Prostate Problems - An Owners' Guide
by: Claire Raikes, Health Coach
We've all heard of it, but generally only in relation to it
going wrong - and the embarrassment of having your doctor stick his finger 'up
yer bum' to check it. So what exactly is the prostate? What does it do and how
can you keep yours in good shape? Before we get started, there are two small
points that need clarifying:
1 There's only one 'R' in prostate. (Prostrate is when you lie
face down with your arms and legs spread!).
2 The prostate is a strictly 'men-only' kinda gland. (Girls
don't have one.)
Where is it and what does it do?
About the size of conker (chestnut), the prostate lives sort
of wrapped around the urethra, just below the exit of the bladder, in front
of the inner wall of the rectum. Picture a drinking straw with a balloon on
the end. Now imagine threading a mini cupcake onto the straw and pushing it
up as far as the balloon. The balloon is the bladder, the straw is the urethra
and the mini cupcake is the prostate gland!
Despite its proximity to and associations with the bladder,
it has absolutely nothing to do with urine production and is, in fact, responsible
for producing something called prostatic fluid which increases the sperms' ability
to 'swim'. So that explains why women don't have one then!
What can go wrong with it then?
Well, not a lot... in men under 50. However, according to Prostate
Research Campaign UK, 43% of men over 65 will suffer with a variety of urinary
symptoms due to something called 'benign prostatic hyperplasia'
BPH is the most common of prostate problems and refers to a
non-cancerous overgrowth of the cells of the prostate itself, usually on the
inside (where the cupcake and the straw touch). Given its position, this enlarging
of the prostate causes constriction of the urethra which reduces the flow of
urine out of the body.
Typical signs that "y' cupcake is squashing y' straw",
- a weak,
slow or 'stop, start' flow of urine
afterwards, that there's still some left, ie. you haven't emptied your bladder
to pee or difficulty getting started
trips to the bathroom, day and/or night
- when nature
calls, it's urgent and/or you 'leak' a little
And besides the above symptoms, an enlarged prostate can impact
on the bladder itself and ultimately, if left untreated, could lead to surgery
and even kidney problems.
As well as BPH, there are two other potential prostate problems
- 'prostatitis' (inflammation of the prostate) or 'prostate
cancer', the most common cancer diagnosed in men.
Since all three conditions involve the prostate constricting
the urethra, many of the symptoms of the less serious BPH also show up in prostatitis
and prostate cancer. As a result, it's important you see your doctor at the
earliest opportunity, in order to establish exactly what the problem is and
receive the correct treatment.
Worth noting, is that if you are between 30 and 50 and develop
the symptoms of a urinary infection eg. a burning pain while you pee or frequent
and/or urgent need to pee, you should get yourself to your doc as soon as possible
since these symptoms may be an indicator of prostatitis caused by an infection
of some kind. (Note: the most common form of prostatitis is not caused by bacterial
Likewise, blood in your pee and/or semen along with any symptoms
listed above may indicate prostate cancer. Needless to say, get to your doc
How can I reduce the risk of or prevent prostate problems?
Well, there's good news and bad news here:
The bad news is that the jury's still out on
what causes prostate problems, with one exception; bacterial prostatitis can
result from unprotected anal intercourse.
The good news is that there's reliable evidence
to suggest that the risk of all three prostate conditions can be reduced by
And there's no surprises as to what they are; it's all the usual
your intake of saturated animal fats ie. eggs, milk, cheese, butter and red
and processed meats.
- Eat more
wholegrains and nuts and seeds. In particular, choose, brazil nuts and pumpkin,
sunflower and sesame seeds.
- A diet
rich in fruit and veg will ensure you're getting plenty of antioxidants and
soya products to your diet (try switching your unhealthy pork and beef sausages
for tofu sausages).
plenty of still, plain water and nettle tea and reduce the amount of tea,
coffee and alcohol.
Can diet really make a difference?
Well, here's an interesting tale. Make of it what you will...
My sprightly 68 yr old dad, has had prostate problems for the
last few years. Recently, despite medication, it had been getting worse and
was really making his life miserable. So, he stopped taking the medication,
made another appointment to see his doc and began preparing himself for the
fact that he may need surgery.
But, within days of stopping the medication, his symptoms had
pretty much vanished. He excitedly rang me to tell me that he'd been to see
the doctor again and he had confirmed that his prostate no longer seemed enlarged.
What's more, Dad couldn't remember the last time he went to the loo ie. it was
hours rather than minutes ago.
I asked what else he'd been doing differently that might have
contributed to this seemingly miraculous outcome and he said, "Just little
changes to my diet."
It turns out, that since my mum and dad witnessed my healing
from UC, seeing me go from very poorly indeed to vital health in a matter of
months, they've started paying serious attention to what they eat. They've always
been pretty good mind you, eating plenty of fresh vegetables, many of them home
grown and next to no processed food. But now they have reduced their intake
of red meat to once or twice a month max and have swapped white rice for brown,
that kind of thing. They've cut right down on cups of tea too, drinking more
water instead and cheese is now a treat food rather than a staple or a snack
He's awaiting test results now which will tell us more about
what's going on, but I'm just happy that he's found relief and if he and my
mum keep eating like they are, I may have another 20 years with them. That would
be so cool.
For more information visit the Prostate Research Campaign
UK's website at www.Prostate-Research.org.uk or the American
Prostate Cancer Research Institute at www.prostate-cancer.org.
But for goodness sake, if you think you may have a problem
- get checked out by a medical professional!
Claire Raikes is a Health and Wellbeing Coach who 'cured' herself of a chronic, disabling and potentially life-threatening bowel condition without the use of steroids, surgery or any other traditional medical intervention. She shares her passion for natural health, diet, nutrition and weight control through her speaking, writing and coaching.
See how much healthier you could be; get your complimentary Wellbeing Checklist by visiting: LiveInEssence.com
To find other free health content see e-healtharticles.com