Maintaining Prostate Health
If you’re like most men, you probably take the same approach to prostate health: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But prostate disease is far more common than you may think. Most men will experience prostate enlargement or some other problem before age 50; after that, the risk continues to increase. But while there’s no stopping your prostate from aging, there are things you can do to keep problems at bay. Here are some of them.
The Prostate Gland: All You Need To Know
The prostate is a small gland located between the bladder and the rectum. It wraps over the opening of the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body, and leads out to the two seminal vesicles. The gland itself is covered with a fibrous membrane, which keeps it from growing outward. A healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut, although prostate enlargement is normal among older men.
The prostate plays a key role in male sexual response. Its main function is the secretion of a milky fluid that makes up 10-30% of semen (the rest are secreted by the seminal vesicles). How it works has something to do with the three types of cells it is made of: glandular, smooth muscle, and stromal. During sex, the glandular cells produce the fluid, and the smooth muscles squeeze it out into the urethra. Stromal cells form the main structure of the gland.
Prostate fluids contain about 1% protein, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Small amounts of PSA are normally found in a man’s bloodstream. High PSA levels indicate a risk of prostate cancer, although it’s not a definitive factor. Another important secretion is 5-alpha-reductase, which processes testosterone into a more potent form called dihydrotestosterone. Overproduction of this hormone has been linked to prostate cancer.
The prostate is initially about the size of a pea, and remains largely unchanged from birth to the preteen years. At puberty, it begins a rapid growth spurt and reaches adult size around the early 20s. A ‘second growth spurt’ occurs around the mid-40s, brought about by cell multiplication in the middle lobes. This often leads to a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate.
Because of its unique growth cycle, the prostate is particularly prone to disease. The three major diseases are BPH, prostatitis (prostate inflammation), and prostate cancer. As much as 80% of men experience prostate problems at least once in their lives, particularly during or after the second growth spurt. Other factors such as race, genetics, diet and lifestyle also contribute to the risk. Most problems will sort themselves out without medication, but complications such as infection and impotence are also fairly common.
Maintaining prostate health and avoiding prostate problem symptoms can be as simple as eating right and getting adequate exercise. Start by avoiding the common culprits: junk food, alcohol, and tobacco. Keep a low-fat, high-fiber diet and get regular physical activity. Routine checkups can help you detect problems even before they produce symptoms. While there’s no surefire way to prevent enlarged prostate problems, you have the means to keep them at bay.
Doctors believe that prostate enlargement is caused by an increasing estrogen-to-testosterone ratio in men. Many encourage eating soy products, which are thought to restore the proper levels. Good sources include tofu, miso, and soy nuts. Try using replacements such as soy milk, soy flour and soy cheese.
Zinc and essential fatty acids are known to reduce the risk of cancer. You can get them from oily fish, nuts, seeds and grains. Also load up on selenium-rich foods such as Brazil nuts, seafood, beef liver, mushrooms, garlic and onions.
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that vigorous workout can slow the progress of prostate cancer. If you’re over 65, working out at least three hours a week can reduce your risk by as much as 70%. If you’re coming from a sedentary lifestyle, however, don’t rush into heavy exercise—you don’t want to overwork your heart. Start with a pace you’re comfortable with and gradually work your way up. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise programs, and work with a trainer if possible.
Antioxidants are known to fight free radicals, which are a primary cause of prostate disease and cancer. Try to get 10,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin A, 200 to 1,000 IU of vitamin E, and 3 to 10 mg of lycopene every day. Fruits, vegetables and tea are some of the best sources. Augment your daily intake with vitamin supplements. A comprehensive product that does work at building prostate health and fighting off prostate cancer is Prostate Health Essentials (click here to view). It contains 18+ natural ingredients that have been shown to support prostate health. This easy-to-take daily supplement provides excellent all-around prostate health.
Doctors encourage men over 40 to undergo prostate screenings every 12 months. The most basic test is the digital rectal exam (DRE), wherein the doc inserts a finger into your rectum to feel for lumps, enlargement, or other irregularities in your prostate. If they find anything suspicious, they’ll usually follow with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate and present in minute amounts in the bloodstream. High PSA suggests the presence of cancer and may be followed by a biopsy to confirm the disease.
Usually, these tests are the only way to detect prostate problems, but since there are no symptoms, most men don’t bother. But one checkup can make all the difference, so why take a chance? As they say, you’re better off safe than sorry.
Prostate problems are a common part of growing older for many men. You can, however, take a very comprehensive formula that includes Saw Palmetto, Zinc, Lycopene, Beta-Sitosterol, Pygeum Africanum and Stinging Nettle, a total of over 30+ ingredients; a very comprehensive formula; Prostate Health Essentials (click here to view). Prostate Health Essentials contains 30+ natural ingredients shown to support prostate health.