What is Prostate?
The prostate is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is located in the walnut-sized pelvis, below the bladder, and surrounds the urethra. The prostate has several functions in the body that include producing, strengthening, and expelling sperm.
Prostate Related Problems
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States after non-melanoma skin cancer. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate can include:
Inability to empty the bladder
blood in the urine
Straining while urinating or difficulty starting to urinate
Increased need to urinate at night
These symptoms can worsen if left untreated. Over time, the condition can increase the risk of bladder stones and urinary tract infections. Benign prostatic hyperplasia can block the flow of urine, which can cause urine to back up to the kidneys. This blockage can cause the kidneys to swell, increase the risk of kidney infections and not work properly. Men with an enlarged prostate should seek immediate medical attention.
Causes of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
As men age, the prostate tends to increase in size gradually. However, excessive, unnatural growth can become an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as BPH. This condition can be severe and cause a blockage in the flow of urine. The following may increase the risk of prostate enlargement:
Lack of Exercise: Studies show that a lack of physical exercise can increase the risk of prostate enlargement.
Obesity: Studies show that obesity can increase the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia. At the same time ” Obesity increases the risk of clinical benign prostatic hyperplasia with a variety of measures, including initiation of medical treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia, non-cancer prostate surgery, physician-diagnosed benign prostatic hyperplasia, histological diagnosis, and urine flow rate.” put forth .
Family History: Individuals from families with a history of BPH may have an increased risk of prostate enlargement. A study of a randomly selected group of men aged 40-79 found that men with a history of prostate enlargement ” high risk of developing symptoms and signs suggestive of benign prostatic hyperplasiafound that it could .The researchers also noted that the risk was higher for men with relatives diagnosed at a younger age.
Diabetes: Studies are ongoing, but there may be a link between diabetes mellitus and men with benign prostatic hyperplasia. A survey of 100 people with diabetes and 200 non-diabetic patients who had surgery for BPH found that diabetic patients had a larger prostate volume. Researchers, ” The presence of diabetes is related to both the static and dynamic components of benign prostatic hyperplasia.” has concluded .
Improving Prostate Health
The prostate tends to enlarge with age in men. Maintaining good health is key to minimizing the risk of prostate-related problems. Here are some of the best ways to keep the prostate healthy:
Staying active: Men who exercise tend to have a lower incidence of BPH. A study of men ages 40 to 75 found that men who walked 2 to 3 hours a week had a 25% lower risk of BPH.
In addition to walking, the best exercises for prostate health might be:
Cycling (with prostate friendly seat)
to play tennis
30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day is considered ideal.
Eating Healthy Foods: Food plays a very important role in prostate health. Some of the best foods to eat or avoid for prostate health include:
In addition to the foods listed above;
Dairy products can increase the risk of prostate cancer: Research shows that high calcium intake from dairy products may increase the risk of prostate cancer. This is due to a decrease in a hormone believed to protect against cancer.
Lycopene and BPH:Lycopene, the red carotenoid found in tomatoes and other fruits, has been shown to inhibit the growth of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Ginger and Prostate Cancer:Studies on ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) “growth inhibitory and death-inducing effects on a spectrum of prostate cancer cells”has demonstrated that .