The prostate gland is a small gland only found in men. It is a small walnut sized organ located at the base of the urethra and plays a vital role in the male reproductive system. It opens into the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis) and is placed just below the bladder and vas deferens (a pair of ducts through which sperm passes before ejaculation).
The prostate assists in the manufacture of semen, which carries sperm from testicles through the penis.
The function of the prostate is to secrete a slightly alkaline fluid, milky or white in appearance that usually constitutes 50–75% of the volume of the semen along with spermatozoa and seminal vesicle fluid.
Semen is made alkaline overall with the secretions from the other contributing glands, including the seminal vesicle fluid. The alkalinity of semen helps neutralise the acidity of the vaginal tract, prolonging the lifespan of sperm. The prostatic fluid is expelled in the first ejaculate fractions, together with most of the spermatozoa.
Prostate problems are very common in men above age of 50. Common problems are:
- Prostate enlargement (Benign Prostatic hyperplasia) The most common condition of the prostate is enlargement of prostate. Occurring commonly in elderly males, it starts off with dripping of urine. When the prostate grows large, it blocks the urethra and makes urination difficult and painful. Later there is continued hesitancy and urgency when going to the washroom. About a third of all men over 50 years of age will have symptoms of prostate enlargement, which
- makes it difficult to start urinating
- weakens the flow of urine or causes stopping and starting
- causes strain while passing urine
- causes to urinate more frequently, and
- wakes up frequently during the night to urinate
- Prostatitis Prostatitis is a condition where the prostate gland becomes inflamed (red and swollen). Inflammation often occurs as a response to infection, but in most cases of prostatitis no evidence of infection can be found. Prostatitis is thought to affect up to 3 in 20 men (15%) at some point in their lives. Although it can affect men of any age, it is more common in men between 30-50 years of age. Symptoms of prostatitis include:
- pelvic pain
- testicular pain
- pain when urinating (this is less common and more likely with a urinary tract infection)
- pain when ejaculating semen
- pain in the perineum (the area between the anus and back of the scrotum),
which is often worse when sitting, particularly on hard chairs and bicycle seats
- Prostate cancer Prostate cancer is common in men over 50, especially in men who eat fatty food and/or have a father or brother with prostate cancer. The symptoms of prostate cancer are similar to those of prostate enlargement and include:
- needing to rush to the toilet and
- feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
Causes (Prostate Problems)
- Family history
- Advancing age.
- Race – American and Australian men are at higher risk than Asian men.
- having a urinary tract or bladder infection
- injuries to the pelvis
- a past episode of prostatitis
- unprotected sexual intercourse
- being catheterised (having a tube inserted into the urethra to drain urine)
- Infection with HIV
Symptoms and Warning Signs
Prostate diseases cause symptoms related to:
- obstruction (weak or interrupted urine stream, slow start, feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder)
- Irritation (frequency, urgency, going to the bathroom at night).
- frequent urination
- sudden need to urinate (urgency)
- difficulty starting to urinate
- urinary incontinence (inability to get to the bathroom in time)
- dribbling after you finish urinating
- straining to urinate or trying to force the urine out
- pain while you urinate
- blood in the urine
- A weak stream of urine
Frequent ejaculation, whether it happens during sexual intercourse, masturbation or a dream helps protect the prostate. Previous studies have linked frequent sexual activity to a higher risk of prostate cancer or enlargement Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) but this new, large study found ejaculation frequency was not associated with prostate problems except in the highest category. Men who ejaculated most often actually had a 33% lower lifetime risk of prostate cancer and this relationship grew stronger as men grew older. However, if a person suffers from prostate problems, he should avoid sexual excess, irregularities in eating and drinking, long periods of sitting and vigorous exercise.
The following cleanses and exercises improve overall prostate health, especially in case of prostate enlargement
- Corn Silk Corn silk is a time-tested remedy to fight off symptoms of prostate enlargement. It acts as a natural diuretic and even helps relax the urinary muscles and lining. This leads to improved urine flow.
- Put the 500 gms of fesh or 50 gms of dried corn silk in a litre of water.
- Bring it to a boil, then simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Strain and drink up to 3 to 4 glasses of this corn silk tea a day.
(For complete details see Kidney Cleanse)
- Stinging Nettle Stinging nettle can also lessen BPH symptoms. The root contains essential bioactive phytochemicals that help shrink prostate tissue. Being a natural diuretic, it also encourages the elimination of inflammatory wastes through urination.
- Add 1 teaspoon of dried nettle leaves to a cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain it. Drink this tea 2 or 3 times daily.
- You can also take a stinging nettle supplement. The usual amount is 300 mg daily. Always consult a doctor before taking a supplement for the correct dosage for your condition.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar has astringent properties that help shrink swollen prostate glands. It also aids weight loss and helps prevent complications of enlarged prostate like UTIs.
- Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm water. Drink it twice daily.
- Another option is to add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to a bathtub of water and soak in it for 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy this soothing bath a few times a week.
- Pumpkin Seeds Pumpkin seeds also help an enlarged prostate shrink in size. The seeds contain diuretic properties that help urine flow. They are also high in zinc. Men with enlarged prostate usually have a zinc deficiency. In addition, the seeds have omega-3 fatty acids that aid prostate functioning.
Take a handful of pumpkin seeds. Eat them plain without adding any salt.
- Kegel Exercises
Kegel or pelvic-strengthening exercises can help ease the discomforts of enlarged prostate as they help tighten and clench specific pelvic muscles to help control urination.
Regularly perform kegel exercises throughout the day. You can do them after waking up in the morning, at lunchtime, in the evening and before going to bed. Target your pelvic muscles only and avoid tightening the muscles in your stomach, buttocks or thighs. If you are having difficulty locating the pelvic muscles, get help from an expert.
Empty your bladder and lie on the floor with your knees bent and apart. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles for 5 seconds, then relax them for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 to 20 times, 3 or 4 times each day. Pelvic floor muscles are the muscles you use to stop your urine flow.
Another option is to squeeze the muscles in your anus, then relax your pelvic floor muscles. Do it 10 to 20 times, a 2-3 times a day. Note: Men who suffer from chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome must avoid doing kegel exercises.
- Sitz Bath A contrast sitz bath is a soothing and effective remedy for enlarged prostate. The hot bath will help relax the pelvic muscles, reduce swelling and promote healing. On the other hand, the cold bath will ease pain.
- Fill one bathtub with warm water and add 1⁄2 cup of Epsom salt to it.
- Fill another bathtub with cold water and add a few drops of lavender essential oil to it.
- First, sit in the bathtub with hot water up to your waist for three minutes.
- Next, sit in the bathtub with cold water up to your waist for one minute.
- Do this two more times. The last bath should always be in the cool water.
- Enjoy a sitz bath a few times each week.
Note: Do not follow this remedy if you have acute bacterial prostatitis.
Prostate Friendly Foods
Strive to eat following prostate-friendly foods for three days and then continue to incorporate these foods into your regular diet.
Fruits and Vegetables:
Eat grapes (especially red grapes), green tomatoes and dark, leafy green vegetables. These foods help prevent the development of an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer. Add some cauliflower, another prostate-cancer inhibitor, to your diet too.
Vitamin C rich Foods: For good prostate health, include plenty of oranges, lemons, grapefruits and strawberries in your diet. Potatoes, red peppers, mangoes, broccoli, pineapple and cantaloupe are all rich in vitamin C.
Vitamin D rich dairy products: Vitamin D may help lower your risk of developing prostate cancer, so drink plenty of vitamin D-enriched milk. Make sure to include plenty of dairy foods into your diet.
Folate rich foods: Folate may also contribute to prostate health, so eat plenty of spinach, asparagus and black-eyed peas.
Fish: Fish, high in cancer-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, is great for the prostate particularly cold-water fish such as mackerel (Bangada) and trout. The healthy fats found in fish such as salmon (Rawas), swordfish (TegaMachali) and tilapia (Jilapi) are good not only for your prostate but also for your heart.
Flaxseed oil: Flaxseed oil, helps naturally balance the hormones in the prostate. Add one table spoon flaxseed to a glass of orange juice or any other drink once a day.
Palmetto: Palmetto, a natural antiseptic and astringent known for combating pain and inflammation, is very effective in treatment of enlargement in the prostate. Saw palmetto naturally shrinks any inflamed tissue in the urinary system and helps rid the body of toxins and irritants through regular, healthy urine flow.
- Better urinary start, force and volume
- Normalised urinary frequency
- Sleep with less interruption
- Rejuvenate sex life
- Shrink the prostate to normal size