The prostate gland is a small part of the reproductive system. It has the size of a walnut. Even though small, it plays an essential role in ensuring men can reproduce without problems.
Some issues can affect the prostate gland. While some prostate conditions are not severe, others can turn into life-threatening situations.
Many things can contribute to prostate problems. Studies suggest that men need to be wary of the growing prevalence of sedentary lifestyles. Sitting too much may lead to the development of prostate conditions1.
This is a concern since there is a higher prevalence of physical inactivity among older men. This would further increase the risk of BPH, prostatitis, and even prostate cancer.
We take a look at the relationship between sitting and prostate problems in this article. We will also discuss common prostate problems that men experience. This post will also focus on helping men understand ways that they can improve their prostate health.
Why Sitting Is Bad For Your Prostate
Sitting is something that we all do every day. A lot of men need to sit in front of an office for extended periods each day. This leads to inactivity – which is a serious concern among the male population.
In one study2, 30.1% of male participants sat for more than five hours each day. These men were classified as being sedentary. Only 28.9% of the men in the study sat for less than two hours every day. This shows that the prevalence of physical inactivity is a growing concern among men.
Physical inactivity is known to increase the risk of obesity3. Other conditions also hold strong links to a sedentary lifestyle. Men have a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and more. It has been reported that a sedentary lifestyle is a major cause of premature death.
These factors are generally well-known among the male population. What many do not realize is that sitting too much could be harmful to the prostate as well.
The direct effects of a sedentary lifestyle, with an emphasis on obesity, already raises the risk of prostate conditions. Studies confirmed a link exists between obesity and BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia4.
Some studies also show other interactions between sitting for too long and increasing the risk of prostate problems. One study5 considered data from various previous clinical trials and scientific reports. Researchers explain that there is a 16% increased risk of an elevated PSA level for every one hour that a man sits down.
A lot of men sit for more than five hours each day, as we previously reported. This means there is a significant increase in the risk of PSA levels being elevated among these men. Thus, increasing sedentary behaviors would then lead to a consistently higher risk of experiencing an elevation in PSA levels.
PSA is also called a prostate-specific antigen. This is a protein that is often measured when men are expected to suffer from certain prostate conditions.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, often called BPH, is a common prostate problem among the worldwide male population. Studies confirm that the risk of BPH increases after the age of 40 in men. By the age of 90, at least 60% of men will experience severe symptoms associated with the condition6.
This is not a life-threatening condition on its own. Benign prostatic hyperplasia causes the prostate to become enlarged.
An enlarged prostate push against the urethra and the bladder. When this happens, a man may experience lower urinary tract symptoms.
Symptoms that men should look out for include:
- Frequent urination
- Urinary retention
- Nocturia (frequently urinating at night)
- A consistent urge to urinate
- It may be difficult to start urinating.
- The man may find that he dribbles after urinating.
- The man may not be able to completely empty their bladder.
- The urine stream may be weak.
- Some men find that their urine stream starts and then stops continuously.
There is an association between benign prostatic hyperplasia and an elevated PSA level.
Prostatitis is also a rather common issue that men tend to face. The condition is also more prevalent among older men.
Prostatitis is a condition that causes inflammation in the prostate gland. This is different from prostate enlargement. The prostate’s tissue does not grow larger. Instead, swelling occurs within the gland.
The inflammation that occurs can also push against parts of the lower urinary tract. In turn, the man may experience problems with their urinary system.
It is well-known that a sedentary lifestyle not only leads to an increased risk of disease, but also to an increase in inflammation within the body. Inflammation is the primary factor in prostatitis. This is especially the case in nonbacterial prostatitis.
In such a case, the condition is not caused by a microorganism, such as bacterial prostatitis. Instead, it is caused by irritation or other factors that led to an inflammatory response. Men can also develop chronic prostatitis.
Symptoms that may signal a man has prostatitis include:
- Some men find blood in their urine.
- Sometimes urine may appear cloudy.
- There may be a frequent need to urinate.
- Dysuria may occur, which is when the man experience pain or a burning sensation during urination.
- Dribbling can occur
- Hesitant urination sometimes happens.
- The man may have an urgency to urinate.
In some cases, prostatitis also causes pain in the surrounding regions. This could include abdominal pain. Some men experience lower back and groin pain too. Perineum pain is also a possible symptom. The condition can be linked to a urinary tract infection in some cases.
Prostate cancer is another problem that men can experience with this gland. In most cases, prostate cancer is not too serious. There are, however, scenarios where metastatic prostate cancer develops.
In such a case, cancer will not be localized to only the prostate gland. The cancerous cells may spread to other parts of the man’s body. This makes it more difficult to treat the condition.
A PSA test is one of the main screening tools used to test for prostate cancer. It does not provide a guarantee that the man has prostate cancer but can serve as an indication.
As mentioned previously, there seems to be an elevation of PSA levels in men who live sedentary lifestyles. It should also be noted that physical inactivity has been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers in several studies.
With this in mind, it is another reason why men need to feel concerned about their prostate health if they are not physically active.
Symptoms generally associated with prostate cancer include:
- Painful urination
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Urination difficulties may develop.
- The man may feel it is harder to start urinating than normal.
- There may be a reduction in the urine stream’s velocity.
- Urine flow becomes weaker than usual.
- Blood may appear in the urine.
- Some men find blood in their semen.
- In some men, a loss of bladder control can happen.
Other pain symptoms can happen, too, such as prostate pain when sitting. Some men experience pelvic pain.
Steps To Improve Prostate Health
There are a few ways that men can improve their prostate health. Understanding what measures should be taken is important. This can help to reduce the risk of BPH, prostate cancer, and other related conditions. When these conditions develop, it can cause complications.
The man can become infertile in some cases. There are also scenarios where the man will experience urinary problems and even a risk of serious infections.
By taking steps to improve prostate health, the risk of these conditions can be significantly reduced.
Men should ensure they implement a combination of strategies. This would yield a more effective improvement in prostate health. The strategies can also help to improve a man’s general health.
As noted in this post, failure to exercise enough raises PSA levels. It also leads to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and increases the risk of cancer. This is why one of the first steps to better prostate health is to ensure the man gets enough exercise.
Even though we are all living busy lives, there are many exercises that men can do without the need to go to a gym.
Men should ensure they at least meet the minimum requirements for physical activity. This include7:
- About 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. These activities should have a moderate intensity level. When participating in more vigorous aerobic activity, the time can be cut to a minimum of 75 minutes per week.
- Strength training on two days or more every week. The resistance should be appropriate to ensure muscles get tired and lean muscle mass development. Between 12 to 15 repetitions should be the minimum for every session.
There are many activities that men can participate in. When going to the gym is not an option, a man should consider other activities. Jogging is an excellent way to get the heart pumping and to burn excess calories. This is great for losing weight or avoiding weight gain.
Older men should consider taking a brisk walk every day. Many physical activities are not appropriate for older men. This means they are limited to what they can do.
Some older men also consider swimming as part of their weekly routine. This is an excellent resistance training exercise that helps to build stronger muscles and burn excess calories at the same time.
Men need to realize that exercise alone is not enough to care for their prostate.
A diet that is filled with trans fats and processed foods cause inflammation in the body. The inflammation can affect the prostate gland. Unhealthy foods make the immune system weaker. This means there is more opportunity for bacteria to infect the prostate gland and the urinary tract.
An unhealthy diet has other complications that may adversely affect a man’s health – including their prostate – too.
For example, when a man eats too many calories, he will gain weight. This eventually leads to obesity. When a man is obese, he has less energy. This means he will not be as willing to participate in regular physical activity.
A diet should preferably include a wide range of whole foods. These foods should provide the man’s body with access to all the crucial nutrients he needs. There should be an appropriate balance between carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
Healthy fats are crucial. Eating too many unhealthy fats causes cholesterol levels to increase. This may lead to clogged arteries. In turn, the man’s risk of heart diseases become elevated. The man also becomes more likely to experience erectile dysfunction symptoms.
There are a few supplements that may also be helpful for preserving a healthy prostate gland.
Many supplements are promoted for prostate health. It is important that men do research before they do buy such a product. While there are various supplements available, they are not all equal.
Many contain ingredients that have no scientific evidence to back up the claims that are made. Men should only trust reputable brands. They should also get to know the ingredients that are effective at improving prostate health.
At the same time, learning about potential side-effects and other risks associated with supplements should be important. Some ingredients may interact with pharmaceutical drugs the patient is taken.
These drugs include both prescription and over-the-counter medicine. When interactions occur, the man may experience serious side-effects.
Some common supplements that seem to be useful for improving prostate health include:
Several supplements offer a combination of these ingredients to help improve prostate health. Some supplements may contain additional ingredients to help regulate inflammation and strengthen the immune system.
Some supplements may include extra nutrients, such as minerals. These help to further attend to the prostate’s health.
Best Exercises For Prostate
Various exercises may help to improve a man’s prostate health. Some activities will affect the prostate gland more directly than others. There are a few exercises that instead offer health benefits that would affect the prostate gland indirectly.
For example, reducing body fat through strength training and cardio exercises help to treat obesity. In turn, the reduces weight may be beneficial for the prostate gland.
Kegel exercises are helpful too. This is an exercise that men can perform anywhere – even while they are sitting in front of a desk. The exercise helps to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. In turn, it adds more support to the organs and other parts located in the groin.
During a Kegel exercise, there will be an increase in blood flow to the male sex organ. With these exercises, it can help to build up a healthy prostate while keeping all of the sexual organs functioning properly.
Male pelvic floor exercises may also help alleviate prostatitis symptoms. Male CPPS is difficult to treat and often requires a multimodal approach.
Physical inactivity causes many problems with the body. Men need to be aware of the consequences related to their prostate too. In men who are not physically active, there is an increased risk of prostate conditions. Studies find that PSA levels also increase among men who live sedentary lives. There are steps that men can take to improve their prostate health.