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Prostate 101: How well do you know the Prostate gland?

Prostate 101: How well do you know the Prostate gland?

Men are not as open as women are about discussing their health. They often find it difficult to discuss health issues that are bothering them - even more so when it concerns their sexual health!

As men age,  it is very important to maintain a healthy prostate. However, many people today don’t really know much about the prostate. “What is the prostate? What does it do? Why is it important to keep the prostate healthy?”

Understanding the prostate and its functions will give you a better understanding why it is important to focus on prostate health and  keep the prostate gland healthy and in good working order.

What is the prostate and what does it do?

Every man has a prostate. This gland is the size and shape of a walnut and can be be found below the bladder and in front of the rectum.

The prostate is vital for a man’s sex life and its main function is to produce some milky fluid (semen) that carries sperm from the testicles during an orgasm. It nourishes and protects the sperm. 
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What are the most common prostate problems men are at risk of?

As men get older, usually from about the age of 40, the prostate often enlarges. This is called BPH (Benign Prostate Hypertrophy) and is a normal part of the male aging process.

However, an enlarged prostate may put pressure on the bladder or urethra and this often results in more frequent urination, which can become bothersome to men.

It can also affect the flow of urine, resulting in ‘dribbling’ or weakened flow. The prostate may also become inflamed.

Prostate cancer is another thing which men worry about as it is a very common cancer in men.

The Feelgood Health team takes a closer look at prostate problems like BPH, prostatitis, prostate cancer and what can be done to maintain healthy prostate functioning.

Enlarged prostate
An enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH is a common problem that most men will encounter in their lifetime. The prostate gland changes in size as a man ages.

Before the age of 40, the prostate gland is the size of a walnut and gradually increases to the size of an apricot. This process (prostate enlargement) is a normal part of aging and is not an illness. However, it can cause problems with urination.

By 60 years, the prostate gland’s size may reach the size of a lemon. As it lies underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra (this is the tube through which urine flows), it presses on the urethra and affects a man’s ability to urinate.

Studies show that eight out of every ten men will develop an enlarged prostate. Certain factors such as age and family history can also increase their risk.   

Prostatitis is inflammation (swelling) or an infection of the prostate gland. It affects men of all ages and is usually caused by repeated bladder infections.

There are two types of prostatitis -  chronic prostatitis and acute prostatitis

In chronic prostatitis, prostate inflammation symptoms recur over a period of a few months and no infection is usually found. In acute prostatitis, symptoms develop suddenly and are quite severe. This type of prostatitis is usually caused by bacteria in the urinary tract which can enter the prostate. 

Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers  in men. In most cases, this cancer goes undiagnosed because it never causes any symptoms at all.  This is why regular prostate examinations are important, especially as men grow older.
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How to identify prostate problems?

There are certain symptoms to be aware that may indicate prostate problems
Needing to urinate more often, especially at night
• Dribbling before or after urinating
• Straining to urinate or taking a long time to finish
• Weak urine flow
These symptoms may be due to prostate enlargement (BPH) and are not always a sign that there is something seriously wrong. However, they can be treated.

Other less common symptoms may include:
• Pain in the testicles
• Pain in the lower back
• Pain while ejaculating
• Pain when urinating
• Blood in the urine
• Pain during sex
These symptoms are often a sign of inflammation of prostatitis or, less frequently, cancer of the prostate and should always be attended to.
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What you can do to maintain a healthy prostate

There are a number steps that every man should take in order to keep his prostate healthy

1. Consult your GP if you are having urinary problems

Men who experience urinary problems or discomfort should consult their GP for a diagnosis.

While it may probably be something minor, if left untreated it may be a sign of something more serious.
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2. Get the prostate exam over and done with

Most men dread the idea of having a prostate exam. At the age of 40, every man should have a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) to check their prostate.

A Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test will be performed if your GP wants to rule out prostate cancer. This blood test measures the level of Prostate specific antigen which is produced in the prostate.
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3. Eat healthy

Eat a well-balanced diet which consists of all the essential vitamins and minerals. Include brightly coloured fruit and veggies as well as oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines into your daily meals.

Research shows that Mediterranean men have a lower rate of prostate cancer because their diet is rich in veggies, fruit, fish, olive oil and garlic.

Studies also show that Selenium which is a trace mineral reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Look for Selenium in broccoli, asparagus, brown rice, onions, Brazil nuts and seafood.

Don’t forget about tomatoes either! They are also prostate friendly because they contain lycopene – a powerful antioxidant which repairs damaged cells.
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4. Reduce fat and sugar intake

Both fat and sugar are the main cause for weight gain and obesity which increases your risk of developing cancer. Cut down on eating processed foods, meat, margarine, sauces and salad dressings which all contain saturated fats. 

Limit sugary foods such as biscuits, cakes, sweets and fizzy drinks from your diet and replace with natural sugar alternatives like honey. 

For a healthy snack idea, eat pumpkin seeds which contain a compound called phytosterols known to shrink the prostate.
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5. Natural remedies

Natural herbal and homeopathic remedies can also help to treat and relieve the symptoms of BPH and other prostate problems.

The Feelgood Health range has two remedies – Prostate Dr which can be used for prostate relief. 

Prostate Dr is a gentle and effective herbal remedy which treats and prevents BPH and prostatitis, helping to reduce prostate swelling and promoting prostate health,while strengthening the immune system and promoting bladder health.


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