The prostate is a small muscular gland that’s integral to men’s health and wellbeing.
When it’s working properly, we hardly give it any thought. Unfortunately, all men are exposed to prostate health risks, courteously of the fact they all have this gland.
And with the passing of time, the prostate undergoes changes and its health declines. This process tends to impede the quality of life and triggers a multitude of health problems. A disease can sneak up on you without any red flags to speak of.
On the brighter note, most prostate troubles are treatable and preventable. We have a handful of effective tools and techniques in our arsenal.
What doesn’t help is ignorance. Most men aren’t sure where the gland is or what it does. Well, it’s time to correct that and offer some proper education.
Information is an amazing asset for improving your health and lifestyle. Here is what you need to know about prostate health, and development, function.
The prostate is only found in a male body.
It’s quite small, no bigger than a ping-pong ball or a walnut. It resides at the heart of the groin, the area between the penis and the rectum. Internally, it sits right under the bladder.
Despite its size, the prostate plays a vital role in reproductive health, affecting sexual function and urination. First off, it secretes prostatic fluid and keeps the sperm healthy. This fluid has a milky consistency and accounts for around 30% of all ejaculated fluid.
Its function is to enable the sperm to live longer and be more mobile. The sperm, of course, originates from the testes, which are connected to the prostate.
During ejaculation, the prostate contracts and streams its fluid into the urethra. While this is happening, the prostate shuts the opening between urethra and bladder.
That’s why you can’t ejaculate and urinate at the same time.
The organ itself is enveloped in connective tissues, which is mostly made of muscle fibers. They make prostate elastic to touch. There are four main anatomic areas and they all surround the urethra.
We’re not going to cover these nooks and crannies, as we have more pressing matters.
Types of Prostate Conditions
The prostate is notorious for being one of the first organs to deteriorate in men.
Sooner or later, its reduced function spells a host of health woes. We’re now going to go through several common conditions you have to be aware of.
Enlarged Prostate (BPH)
First on the list is an enlarged prostate.
This condition is also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). It usually affects men above the age of 50. You see, prostate stays stable until you’re 40.
At this point, the enlargement accelerates and gland no longer looks resembles a walnut. In size, it gets closer to an apricot. And the older you get, the bigger the risk of BPH is.
However, BPH can also emerge in younger men.
And in general, there’s no preventing it. You can just treat it and alleviate the issues once they appear.
Speaking of which, the main symptom is difficult and/or unsatisfactory urination. In more severe cases, it can hamper urination entirely. And since the organ grows, it exerts pressure on urethra and bladder, causing further complications.
You may urinate more often or feel like your bladder is still full after urination. There are other symptoms and they all affect peeing in some way.
Secondly, we have prostatitis, a condition that becomes more probable as men age.
Despite what some people think, it isn’t classified as a disease and it’s not a precursor to the next condition on the list (prostate cancer). Still, it can be rather distressing and discomforting.
You can think of it as an inflammation or swelling of the gland that can have more than one culprit. It’s often caused by bacteria and in this case, prostatitis is treated with antibiotics.
Common symptoms are burning sensation, difficult/painful urination, as well as frequent and urgent toilet visits. Some patients also feel the pain in the region where the prostate is located.
There are four different types of prostatitis known to us:
- Acute bacterial prostatitis
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis
- Chronic prostatitis
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis
Identifying the particular type of prostatitis requires medical expertise.
Chronic prostatitis keeps recurring, while other types may vanish seemingly on their own. We still don’t know all the details behind this peculiar tendency.
The final type of prostate issue is the most sinister one.
We’re talking about prostate cancer. Studies show that it affects 1 in 7 men, some of whom succumb to the illness.
This is an incredibly high number, which makes prostate cancer the most common form of cancer diagnosed in men. It’s also one of the leading death causes.
And the additional problem is that this disease is very insidious. Some people don’t experience any symptoms at all. Others report symptoms that are quite similar to those associated with BPH.
The silver lining is prostate cancer is highly treatable. The vast majority of patients that are diagnosed with early-stage cancer go on to live a long and happy life.
Annual screenings are the key to early diagnosis and they include prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal examination.
We’ll discuss them in more detail in the following section.
Medical Examinations and Methodology
When facing prostate hassle, you don’t have to do any guesswork yourself.
There’s no shortage of tried and true medical tests that get to the bottom of the problem.
For example, a digital rectal examination is a simple, albeit a rather crude method. The doctor gently inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to inspect the surface for any irregularities, such as lumps and nodules. It’s an unpleasant, but essential screening test.
Prostate biopsy collects samples of the tissue, which is then tested in the lab. The initial procedure involves inserting a needle into a prostate via the rectum. It may sound painful, but it isn’t really.
Prostate ultrasound (transrectal ultrasound) places a probe near the prostate. Again, the rectum is the pathway through which doctors reach the prostate. Note that a biopsy can be conducted at the same time as an ultrasound.
Lastly, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) refers to blood tests designed to check protein levels. Unusually, high protein can be a sign of prostate cancer. Yet, it may be related to prostatitis or BPH as well.
As technology makes leaps and bounds, it carries medical methodology with it. Even more sophisticated prevention, detection, and treatment procedures are nigh.
The Chemistry Behind It
In order to function properly, the prostate is dependent on male hormones (androgens).
The major groups of these hormones are testosterone and its byproduct dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Testosterone is produced in testes and it’s responsible for prostate growth in adolescence.
But, as we indicated, the prostate continues to grow beyond that point. This is precisely what creates the aforementioned enlarged prostate condition.
Apart from age, there are some other factors that determine the risk. Three we want to highlight are family history, weight, and hormonal balance. So, one lesson to draw here is the importance of vigilance and precaution.
For example, one concrete warning sign is an instance of prostate cancer in your family. What you should do is commit to regular (annual) screening. This brings us to the next point.
It’s of utmost importance to seek medical attention and treatment.
Problems don’t go away. The opposite is true— they become more serious when left unattended. Let’s use an enlarged prostate as an illustration.
Initial symptoms, such as occasional urge to urinate can seem meager. Alas, this condition can later lead to infections, incontinence, stones, and bladder/kidney damage.
You’re better off reacting sooner rather than later.
Explore treatment options from reputable institutions. The goal is to find the best individual treatment option tailored to your specific condition.
Depending on it, you could receive medicine that shrinks the prostate and relaxes its muscles. Sellers such as Dignity Labs provide commonly used solutions, such as Flexnol and Nitrodol. They are properly tested and don’t bear health risks.
Surgery is usually the last resort when other methods fail to yield results. It’s also one of the ways to deal with prostate cancer.
Other treatment methods for this affliction are:
- Strict surveillance
- Watchful waiting (no treatment for the time being)
Sometimes, doctors suggest combinations of these methods. In other cases, prevention and lifestyle changes are a way forward.
Nutrition is one of the most powerful tools for enhancing prostate health.
First and foremost, you should eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can. Red, green, and leafy vegetables are the most beneficial.
They are linked to higher resistance to severe conditions like prostate cancer. Think in terms of cabbage, spinach, broccoli, etc.
Beans are another prostate-reinforcing type of vegetable. As a bonus, they also serve as a nice source of protein and fiber.
Furthermore, you want to maximize the amount of whole food in your diet. It contains very few food processing ingredients, saturated fat, and preservatives. It’s the closest thing to fresh produce.
The next dietary ingredient comes in the form of liquids. When we say liquids, we mostly mean teas, broths, and water. Teas are great because they are easy to digest and have anti-bacterial properties.
They can do away with toxins that accumulate in the prostate gland. On top of that, they deliver nutrients than are missing in the water.
So, maintain a wholesome diet and it will pay dividends as you grow older. Just remember nutrition is no substitute for regular doctor screening and monitoring.
The Big Picture
You can also make other lifestyle adjustments to make the positive change happen.
In other words, embrace a holistic approach to health. Ditch smoking and other bad habits hampering your overall well-being. Drink alcohol only from time to time and in moderation.
Try to deal with other health problems that could be interconnected. High blood pressure and cholesterol can certainly hinder prostate health. Stress and anxiety aren’t to be overlooked either.
All in all, learn to be in balance, relax, and enjoy life more. We know it’s easy to say that, but there are some techniques that work wonders. Outdoor activities, home workout, and medication are prime examples.
That being said, you should also apply measures at a more granular level. Small changes and adjustments add up and make a big difference in the long-term.
If you’re bothered by nighttime peeing, you can keep an eye on how much fluids you drink. Refrain from drinking in the evening and prior to going to bed. Coffee and alcohol are particularly annoying in this regard.
Finally, good hygiene is always something to uphold. This mostly entails keeping the penis clean, a simple habit that reduces the risk of bacteria-induced prostatitis.
We should mention some novelty ways of combating prostate health problems.
Some people believe CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, does the trick. There is indeed some potential here due to the compound’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
However, we need far more scientific evidence to support this claim. You’re venturing out on your own and taking some risks you’re not even aware of. Also, it’s unlikely you’ll address the root of the problem.
So, for now, it’s probably best to stick to what doctors prescribe. That’s your best shot and minimizing the risks, symptoms, and disruption that stem from poor prostate health.
Path Out of the Woods
For a gland so small, the prostate can really give rise to some big issues.
As you’ve seen, it adversely affects urination and sexual function. As a result, your lifestyle suffers and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In worst-case scenarios, it can completely ruin your health.
The good news is there are many ways to boost prostate health.
It all starts with knowledge and awareness. Thus, educate yourself and don’t hesitate to contact your doctor the moment you feel the symptoms we outlined above. There’s plenty you can do your own too, through nutrition and good life habits.
Browse our training & diet section to find more tips and tricks for getting in shape and good health.
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