The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland in men that helps make semen. Located just below the bladder in front of the rectum, it wraps around the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. It tends to grow larger as you get older. If your prostate gets too large, it can cause a number of health issues.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is very common in older men. It means your prostate is enlarged but not cancerous. Eventually, an enlarged prostate can clamp down on the urethra and restrict the flow of urine from the bladder which can lead to problems.
Roughly 50 percent of men over the age of 50 have an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. By the age of 80, nearly 90 percent of men will live with BPH.
Symptoms of BPH
The severity of symptoms in people who have prostate gland enlargement varies, but symptoms tend to gradually worsen over time. Common signs and symptoms of BPH include:
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Increased frequency of urination at night
- Difficulty starting urination
- Weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Inability to completely empty the bladder
Less common signs and symptoms include:
In some men, symptoms eventually stabilize and might even improve over time.
Tips for a Healthy Prostate
A man’s lifestyle, exercise habits, and diet have a tremendous impact on his prostate health. Good habits can help prevent and lower risk factors for prostate disease and conditions just like it can for other areas of the body. If you are already experiencing prostate troubles, these natural changes can help keep things from getting worse, help relieve symptoms, and even help cure them.
- Follow a prostate-friendly diet. Some of the best foods for prostate health include oily fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, and foods high in healthy fats like avocados, nuts and olives. Foods that help fight prostate cancer include Asian mushrooms, tomatoes, pomegranate juice and walnuts.
- Drink tea. Both green tea and hibiscus tea are among the top drinks for prostate health. Both types of tea contain potent antioxidants. Studies show that green tea can help prevent prostate cancer from forming and may also slow the growth of aggressive prostate cancer. Studies show that green tea can also benefit men with BPH and prostatitis.
- Exercise and lose weight. Exercising and losing weight are some of the best things you can do to promote prostate health. Many studies show that moderate or vigorous exercise reduces risk of BPH and urinary tract symptoms and helps with prostatitis as well. Exercise also benefits your cardiovascular health and can help prevent other health and sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction.
- Take supplements. Sometimes, you cannot everything you need through diet and in consistent therapeutic quantities. Also, you might know something is good for you but it just doesn’t agree with you or you just can’t bear to eat it regularly. That is why many men who are looking to make a big difference in their prostate health take a daily supplement. Many different natural supplements can help manage better prostate health.
- Prostate Screening. Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is a blood test to determine if PSA levels are within the normal range. Growth of prostate cancer cells as well as other conditions (benign enlargement of the prostate (BPH) or inflammation/infection or prostatitis) can cause an elevation of the PSA level in the blood. There is clear evidence that screening with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test can reduce the number of deaths from prostate cancer. However, prostate cancer is often so slow growing that it would not cause a man any problems during the course of his life. For that reason, many men do not benefit from treatment for prostate cancer and may unnecessarily suffer from its side effects, such as long-term problems with urinary and sexual function.
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Until next time, stay healthy!
Dr. Steven M. Nickels, DC, NMD, DACBN, DCBCN