain something of a mystery today.

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Discover Important Facts About Prostate Disease

 

 

 

The prostate is a male sexual reproductive gland, normally weighing around 20 grams and measuring about 3 centimeters in diameter, about the size of a walnut. It is located beneath the urinary bladder, and directly in front of the rectum. A portion of the prostate gland engulfs the upper part of the urethra, the tube in which urine exits the body from.

Within the prostate gland are hundreds of smaller glands each packed with thousands of cells that are responsible for creating an alkaline fluid that eventually contributes to the individual’s semen. Semen is made up of both sperm and several seminal fluids, made by the prostate gland and two other nearby glands. The fluid made by the prostate contains fructose and is slightly basic and is therefore both an energy supply to be utilized by the sperm and a protective shield against the mild acids present in the vagina.

Fluid production by the prostate is controlled by the male sexual hormones testosterone, made by the testes; dehydroepiandrosterone, made in the adrenal glands; and dihydrotestosterone made in the prostate itself. These hormones are also called ‘androgens’, and are also responsible for a man’s sex drive and secondary sex characteristics, such as facial hair, a lower voice, and increased muscle mass.

There are three common disorders in men that affect the prostate. The first is prostate cancer, a malignant tumor of the prostate gland. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, but if caught in the early stages is usually not fatal. It is most prevalent in men over the age of 50. Early stages of the disease usually have no symptoms, but eventually the added size to the gland may begin to impinge on the urethra, causing urinary problems such as pain, or blood in the urine. A prostate specific antigen (PSA) test can often detect prostate cancer even in its early stages, and is therefore a good test for a man over 50 to undergo regularly.

Another common prostate disorder that can mimic prostate cancer is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. BPH is basically a condition in which the prostate enlarges and impinges on the urethra, much like it would in the middle stages of prostate cancer, causing difficulty urinating, frequent urges to urinate, and pain while urinating. Simple tests can be done to determine if an individual is suffering from BPH or prostate cancer. BPH is not fatal, does not lead to cancer, and a number of treatments are available today to alleviate the symptoms.

Finally, the prostate itself is vulnerable to infection. The same bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also infect the prostate, leading to prostatitis. Prostatitis usually involves some of the same symptoms involved in BPH with respect to urinary difficulties, yet is usually also accompanied by fever, chills, and pain in the lower back. Like most bacterial infections, prostatitis is usually treated with antibiotics.

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Diet For Healthy Prostate – Why Soy Is Not Just For Women

 

 

 

Researchers from Canada have found that having a diet of red meat, organ meats, soft drink and bottled water increased the risk of getting prostate cancer. They compared the diets of 80 men with prostate cancer, and 334 healthy men, and the diet just described more than doubled the risk of developing prostate cancer.

So what prostate diet can reduce the risk of prostate cancer? Swedish researchers examined the diet of 1499 men with prostate cancer and 1130 men who were healthy, and they published their findings in the Cancer Causes and Control journal. They found that eating foods rich in phytoestrogens decreased the risk of prostate cancer.

Phytoestrogens are plant molecules that have a weak estrogenic effect. They are made converted in the intestines from plant precursors by bacteria as they digest food. They are taken up by the same parts of the body that process the hormone estrogen.

Interestingly, one of the treatments for prostate cancer by doctors involves using estrogens to reduce the level of testosterone in men with advanced prostate cancer. It does this indirectly, through its effect on the hypothalamus, as less luteinizing hormone releasing hormone is produced by the hypothalamus. This means not as much luteinizing hormone is released by the body, which suppresses the production of testosterone.

High doses of estrogens for men can lead to cardiovascular complications. But phytoestrogens obtained from diet, in less quantities than a drug, and with a milder effect to start with, should not pose a problem. And researchers don’t yet know what exactly causes phytoestrogens to have such a protective effect, whether it is similar to that of the estrogen treatment for advanced prostate cancers. And they don’t know which phytoestrogens are the most active.

So what phytoestrogen foods could you include in a diet for a healthy prostate? Soy beans and nuts are a good source. Soy and nuts contain a type of phytoestrogen called isoflavones, whilst berries and seeds contain lignans. Foods could include peanuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and berries.

The only possible concerns with soy is that a study in mice found that male mice that had a type of heart disease that people also have, suffered heart failure when fed a soy based diet. Whether this extrapolates to the human population is yet to be established. But it may be wise for those me who have this particular genetic heart condition, dilated cardiomyopathy, to be cautious about soy products in their diet.

But for other men, soy products could be good news. A meta analysis, which is a study of related studies, published in the International Journal of Cancer, found that diets high in soy lowered men’s risk of prostate cancer by 30%.

Another important mineral to consider for men is zinc. Zinc is used by men’s bodies to make some of the male hormones, and for general prostate health. A deficiency in zinc can lead to problems with the testicles, the prostate, and the health of the sperm. Foods that are great sources of zinc include seeds like pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower; nuts like almonds, brazil, cashews and walnuts; and foods like lettuce, oats and onions. Raw onion is particularly suggested by Paul Bedson, a natural therapist. He also suggests vegetable juice made of equal parts of beetroot, carrot, and cucumber in cases where the prostate gland is enlarged. Cranberry juice, a cup drunk three times a day, is also recommended in this case.

References:
1. phoenix5.org/Infolink/advanced/estrogen.html
2. Australian Healthy Food, March 2006
3. Australian Healthy Food, November, 2005
4. Paul Bedson, The Complete Family Guide To Natural Healing
5. nutraingredients.com/news/ng.asp?n=65785&m=1NIE213&c=qgtqmovbyiaxdub

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Diagnosis Of Prostate Cancer

 

 

 

The diagnosis of prostate cancer can be made on clinical suspicion of the disease, following screening, or as an incidental finding during transurethral resection for suspected benign disease (TURP).

Clinically suspected prostate cancer Prostate cancer can be completely asymptomatic or present with symptoms similar to benign prostatic enlargement (see symptoms). It can also present with the symptoms of metastatic disease. On digital rectal examination prostate cancer feels rock hard and nodular. Invasion into the surrounding structures may be palpable as a hard mass. Spread to the lymph glands may be palpable in the groins or pelvis. Bony metastases to the lumbar spine or pelvis are often tender to palpation. PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is a substance excreted by all prostate cells. The blood level of PSA is elevated in prostate cancer and the level of elevation correlates with the extent of disease. The PSA level can also be elevated by benign diseases such as prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia. The normal range for PSA is 0 – 4 ng/ml. The higher the PSA the greater is the chance of having prostate cancer. Somebody with a PSA of 4 – 10 ng/ml has a 25% chance of having prostate cancer, while a PSA of greater than 10 carries a 50% risk of the disease. Very high levels of PSA (>100ng/ml) almost invariably indicate widespread metastatic disease. The diagnosis of prostate cancer is confirmed by needle biopsy and histological analysis of the biopsy specimens. A transrectal ultrasound scan is performed via a probe inserted into the rectum, and ultrasound guided needle biopsies of the prostate are taken. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic.

Screening All healthy men over the age of 50 years should have annual prostate cancer checks. Black men and men with a positive family history should start at age 40. The aim of screening is to diagnose the disease at an early stage while it is still potentially curable. By the time prostate cancer becomes symptomatic it is usually beyond cure. The screening tests consist of a digital rectal examination and a PSA blood test. The prostate gland may feel entirely normal despite the presence of an early cancer. The combination of PSA and digital rectal examination is more sensitive than either test alone. If one or both of these tests are abnormal a transrectal ultrasound and needle biopsies of the prostate gland are performed.

Incidental finding following TURP Whenever a transurethral resection of the prostate gland is performed for suspected benign disease the removed tissue is sent for histological analysis. Occasionally evidence of unsuspected prostate cancer is found in the tissue. In a young man with an otherwise long life expectancy this is obviously significant. A tiny focus of cancer in an elderly man is probably not significant, since the prostate cancer will not have sufficient time to become bothersome.

With our next information – we will inform you about the “Diagnosis of prostate cancer” – so you should have a look on this site in the next 2 weeks! If you have any question sends us your e-mail.

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