Posts Tagged ‘Prostate Health

Advice for Women: How to Tell If Your Man May Have a Prostate Problem




Guest Post by Margaret Keely

Men are notoriously secretive about their health. Many times, they will do everything to avoid going to the doctor, since there may be an element of fear or they may simply think they are like Superman and are immune to everything.

As a woman, you are privy to your man’s overall well being. If you live with your boyfriend or are married, you’ll be able to pick up on some signs that may clue you in to a possible problem that your man may have. He can’t be in denial if you’re keeping an eye out for his good health.

Check his bathroom activities

Does your man stand up during the meal to urinate? Does he frequently disappear to head out to the bathroom? When you’re at a party or other gathering, does he position himself near the bathroom, or does he frequently walk out to relieve himself? This is a very strong sign that there may be a problem with his prostate. Prostate problems affect the man’s ability to urinate since an enlarged prostate presses on the bladder and urethra.

Check his nocturnal bathroom trips

Does your man get up during the middle of the night to go pee? Does he do it more than once during the night? If so, this may be a clue to a problem with his prostate. While it’s normal to get up once during the middle of the night to urinate, if he does it often, especially to the point that it already disrupts his sleep, then you should encourage him to make an appointment with the doctor the next morning.

Listen to what your man is saying

Does your man say he noticed there’s a bit of blood in his urine? Do you see some blood in his semen when you have sex? Does he complain that he doesn’t feel that he has emptied his bladder completely after urinating? Does he say that he sometimes has difficulty doing so, or that he feels a bit of pressure or pain on his pelvic area? If the answer to these questions is yes, then your man is definitely being dense and needs to see a doctor right away. He may brush it off as a sign of ageing, but as a wise woman, you know that these are symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored.

If your instincts are telling you there’s something wrong, then lovingly encourage your man to visit his doctor to get a check up. If he’s over 50, then he should definitely get his prostate checked. If your man is being stubborn, perhaps you can casually mention that any problem may affect his ability to perform. That should get him to see his doctor quickly!

Just because your man experiences these symptoms doesn’t mean a death sentence. However, ignoring it can become a problem later on. The earlier something is detected, the sooner he can avail of treatment and correct any problems. Help your man take care of himself, and be his eyes and ears for his good health.

Margaret Keely is a health care advocate, educator and writer. She educates nurses by continually developing the program for nursing courses for high quality nursing education.

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What Is The Prostate And What Does It Do?




what is the prostateThe prostate gland is a vital part of the male reproductive system that serves an important sexual function. But if you don’t already know this… you’re not alone. In 1995, the London Times reported on the results of a survey that asked men about their prostate glands.

The vast majority (89%) of the men surveyed didn’t even know where the prostate is located! Sixty-two percent of them mistook it for the bladder, and only about half of them knew that only men could have prostate problems!

What’s even more embarrassing is that the women they interviewed knew more about the prostate than we men do. Knowing what your prostate gland is, and how it functions will help you understand its importance and why it can cause difficulties when it’s not functioning properly.

So What Exactly Is The Prostate Gland?

The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland that surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis) and lies at the base of the bladder. This gland secrets about 25% of the seminal fluid that’s combined with sperm during ejaculation. The prostatic fluid acts as a lubricant to prevent infection in the urethra and protects and energizes sperm.

The three common diseases of the prostate are benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), commonly known as an enlarged prostate, prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) and prostate cancer.

From Normal To An Enlarged Prostate (BPH)

In a newborn male the prostate is very small, about the size of a grain of wheat. At the onset of puberty it begins to grow dramatically until around the age of twenty. Then it normally remains fairly constant in size for a number of years. However, due to hormonal changes that take place after the age of 40, the prostate begins to significantly bulk up. The gland can grow to many times its normal size, and in extreme cases it can even grow as large as a grapefruit. This is a condition referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. As the prostate enlarges, it narrows the diameter of the urethra and puts pressure against the bladder, obstructing the flow of urine, resulting in discomfort and troublesome symptoms.

Prostatitis – Inflammation of the Prostate

Inflammation of the prostate, known as prostatitis, afflicts men both young and old. It is usually the result of a bacterial infection. For more information about prostatitis, make sure to see our other resources on this site related to prostatitis.

Prostate Cancer – The Condition No Man Ever Wants To Be Faced With

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. So if you’re concerned about the likelihood of ever being stricken with this deadly disease, the wise thing to do is to be aware of the facts so that you can take positive action to help keep your prostate healthy. Knowledge really is power. We have an entire page on devoted to prostate cancer, so make sure to read that if you are concerned about prostate cancer.

Another great source of information about prostate health is the WebMD page on prostate health.

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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.

2. Australian Healthy Food, March 2006
3. Australian Healthy Food, November, 2005
4. Paul Bedson, The Complete Family Guide To Natural Healing

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A Holistic Approach To Good Prostate Health




I have come to believe that there are some good things associated with getting older. For one thing, I am much wiser than when I was younger. I know this because I am able to admit I don’t know very much about a lot of things at 52 years old. When I was 19, I knew everything. For me, it is now all about awareness. Awareness of my surroundings, the potential dangers of lifestyle choices, my attitude towards those choices and the motivation to do something about the way I live.

In my late forties, early fifties, I started experiencing the changes that aging brings about. I noticed I got tired more easily and didn’t recover as quickly. I also had aches and pains in places where there were none before. Being a typical male, one of the things I was totally ignorant about was prostate health. I didn’t know, for example, that prostate disease affects one out of every two men at some point in their lives. The prostate is a gland located in the male reproductive system. The prostate produces and holds a component of the semen. It is found near the bladder and the rectum. The prostate encapsulates a portion of the urethra, the tube that delivers urine from the bladder. An average prostate is the size of a walnut. If the prostate enlarges, the urine flow can be diminished or completely cut off.

I guess I shouldn’t feel too foolish about my ignorance as only fifteen percent of Americans have even heard of a serious and painful condition known as prostatitus. I didn’t hear about it until I started experiencing discomfort and urgency at times and incontinence at other times. Becoming concerned when the symptoms didn’t go away, I naturally scheduled an appointment with my physician. He, in turn referred me to an urologist. I learned about the possible causes of prostatitus:

* Bacteria driven infection
* Yeast infestation
* Virus
* Food allergy
* BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia)
* Auto-immune response
* Possible rare tumor in or around the prostate
* Physical injury
* Uric Acid disorder
* Prostate stones
* Prostate cancer
* Urethral stricture

Yes it is a long list of possible causes. It sounds complicated and it may well be. I did find out that there are a number of things I can do to address prostate problems. It starts with diet and exercise, limiting my intake of caffeine and alcohol, giving up extreme habits such as smoking, and getting a prostate exam at least once a year. Diet turns out to be of primary importance and a large intake of fiber was recommended. It was also strongly suggested that I start a regular regiment of mild daily exercise. An annual PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) test was recommended and administered. This test measures the levels of a specific protein in the blood, which, along with a digital rectum exam is used to help detect prostate cancer in men over fifty. It is also used to monitor any recurrence of cancer. The effectiveness of the PSA test is still controversial but my urologist suggested it was a good idea to have the test.

I learned a bit about prostate cancer. If it is detected early, the treatment is highly effective. Nevertheless, 30,000 men die from prostate cancer annually. There is strong evidence that a dietary supplement of certain vitamins, herbal extracts and minerals can do much to prevent this type of cancer. In several studies it was found that men that had high intakes of the following, had much lower incidences of prostate cancer diagnosis: Boron, Daidzein, Grape seed extract, Green tea, Lycopene, Vitamin E, Selenium, Kohki leaf, Pygeum Africanum and Nettle root. In addition, Saw Palmetto berry has been widely documented as an effective treatment to lessen pain, swelling and irritation of the prostate. This is usually recommended for prostate cancer treatment, possibly inhibiting dihydrotestosterone, and slowing cell growth.

In learning about BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), I found that Saw palmetto has a long history of use. It is thought by some to have a very mild aphrodisiac effect. It is thought to boost the body’s manufacturing ability of sperm and increase sexual energy. Saw palmetto extract is still used by many as the primary treatment for both short-term and long-term treatment of BPH. It also appears to be devoid of side effects.

Also recommended for good prostate health are:

Zinc & Copper, Stinging Nettle, Golden Flax Oil, Active AminosTM, Pygeum Bark, Beta Sitosterol , Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine HCl), Pumpkin Seed, Burdock Root, Cayenne Fruit, Goldenseal Root, Gravel Root, Juniper Berry, Marshmallow Root, Parsley Leaf and White Pond Lily Root.

There are a number of packaged combinations that are available that can supply these necessary vitamins, herbs and minerals for good prostate health. They are not as exotic and hard to find as in the past. There are some excellent sources of not only supplements for prostate health but a great source of information on holistic health.

As it turns out, I have a mild case of BPH. It is very common in men over fifty. I have taken my primary care physicians’ and urologists’ advice in all areas. Along with regular check-ups and tests, diet and exercise and my new supplemental intake plan. BPH is something I can live with. I’ve started to make healthier lifestyle choices and I feel good about it. My BPH doesn’t seem to be a big deal anymore.

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