The prostate gland is found only in men and is part of the male reproductive system. As they get older, men are more likely to experience problems relating to the prostate gland. The prostate is part of a manís sex organs. Itís about the size of a walnut and surrounds the tube called the urethra, located just below the bladder. It surrounds the tube that carries urine from the bladder.
The prostate is very important for a man's sex life, producing some of the fluid in semen. The urethra has two jobs: to carry urine from the bladder when you urinate and to carry semen during a sexual climax, or ejaculation. Semen is a combination of sperm plus fluid that the prostate adds. When something goes wrong with the prostate, it can affect a man's sex life, his long-term health and with prostate cancer can lead to death.
For men under 50, the most common prostate problem is prostatitis. Prostatitis means the prostate might be inflamed or irritated. If you have prostatitis, you may have a burning feeling when you urinate, or you may have to urinate more often. Or you may have a fever or just feel tired. For men over 50, the most common prostate problem is prostate enlargement. This condition is also called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Older men are at risk of prostate cancer as well, but this disease is much less common than BPH.
Benign disease or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is common in older men, with the prostate growing slowly bigger. It can cause difficulty or pain when passing urine as the growing prostate puts pressure on the tube that carries urine from the bladder. Several treatments are available. BPH is treatable and is rare in men under 50.
Prostatitis can affect men of any age, and is an inflammation of the prostate gland. It can cause pain and difficulty when passing urine. Prostatitis is treatable and can occur in men of any age. Most of the time, doctors donít find any bacteria in men with prostatitis. If you have urinary problems, the doctor will look for other possible causes, such as a kidney stone or cancer.
If no other causes are found, the doctor may decide you have a condition called nonbacterial prostatitis.
Inflammation in any part of the body is usually a sign that the body is fighting germs or repairing an injury. Some kinds of prostatitis are caused by bacteria, tiny organisms that can cause infection or disease. If you have bacterial prostatitis, your doctor can look through a microscope and find bacteria in a sample of your urine. Your doctor can then give you an antibiotic, a medicine that kills bacteria. Again this is an area where antibiotics should not be ignored.
Your doctor will want to know more about any change in the flow or stream of urine, frequency by day, or the need to get up at night, and regarding any difficulty starting, or stopping when passing urine. He will want to examine the prostate gland, which means examining, with a gloved finger, up the rectum. This will give a clue as to the size of the prostate, and any possible evidence of cancer.
Other tests include a blood test to check on kidney function, and a special blood test (PSA) to check for biochemical evidence of prostate cancer. PSA stands for prostate specific antigen, and is a substance from the prostate gland which is present in the blood of all men. As men get older the amount that is in the blood slowly rises.
In prostate cancer the PSA test usually shows a higher concentration in the blood than would be expected. If the test shows a normal result this is reassuring, and if the result is high it is likely that your specialist will wish to embark on further tests and treatment. There is a level which is just above the normal range, but not yet high, which might lead to your doctor repeating the test after a few months. As with all tests the PSA is considered by your doctor in conjunction with their other findings and test results.
It may well be that your doctor will also organise a urine test to check for infection, and a flow test to assess the speed at which the urine leaves the bladder. There may also be an ultrasound examination (rather like sonar is used to detect submarines underwater, and how babies are examined in their mothers' tummies).
The risk of prostate cancer gets higher in older men, or those with a family history of the disease. Prostate cancer is also more common in the West where the diet can be high in dairy and animal fats.
Symptoms are similar to other prostate problems, particularly difficulty in passing urine, but other symptoms include lower back pain, pain in the hips or pelvis and erection problems. All these symptoms can also be caused by other problems.
Prostate cancer develops when a single cell in the prostate begins to multiply out of control and forms a tumour. Some cells may break away and travel to other parts of the body, starting new tumours. Prostate cancer is treatable and can be cured in many cases. It is rare in men under 50 but gets more common as men get older. Prostate cancer behaves differently in different men, with some tumours growing very slowly and some developing quickly. There are no known measures you can take to reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
The symptoms of prostate diseases are similar:
- needing to urinate often, especially at night
- difficulty in starting to urinate
- straining to urinate or taking a long time to finish
- pain when urinating or ejaculating
Less common symptoms that may be prostate cancer are:
- pain in lower back, hips or pelvis
- blood in the urine (this is unusual)
However, these symptoms are often something else and not cancer. Prostate cancer is different from most cancers - some prostate cancers grow slowly and may not cause problems, but some grow quickly and need early treatment. If you are worried about any of these symptoms, you should go and see your Healthcare professional.
There are many natural remedies that some men may wish to try, having had the preliminary tests, as an alternative to the prescription medications.
- A berry extract known as Saw Palmetto, which has been shown to be safe and effective, at least in mild to moderate cases. The herb, derived from the berry of the American dwarf palm tree, has been used to treat prostate problems since the 1800s. Today, saw palmetto is especially popular among men who experience the weak urine flow and frequent urination symptomatic of an enlarged prostate.
- Prostate gland disorders can be very well tackled by Pumpkin Seeds. The seeds act as a rich source of unsaturated fatty acid, which are vital to the health of the prostate. About 50 gm seeds are to be taken daily either in cooked food or as a powdered. This is one of the best and popular home remedies for prostate disorders
- Zinc is another beneficial for treating prostrate disorders. Take about 30 mg of zinc everyday under medical observation. You can either go for the pills or can go for the food contains it.
- Vitamin E is having favorable effect on prostate health. The patient should be given foods rich in Vitamin E like wholegrain products, green leafy vegetables.
- Take 200 ml of spinach juice and add 300 ml of carrot juice into it. Vegetable juices are good for prostate health. You can consume this juice daily in the morning for at least about 20 days.
- Some suggest a lukewarm water enema to be best for prostate and other genito-urinary tract problems. It also reduces the toxins from the body.
- Hot and cold hip baths are considered to be beneficial for treating uro-genital disorders. This will not only reduce the pain but will also reduce the inflammation present in the body.
- Apple, sweet lime, mango, melon, pear, orange etc are good to have in prostate condition.
- Cooked vegetables, preferably steamed cooked vegetables are said to be good for prostate health.
- Some of the Ayurvedic medicines like shilajt, varuna, kulatha, usher etc are beneficial for urinary track disorders. It is also helpful in prostate gland disorders.
- Avoidance of sexual acts, irregularity in eating and drinking, long periods of sitting on a chair and vigorous exercises are best to be avoided. They give raise to prostate problems in male.
- Mix a tsp of basil juice with little yogurt and take one time in a day during hot weather. Don’t drink or eat ½ hr before and after this treatment.
- ½ tsp of honey and one tsp of basil juice is mixed and taken during cold weather. Don’t drink or eat anything ½ before and after this treatment.
- Lycopene a bioflavonoid extract from tomato reduces dribbling. With strong antioxidant properties it prevents prostrate cancer too.
- Essential oil of Jasmine has been used for many years to releave the symptoms of prostate problems
- Goldenseal, an antibiotic is very useful for treating prostatitis. It also heals the urinary tract which winces the swollen prostrate.
- Pollen (bee pollen) is another method to treat prostrate disorders. It shrinks the enlarged prostrate glands within 6 months.
Here are some Dos and Don'ts to help prostate problems:
- Try to empty your bladder before going to bed.
- Avoid carbonated water in the form of cold drinks.
- Avoid starchy food, spicy food, oily and canned food.
- One of the best ways to alleviate urination problem is to have more sex. Ejaculation empties the prostrate secretion that hinders urination.
- Avoid caffeine in any form like aerated beverages, chocolates and of course coffee and tea as it tightens the bladder neck creating problems for urination.
- Avoid consumption of alcohol as this too tightens the bladder neck which could hamper urination. Alcohol is a diuretic and increases urine in the bladder thus creating more problems.
- Avoid antihistamines and decongestants as it is more harmful than beneficial.
- Try to avoid Stress as it impacts the prostrate gland. Stress can increase adrenal hormones which causes difficulty in urination.
- Although an embarrassing treatment, prostrate massage can provide relief from inflammation and swelling. This is done by the doctor or nurse who inserts a finger into the rectum and massages the prostate for ten to twenty minutes.
- Practice Kegel exercises to improve circulation of the tissues. Kegel exercise is done by pulling up all the muscles around the scrotum and anus. Repeat it 10 times and do this at least 5-6 times a day.
- Latest researches say that some Yoga postures have shown miracle in treating prostate problems. There were many proven clinical trials on the same. Doing Yoga postures regularly on daily basis will not only improve your prostate health but will also bring harmony in general health. You can do Vajrasana and Forward Bend Asana (Paschimothana Asana) to treat prostrate disorders.
There are many precautions to be taken in order to keep the prostate gland healthy. The above should be borne in mind and acted upon where possible.
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