Your prostate health is important to your overall quality of life. Though most prostate conditions are benign, their symptoms can be embarrassing or painful. However, many men do not know much about their prostate or common prostate problems.
You may be wondering what exactly your prostate is, what it does, and if any specific conditions affect it. Alternatively, you may be experiencing symptoms that you think could be related to your prostate.
Experiencing prostate changes can be scary, and you may be concerned that something serious is happening in your body. Are there tests and treatments available that can assess and improve the health of your prostate?
Fortunately, there are several tests available for the prostate and many treatment options for different prostate conditions. This page will answer all of your questions about where your prostate is, what it does, conditions that can affect it, risk factors for prostate cancer, treatment options, and natural ways to keep you and your prostate healthy.
What does the Prostate do?
The prostate is a muscular, reproductive gland that only men have. It is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It also surrounds the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder to the penis. A healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut and weighs one ounce.
The prostate helps protect sperm by making a fluid, called the prostatic fluid. The prostatic fluid contains a mixture of zinc, enzymes, and citric acid that all work together to keep sperm alive for longer and help it travel further.
When you ejaculate, the prostate contracts and secretes the prostatic fluid into the urethra. This fluid then joins with the sperm and extra fluids from the vas deferens to make semen. When the prostate contracts, it also closes off the opening between the bladder and the urethra so that no urine can be released.
One of the most essential enzymes in the prostatic fluid is a prostate-specific antigen (PSA). PSA is what makes semen runnier, allowing the sperm to travel more easily. The prostate also contains hormones like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
A properly functioning prostate causes no pain and does not interfere with urination or ejaculation. However, even when your prostate is not healthy, there are usually no symptoms.
This is one of the reasons why it is so important to be regularly tested for prostate cancer and other conditions. Often, by the time you notice symptoms, your condition is severe.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, with about 174,000 cases diagnosed each year. One in 9 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime. The good news is that prostate cancer is slow growing and highly curable. Only about 1 in 41 men die from prostate cancer.
The most common prostate exam is a rectal exam. This allows your Doctor to check the size of your prostate and determine if there are any lumps, nodules, or bulges. This is especially helpful since most prostate cancers are located in the back of the prostate and can easily be felt by your Doctor.
You can also have a blood test done to check your PSA levels. Elevated PSA levels are an indicator of both prostate cancer and other prostate conditions. We’ll talk more about the importance of your PSA levels and how it is tested later.
If your Doctor is concerned about prostate cancer or other issues, then you may have a biopsy or ultrasound to look at the prostate tissue. In a biopsy, a needle will be inserted into your rectum to get to the prostate. The tissue is then gathered to be tested in a lab.
A prostate ultrasound is a transrectal ultrasound in which a wand is inserted into the rectum so that it can get a clear picture of your prostate. Sometimes these procedures are performed at the same appointment.
A healthy prostate affects your reproductive, urinary, and sexual health. You do not need a prostate to live, but it is necessary for reproduction. Should your prostate become inflamed or develop cancer, then you may experience problems such as erectile dysfunction, pelvic pain, and urinary problems.
Common prostate problems
Now that we know what the prostate is and how it functions, let’s take a look at the most common prostate health problems.
BPH (enlarged prostate)
BPH can mean two things: benign prostatic hypertrophy or benign prostatic hyperplasia. These are both non-cancerous, and both cause prostate enlargement. This is a common prostate problem that affects many men.
However, men over the age of 50 are more prone to get BPH because as they age, their prostates naturally begin to enlarge. By the time you reach the age of 60, your prostate will have grown from the size of a walnut to that of a lemon.
In BPH, the enlargement of the prostate usually occurs in the middle of your prostate, where it wraps around the urethra. This means that as the prostate grows, it squeezes the urethra. When this happens, it causes urinary problems.
You may find that you have to urinate more often, even having to get up multiple times during the night.
Symptoms of BPH also include:
- Trouble starting or finishing urination
- Feeling like your bladder is not entirely empty
- A weak urine stream, straining to urinate
- Having to stop and start several times while urinating
- You may also experience pain when you urinate or ejaculate
- In rare cases, you may see blood in your urine
BPH itself does not cause erectile dysfunction, but the medications taken to treat it can impact your sex life.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, then check with your Doctor. He can perform a few tests to check for BPH.
The first is a digital rectal exam, which is the fastest and easiest way to see if the prostate is enlarged.
PSA tests can also be used because higher PSA levels can be a sign of an enlarged prostate.
Your Doctor may also order an ultrasound or a cystoscopy to get a better look at your prostate.
You may also need to have your urine flow analyzed.
Your Doctor may also test to see if you can fully empty your bladder when you urinate and ask you to keep a diary of your urination habits. He may also do a blood test to check your kidney functioning.
If your symptoms are not serious, you may choose to practice watchful waiting. You can take precautions like drinking less alcohol and caffeine, emptying your bladder all the way every time you urinate, and visiting the bathroom often.
However, if you find that BPH is causing you more difficulties, then you can treat BPH with either medicine or surgery.
It is important to get BPH treated if your symptoms worsen because it could potentially cause serious side effects like a weak bladder, blocked urethra, infections in the kidney or bladder, or even kidney failure.
There are two main types of medication used to treat BPH. Alpha blockers relax the muscles near the prostate, so the pressure on the urethra is lessened. This allows the urine to flow more easily. Alpha blockers usually work right away.
5-alpha reductase inhibitors can also be taken. These activate an enzyme that blocks DHT. This stops the prostate from growing and even shrinks it. Many men find that they only need one medication, but some use both if their symptoms are severe enough.
Alpha-blockers can sometimes cause side effects like dizziness, fatigue, and headaches. These side effects can increase your risk of falling. A cohort study involving 14,784 men that used an alpha-blocker from 2003 to 2013 were compared to an equal number of men who decided against the use of alpha blockers, to examine whether alpha blockers increased the risk of falling. The researchers found that the use of alpha-blockers increased fall risk by 14% compared to men that did not use alpha-blockers.
5-alpha reductase inhibitors can have more of an effect on you. Since it changes your testosterone levels, it may decrease your sex drive or cause erectile dysfunction. It could also affect the amount of semen in your ejaculate.
A 2014 study, published in the Korean Journal of Urology, explored the dark side of 5-ARIs on sexual health. It found that 5-ARIs have certain isoforms that are widely spread in the central nervous system and inhibits enzymes that are needed to make several vital hormones and neuroactive steroids to maintain a healthy libido.
Experts claim that about 3% of men who take dutasteride experienced a drop in libido — moreover, those who take finasteride experience a 6.4% drop in sex drive. A diminished libido can affect the quality of your relationships, so keep this in mind.
Both of these medications may lower your PSA levels and even decrease your risk of getting prostate cancer. However, it is essential that you are aware of the potential risks that they can have on your health. BPH has nothing to do with prostate cancer, and neither increases nor decreases your risk of developing it later in life.
Should medication not work and your symptoms become severe, surgery for BPH may be recommended.
There are minimally invasive procedures that can be done. These include rezum water vapor therapy, transurethral microwave therapy (TUMT), transurethral needle ablation (TUNA), and the UroLift system. In rezum water vapor therapy, a device is inserted into your urethra and uses water vapor to steam extra prostate tissue away.
TUMT uses a microwave antenna that is inserted into your bladder. The heat from the microwaves then kills excess prostate tissue. TUNA uses a heated needle to deliver radio waves to the prostate and kill excess cells. However, this procedure is not recommended anymore.
Finally, the UroLift is permanently placed in the body to lift the enlarged prostate out of the way of the urethra. This device does not interfere with sexual functions and can be done in a physician’s office or a hospital. Sometimes, a catheter is needed for a day afterward.
Although in some cases, surgery may be unavoidable, it is crucial to keep in mind that all surgery has potential side effects. Some of these side effects include erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, and a lesser quality of life. In other cases, surgery may not even be necessary. If you’re an older man with a slowly growing prostate cancer, surgery might not be needed.
A 2009 study reveals that in a group of 12,677 men who had radical prostate surgeries between 1987 and 2005, only 12 percent of deaths were directly linked to prostate cancer. This is even though many of the patients’ cancers were aggressive.
If non-invasive procedures are not an option, then you may have more invasive surgery. The most common invasive surgery is transurethral resection of the prostate or TURP. In this surgery, spinal anesthesia is used, and an instrument is passed through the urethra to the prostate. There, it trims the prostate tissue. This surgery avoids causing incontinence and impotence, but you may have to spend a few days in the hospital and use a catheter.
There are other surgeries similar to TURP that can be done. Your Doctor may make two small cuts in your prostate to relieve pressure on the urethra. This is called TUIP or transurethral incision of the prostate. Laser surgery can also be used to reduce prostate tissue and shrink the gland. Your Doctor will decide which operation to do based on the size of your prostate.
Very rarely, open prostatectomy is needed. This is usually only required if there are complications with your BHP or if your prostate is very large. In this surgery, general anesthesia is used, and part or all of the prostate is removed.
A prostatectomy can also be done laparoscopically or robotically. The main difference is that there are four small incisions in this surgery instead of one large one in an open prostatectomy.
Prostatitis – Inflammation of the Prostate
Another common prostate problem is prostatitis. Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate and is a condition that many men experience in their lifetime.
Symptoms of prostatitis are mostly urinary problems. These include:
- Trouble passing urine
- A burning sensation while urinating
- A strong and frequent urge to urinate, even if there is only a small amount of urine
Symptoms of an infection include:
- Chills, high fever
- Body aches, joint pain
- Pain in the lower belly or groin
- Rectal pressure, urethral discharge
- Genital throbbing
- Painful ejaculation
Your Doctor can diagnose prostatitis by performing a digital rectal exam and a urine test. These will help your Doctor determine which type of prostatitis you have so you can receive the proper treatment.
Types of prostatitis
There are four types of prostatitis and treatment for each differs. Let’s take a closer look at those now.
Acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis are both caused by bacterial infections. These infections may come from having a urinary tract infection, UTI, or bacteria from your kidneys or bladder can make its way into your prostate.
In acute bacterial prostatitis, your symptoms come on quickly, and you may feel very sick. , and you may need to seek emergency treatment if your symptoms are severe, especially if you have blood in your urine, fever, and chills. Treatment for this type of prostatitis is with a high dose of antibiotics for 7-14 days, followed by a lower dose.
In chronic bacterial prostatitis, your symptoms are not sudden and may only be bothersome. You may find that you have prostatitis after having several bladder infections. For chronic bacterial prostatitis, you must take antibiotics for longer. You may be on antibiotics anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks. Long term antibiotics may also be needed.
Chronic prostatitis is the most common type of prostatitis but is not to be confused with chronic bacterial prostatitis. In chronic prostatitis, there is no bacteria present, even though there are infection-fighting cells found in the blood. Researchers are not sure what causes this type of prostatitis, but UTIs, nerve damage, physical injuries, or immune disorders may play a role.
Alpha-blockers may be used to help prostate tissue relax, and anti-inflammatory medication is used for pain relief. Warm baths can help control symptoms as well. Some men may take antibiotics in case there is an infection that has not been caught.
Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis is the rarest case of prostatitis. In this type, you do not have any symptoms. The inflammation is caught when other tests are done. In this case, medication is not given unless PSA levels remain high or symptoms occur.
The last common prostate problem is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is what happens when cancer cells form in the prostate’s tissues. This cancer grows very slowly compared to other cancers, and men can go years before they realize they have it.
In fact, it may take 30 years before the tumor becomes big enough to cause symptoms! This is why early detection is so important. Once a tumor is large enough to cause problems, it may have spread to other parts of the body or be a more advanced form of cancer.
Once a man reaches the age of 50, it is important to start screening for prostate cancer. Precancerous cells can start forming at this time, and more than half of men in America have some type of prostate cancer by the age of 80. However, not all men may know that they have these cancerous cells.
Prostate cancer symptoms
Often, there are no symptoms of prostate cancer. However, if you do have symptoms, they are usually urinary problems. This can be confusing because these symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of BPH. These include:
- A frequent urge to urinate, trouble passing urine
- A weak stream, burning with urination
- Blood in urine or semen. You may also experience pain when you ejaculate.
Prostate cancer can spread to the pelvic lymph nodes and then to your bones. When this happens, you may experience a nagging pain in your pelvis, hips, and back.
Prostate cancer risk factors
Researchers still do not know what exactly causes prostate cancer. However, certain men are more at risk of developing prostate cancer than others.
Age is an important factor. Men over the age of 50 are much more likely to develop prostate cancer.
Race also plays a role. African American men are at the highest risk of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer also develops in younger African American men and grows faster.
In addition to this, genetics plays a role. If your father or brother had prostate cancer, then your chances are 2 – 3 times higher of developing it yourself. Prostate cancer risks also increase if the women in your family have a history of breast cancer.
Additionally, diet has been shown to play a role in the development of prostate cancer. Men who eat high-fat diets are at a higher risk than those who eat low-fat, plant-based foods.
Smoking has also been shown to be a risk factor for developing fatal prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer diagnosis
A doctor must diagnose prostate cancer. It’s important to have prostate cancer screenings regularly once you turn 50 years old. This dramatically increases your chances of catching prostate cancer in its earliest stages so it can be successfully treated.
The first step in getting a diagnosis is to give your Doctor a complete health history. This will help them evaluate if you have any risk factors for prostate cancer or other conditions.
Digital rectal exams are the next step in getting prostate cancer diagnosed. When you have a rectal exam, your Doctor will place a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to feel your prostate. This is the best way to feel if there is any enlargement or hard areas. You can also tell your Doctor if there is any pain when he presses on your prostate.
Next, your Doctor will probably do a PSA test. If your PSA levels are high, then they will do further tests, including a Free PSA test. If your free levels are low, but overall PSA levels are high, then the next step is usually a biopsy.
A urologist in their office usually does a prostate biopsy. Small tissue samples are taken from different areas of your prostate. This tissue will be examined under a microscope for cancer cells. If the biopsy result is positive, then that means there are cancer cells in your prostate. These cancer cells are then checked for their likelihood of spreading and given a Gleason score. The scores range from 2 to 10, with 2 having the least chance of spreading and 10 being the highest.
Prostate cancer treatment
Treatments for prostate cancer include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation, surgery, and active surveillance. Your Doctor will determine what type of treatment is best for you based on your age, risk factors, Gleason score, PSA levels, and your general health.
Active surveillance is also known as watchful waiting. This is often done when prostate cancer has a low Gleason score and is not causing any symptoms. Your Doctor may think the risks of treatment outweigh the risks of waiting, so together you will monitor your health. Should your symptoms increase, then the next steps for prostate cancer treatment can be taken.
Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells without damaging the healthy cells in the prostate. In this therapy, the radiation comes from the outside of the body and is pointed towards the prostate. An alternative to this is using radioactive seed implants. These seeds can be implanted in your prostate and can kill cancer cells in your body.
Another way to kill cancer cells is through cryotherapy. During cryotherapy, the cancer cells are frozen. Chemotherapy can also be used to kill cancer cells and stop cancer from spreading.
Hormone therapy is also used to treat prostate cancer. In this therapy, hormones are injected into the body to stop the cancer cells from growing actively.
If your prostate cancer is advanced, then surgery may be needed. This is usually the last option for most men since the other therapies are non-invasive. A variety of surgeries can be done to treat prostate cancer, including a radical prostatectomy. In a radical prostatectomy, the entire prostate is removed to completely rid the body of all cancer cells. However, this is usually the last option as erectile dysfunction is often a side effect from the surgery.
Modern surgeons always try to remove the prostate without damaging the nerve cells around it. This is difficult to do, however, because the nerves and blood vessels responsible for erection are located so close to the prostate. These neurovascular bundles are also very small and delicate, so it can be challenging not to damage any of them during a prostatectomy.
However, sometimes these bundles must be removed if the cancer is too close to the bundles. The good news is that you can still get erections with only one set of bundles, and even if both bundles are removed, you can still have sex – you will need treatment to help you.
What men need to know about maintaining prostate health
Prostate problems are extremely common. Almost all men will experience some type of problem with their prostate during their lifetime. Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or an enlarged prostate, occurs in almost every man because prostates naturally enlarge as they age. 9 out of 10 men will develop BPH.
Prostatitis affects at least 2 million men a year in the United States. It is the most common type of urinary tract problem in men under 50 and the third most common in men over 50. Any man can get prostatitis, but those with urinary tract infections or some trauma to their urinary tract are more likely to develop it.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 6 out of 10 cases are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. The average of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is 66. However, African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer earlier.
Maintaining prostate health
You can do several things to keep your prostate healthy, but unfortunately, you cannot do anything to keep it from growing. Your prostate will continue to grow, no matter what you do. However, that does not mean that you shouldn’t maintain these healthy habits. They will help manage your BPH symptoms, should you develop it, as well as lower your risk of developing prostatitis and prostate cancer.
The best way to keep your prostate healthy is to keep your entire body healthy. This means maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a diet rich in lean meats, vegetables, and healthy fats. Diets that are high in red meat, dairy, and unhealthy fats are linked to an increased risk in prostate cancer.
Focus on eating lots of vegetables and fruits that are full of healthy nutrients. Lean sources of protein like chicken, turkey, and some fish are also great. Some fats are good, especially fatty acids so that you can enjoy eggs, salmon, and nuts. However, high-fat foods are calorically dense, so be careful how much you consume.
This healthy way of living is also the best way to prevent diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It will also ensure that your blood continues to flow properly. All of these conditions can increase your risk of developing BPH and prostate cancer, so reducing your risk is incredibly important.
Other risk factors for developing BPH include erectile dysfunction and using beta blockers. While erectile dysfunction does not cause BPH or vice versa, the two are often linked. Beta blockers, which are usually used to treat high blood pressure, may also increase your risk of developing BPH.
Improving prostate health symptoms
If you are already experiencing symptoms of BPD, there are things you can do to help decrease symptoms and enjoy life more.
Caffeine and alcohol can irritate your bladder, so avoiding these can reduce your need to urinate often. Stick with water as your primary beverage. Believe it or not, staying hydrated can also help you avoid urinary problems! However, avoid drinking too much at one time and consider limiting the number of fluids you take in 2 hours before bedtime.
In addition to this, always try to urinate at least once before going somewhere. You can also try to double void. This means you urinate twice with only a small break in between. This helps empty the bladder completely.
You can massage your urethra by gently squeezing your penis upwards near your scrotum. This can help squeeze out any remaining urine so you can avoid leaks later in the day.
Strengthening your pelvic floor can also help to relieve pain and help you pee more easily. Exercise can help you if you are having urinary problems. The regular activity helps your bladder empty at a normal rate.
Finally, decongestants and antihistamines tighten the muscles that control your urine flow. If you can avoid these, you may be able to pee more easily.
Having regular prostate cancer screenings is essential for early detection and treatment. Men can begin having prostate screenings at the age of 45 if their family has a history of prostate cancer.
Most men do not need to start having screenings until the age of 50. These tests should be done every year until the age of 75. Talk to your Doctor about continuing cancer screening after this age. Most men over the age of 85 no longer have prostate cancer exams.
All men, regardless of age, should be concerned about their prostate health. Daily physical activity, a healthy diet, and managing stress levels can all help keep your prostate healthy. In addition to this, you can supplement your diet with natural minerals and herbs to improve your prostate health. We’ll talk about more supplements and how they can help you later.
Remember, it is always better to prevent a disease rather than trying to heal it. Acting now can save you many problems down the road.
What is PSA?
PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. It is a unique protein made by your prostate’s cells. When your prostate is healthy, it secretes the PSA into its ducts where it helps make semen. However, it can occasionally leak into your blood. When you have prostate cancer, more PSA gets into your blood than average.
However, it’s important to remember that a high PSA level is not definitive proof that you have cancer. Both prostatitis and BPH can produce high PSA numbers. PSA numbers can also be affected by everyday activities, from riding a bicycle to having an orgasm. PSA numbers can also be affected by your race and what medications you take.
Therefore, PSA tests are often administered regularly so doctors can get a better idea of your true levels. This means if you have a high PSA count, do not panic.
Your Doctor will probably schedule a follow up so they can check again. PSA tests can also be used if you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. It can help doctors check to see if there is a recurrence of cancer.
Definition of high PSA levels
PSA levels are measured per volume of fluid tested. If you have a value of 4 nanogram (ng)/millilitre or higher, then your PSA level is considered high. Your Doctor will want to do more tests to determine what is causing those numbers.
In addition to levels, doctors can monitor the velocity of your PSA. If there are rapid increases in your PSA levels, then there is a chance you have prostate cancer.
If your Doctor suspects that you have prostate cancer or have high levels of PSA, then they may perform a Free PSA test. Free PSA refers to PSA that is not bound to other proteins.
It is associated with benign prostate conditions like BPH. PSA that is bound to other proteins is usually linked to prostate cancer. Your Doctor will analyze the percentage of free PSA in your blood to determine if you have a serious prostate problem.
If your total PSA and free PSA are high, then you probably have BPH. If your total PSA is elevated while free PSA is low, then more testing needs to be done since cancer is more likely.
Free PSA levels cannot predict whether or not you have prostate cancer. They are simply an indicator that your free PSA levels are elevated.
While this test is reliable, it must be considered along with your health history, prostate exam, and your symptoms. All of these are reviewed before a cancer diagnosis. You should also consult with your Doctor before taking the next steps in cancer diagnosis, like getting a biopsy.
When to get PSA results
Men can have their first PSA test between the ages of 45 and 49. This will establish a baseline and allow your Doctor to determine a timeline for future testing. At this age, if your PSA level is 3 ng/mL or above, then a biopsy may be needed. PSA levels between 1 and 3 ng/mL are normal, and you will be tested every 2 – 4 years again.
If your PSA levels are less than 1 ng/mL, then you can wait 5 years before getting tested again. This is basically the same pattern that will continue until you are 71 years of age. After that, you should talk to your Doctor about having a PSA test done again.
Best supplements for prostate health
Natural remedies are one of the best ways to maintain prostate health. In addition to eating a healthy diet full of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and healthy fats, you can use supplements.
Supplements are a great way to bridge the gaps found in nutrition and boost your health. You can also use supplements to ease the symptoms of an enlarged prostate and help keep your prostate healthy and functioning at its best. Here are some of the best supplements for prostate health.
Pygeum comes from an African plum plant that contains fatty acids, sterols, and alcohols. It is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce BPH symptoms, especially those involving urinary problems.
This is because it reduces inflammation in the prostate, suppresses its growth, and reduces the amount of testosterone that is taken in. This can lead to an increase in urine flow and the ability to void the bladder.
Dosing can be anywhere from 100 to 200 mg per day. In a large double-blind study, 263 men received 100 mg of pygeum daily over a period of 60 days. At the end of the study, 66% of the group reported significant improvement in urinary flow, frequency, and night-time urination.
Lycopene is a phytonutrient found in many different fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, papaya, watermelon, guava, pink grapefruit, apricots, red cabbage, red bell peppers, and carrots. Lycopene is an antioxidant that gives tomatoes its red color.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition looked at the effects of lycopene extract in men with BPH. Men were given 15 mg of lycopene per day or a placebo for 6 months. PSA was significantly reduced in the lycopene group, and prostate volume was unchanged after 6 months. Prostate volume increased by 24% in the placebo group. However, some studies have reported no effect of lycopene supplementation.
Citrus pectin is found in the peel and pulp of citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. Research has shown that citrus pectin can stimulate the immune system and have a positive effect on prostate cancer cells. One small study even showed that citrus pectin could lower the amount of PSA secreted into the blood.
The study concluded that due to it’s anti-adhesive, apoptosis-promoting, and apoptosis-inducing properties, it appears that modified citrus pectin is capable of targeting multiple critical rate-limiting steps involved in cancer metastasis.
You can take citrus pectin either in pill form or in a powder. If you use the powder, be sure to take it on an empty stomach. Too much citrus pectin can cause gastrointestinal issues, so be sure not to take too much.
Beta-sitosterol is a type of sterol found in a variety of plants. A sterol is similar to cholesterol and can reduce the symptoms of BPH and prostatitis.
A systematic review, published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, found that Beta-sitosterol can improve urine flow and increase volume all while fighting the development of BPH and prostate cancer. Beta-sitosterol is a natural alternative to alpha blockers that are often used to treat BPH.
Pomegranates contain ellagic acid. This antioxidant has cancer-fighting abilities and can even cause the death of prostate cancer cells. The good news is that ellagic acid can kill bad cells without harming healthy cells.
You can either eat pomegranates or drink pomegranate juice. Just be sure to purchase juices that have no added sugar. Extra sugar is harmful to your prostate and overall health.
Isoflavones can be found in soy products. You can either eat soy products or take supplements. Isoflavones are a group of compounds that are phytoestrogens. These compounds, especially genistein, have been shown to affect the way cancer cells grow and spread in the prostate.
A 2016 review found that Isoflavones play a protective role against the development of Prostate cancer, but more research needs to be done to understand if they can prevent and treat prostate cancer fully.
Green Tea Polyphenols and Catechins
Research has shown that green tea can help protect against prostate cancer. Polyphenols can reduce inflammation, and researchers believe this is the agent that can help fight cancer and prevent further cell damage. Green tea has about 30% of polyphenols.
Catechins are a specific type of polyphenol. These green tea catechins can improve not only your immune system but also slow the progression of prostate cancer. One study, in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that regularly drinking green tea reduced the risk of men developing prostate cancer by 48%.
Saw palmetto comes from a plant in North America and has been used for centuries to help with prostate enlargement. This herbal supplement inhibits the production of testosterone and can reduce the inner lining of the prostate. This is because it is full of fatty acids, flavonoids, and beta-sitosterol. It can also reduce the symptoms of BPH. You can take 320 mg, split into two doses, of saw palmetto a day.
Rye Grass Pollen
This herbal supplement comes from Eastern Asia and Western Europe. It can help those with BPH fully empty their bladder and reduce the urgency to urinate at night.
One 2017 meta-analysis consisting of 10 clinical studies revealed an 83% positive response rate from patients, with no side effects reported. Ryegrass pollen may even be able to decrease the size of your prostate. You can purchase ryegrass pollen under its brand name, Cernilton.
You may be surprised to see stinging nettles on this list since they can cause pain when touched. However, they have lots of fatty acids and sterols that can decrease swelling and inflammation in the prostate. They can also help improve the flow of urine because it is a natural diuretic.
A randomized, double study reviewed the efficiency of nettles on 100 patients with BPH. According to the results, nettle had a better effect in relieving clinical symptoms in BPH patients compared to placebo.
The best way to take stinging nettles is by drinking it. Make a tea with a teaspoon of dried leaves in hot water. Be sure to drain the leaves before you drink up! You can drink this tea up to three times a day.
Boron is not easily found in food, so this is a dietary supplement you want to take. Boron has been strongly linked to protecting men from prostate cancer. It can reduce your risk of developing cancer and lower your PSA levels. Boron is not a popular supplement, but even with adequate intake, it can still reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer.
Zinc can be found in seafood, eggs, cashews, and even some fortified cereals. If you do not eat these foods, then consider supplementing this essential mineral. Zinc not only protects your prostate, but it also suppresses inflammation and reduces enlargement. You can take 90 mg of zinc per day.
In order to determine which prostate supplements to take, first look at your dietary habits. Are you getting enough of these vitamins and minerals in your diet? If not, check to see how you can increase your intake through nutritional supplements.
It is best always to introduce one supplement at a time. This way, you can evaluate its effects on your health. Some supplements can have unwanted side effects, and you should discontinue using them right away. If you have any questions, consult with your Doctor.
Prostate changes can have a profound impact on your health and quality of life. While you cannot do much to change the effect that time has on your body, you can take steps to make sure your body, and especially your prostate, are as healthy as can be.
Regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and stress management all play a significant role in your health. Try to exercise 5 days a week and fill your diet with lots of plant-based foods and a moderate amount of lean meat and healthy fats. Check out the above list of dietary supplements that can help prevent prostate cancer and manage the symptoms of both prostate cancer and BPH.
Prostate changes are common, and most men will experience at least one prostate condition in their lifetime. Fortunately, most prostate conditions are benign or non-fatal. BPH is benign, and prostatitis can be treated with medication without severe consequences. Prostate cancer is usually not fatal, although it can cause urinary problems.
However, it is always important to talk to your Doctor and get tested for prostate cancer regularly. They can help you come up with a screening and treatment plan that works best for your life.
You can work together to decide when to begin prostate cancer screenings based on your age, race, and family history. If prostate cancer is found, you have a variety of treatment options available.
These include active surveillance, medication, or surgery. You may want to treat your cancer immediately, but sometimes the treatment for early-stage prostate cancer is not worth the risks and side effects to your health. Therefore, it is imperative to make a decision that you, your partner, and Doctor are all comfortable with.
Whatever treatment you choose, know that research is being conducted all the time to find the safest and most efficient cures and treatments for BPH, prostatitis, and prostate cancer. Stay informed and educate yourself on all of your options. With patience and a positive attitude, you can overcome any prostate problems that come your way.