November prostate health awareness month
Dr. Hesham Hafez
The prostate gland has an important job: it produces a thick, milky-white fluid that becomes part of the semen, the liquid ejaculated during sexual activity.
The gland isn’t big—about the size of a walnut or golf ball
The prostate gland is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It also wraps around the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. That means prostate problems can affect urination and sexual function.
The prostate is prone to three main conditions:
Infection or inflammation of the prostate. Prostatitis can cause burning or painful urination, the urgent need to urinate, trouble urinating, difficult or painful ejaculation, and pain in the area between the scrotum and rectum (known as the perineum) or in the lower back.
• Benign prostatic hyperplasia:
Aging-related enlargement of the prostate gland. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) can make the prostate compress the urethra and slow or even stop the flow of urine, in much the same way that bending a garden hose chokes off the flow of water. BPH affects about three-quarters of men over age 60.
• Prostate cancer:
The growth of cancerous cells inside the prostate, which may break out of the gland and affect other parts of the body. In the United States, about 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. It occurs mainly in older men.
WHAT FOODS ARE GOOD FOR AN ENLARGED PROSTATE
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats is thought to protect the prostate.
Specific foods known to benefit the prostate include:
Salmon is rich in healthy fats that contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent and reduce inflammation within the body. Other cold-water fish, such as sardines and trout, are also rich in these types of fats.
Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that may benefit prostate gland cells. Cooking tomatoes, such as in tomato sauce or soup, helps to release the lycopene and make it more readily available to the body.
- Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are excellent sources of antioxidants, which help to remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are the byproducts of reactions that occur within the body and can cause damage and disease over time.
- Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, including bok choy, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, contain a chemical known as
sulforaphane. This is thought to target cancer cells and promote a healthy prostate.
Nuts are rich in zinc, a trace mineral. Zinc is found in high concentrations in the prostate and is thought to help balance testosterone and DHT. Besides nuts, shellfish and legumes are also high in zinc. Mixed nuts are available for purchase in grocery stores and online.
Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are all high in vitamin C, which may help to protect the prostate gland.
- Onions and garlic:
One study found that men with BPH tended to eat less garlic and onions that men without BPH. More research is needed to confirm these results, but onions and garlic are healthful additions to most diets.
- Also, some studies on plant extract therapies, such as an extract from a type of palm tree known as saw palmetto, have been shown to have a positive impact on the prostate size and urinary flow. More research is needed, however.
Foods to avoid
1. Red meat:
Research suggests that going red meat-free may help improve prostate health. In fact, daily meat consumption is believed to triple the risk of prostate enlargement.
Similarly to meat, regular consumption of dairy has been linked to an increased risk of BPH. Cutting out or reducing butter, cheese, and milk may help reduce BPH symptoms.
Caffeine may act as a diuretic, which means that it increases how much, how often, and how urgently a person has to urinate. Cutting back on coffee, tea, soda, and
Alcohol can also stimulate urine production. Men with BPH may find that their symptoms are improved by giving up alcohol.
A high salt intake may increase the urinary tract symptoms associated with BPH. Following a low-sodium diet by not adding salt to meals and avoiding processed foods may be helpful for some men.
Managing an enlarged prostate
Dietary changes can be quite effective in managing some of the symptoms of BPH, but other basic lifestyle changes can help as well.
- Some strategies that may ease BPH symptoms include:
3.avoiding fluids in the evening to reduce nighttime urination
4.emptying the bladder completely when urinating
5.doing pelvic floor exercises
6.avoiding medications that can worsen symptoms, such as antihistamines, diuretics, and decongestants if possible
7.trying bladder training exercises
8.limiting fluid intake to 2 liters of liquids each day
- If these lifestyle changes are not effective, medication or surgery may be recommended by a doctor.
- Some strategies that may ease BPH symptoms include:
Enlarged prostate symptoms
The symptoms of an enlarged prostate may include difficulty urinating and pain after ejaculation.
An enlarged prostate or BPH is fairly common. Over 14 million men in the United States experienced BPH symptoms in 2010.
Symptoms of BPH include:
increased urinary frequency and urgency
difficulty starting urination
weak urine stream or dribble at the end of urination
frequent urination at night
pain after ejaculation
urinary retention or inability to urinate
These symptoms occur when an enlarged prostate gland blocks the urethra, the tube that runs between the bladder and outside of the body. This blockage can make it difficult or even impossible to pass urine.
Treating BPH depends on the severity of the symptoms. Sometimes, only basic lifestyle changes are needed.
However, there are also medications or surgical procedures that can be effective in reducing the size of the prostate or the symptoms associated with BPH.
Treating BPH can range from making simple lifestyle and dietary changes at home to medication and surgery. Reducing red meat consumption and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help manage symptoms.
It is important to stay in communication with a doctor about symptoms, particularly if the doctor suggested a “watch and wait” approach.
If the suggested lifestyle changes are not effective in reducing the symptoms, more aggressive treatment may be needed.