by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
Are you concerned about your prostate health? Are you or someone you care about struggling with frequent urinary urges, erectile dysfunction, and pain? In this article, we’ll discuss the common diseases that affect the prostate and the natural treatments you can use to treat it.
What is a Prostate Gland?
Your prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland surrounding your urethra, a tube where both urine and semen is released. The word prostate comes from a Greek word meaning to “stand before” or “protect”. Perhaps this is because the hormones and proteins released by the prostate gland protect the sperm from the acidity of a woman’s vagina. This protection ensures that more healthy viable sperm are available to reach and fertilize a woman’s egg.
The prostate gland begins its maturation during puberty and stops when a man has reached full sexual maturity. Until he reaches mid-life, there is little change in this gland. At around 40 years of age, the prostate once again begins to grow. For fifty percent of men, this new growth is imperceptible but for the other half of the maturing male population, the growth can cause serious discomfort and illness.
Common Conditions Your Prostate is Prone To:
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH is the medical term for enlargement of the prostate. Common symptoms of BPH include urinary frequency, inability to completely empty the bladder, getting up frequently to urinate in the night and difficulty starting urine stream.
Prostatitis is a painful inflammatory condition that can be caused by urinary tract infection or other bacterial infection (though some causes are non-infective). There are different types of prostatitis. Let’s look at them in a little closer detail:
- Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
Acute bacterial prostatitis occurs in approximately 5% of male urological cases and first presents as a urinary tract infection. This type of prostatitis commonly occurs in younger men with depressed immune systems and those with elevated BPH or bladder obstruction. Symptoms include pain around the base of the penis and anus as well as chills, fever, and flushing of the skin. It can also contribute to sexual dysfunction.
- Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis
The symptoms of chronic prostatitis are similar to that of acute, only the symptoms are less severe and manifest over a slower period of time. Some men with chronic prostatitis may notice enlarged prostate symptoms such as urinary hesitancy, weak stream, and urinary frequency. Other symptoms of chronic prostatitis include low back pain, pelvic pain, low-grade fever, testicular pain, sexual dysfunction and pain with ejaculation.
- Non-Bacterial Prostatitis
Non-bacterial prostatitis has much the same symptoms as chronic prostatitis but is it not caused by a bacterial infection. It is believed that non-bacterial prostatitis might be caused by depressed immune system, emotional stress, prostate injury, chemicals or viruses.
Prostatitis Risk Factors
There are certain risk factors that can increase a man’s chance of developing this painful inflammatory condition including:
- Age over 30
- Injury to the perineum
- Anal sex without a condom
- Sex with multiple partners
- Depressed immune system
- Excessive alcohol intake
Natural Treatments for Prostatitis
As with any type of inflammatory or autoimmune condition, diet can be a healing factor. If you eat processed foods, remove them from your diet and switch to whole foods such as organic vegetables and fruit, lean meats and wild-caught fish, non-gluten grains, nuts, and seeds. Also, drink plenty of pure fresh water and anti-inflammatory teas such as green and white tea.
Prostate Drainage Method
Popularized in the Philippines, this method has helped many men relieve the pain and discomfort of any type of prostatitis. Using a thoroughly washed and gently lubricated finger, insert into the rectum several times daily to relieve pressure.
These supplements have natural anti-inflammatory properties and can heal your body from the inside out:
- Vitamin C – 500 to 1,000 milligrams daily
- Krill Oil – 500 to 1,000 milligrams daily
- Vitamin E – 400 IUs daily
- Probiotics – 10 to 30 billion CFUs daily
- Zinc – 30 milligrams daily
- Prostate Cancer
After heart disease, prostate cancer is a leading cause of death for men over the age of 60. It is estimated that 1 in every 6 men will be diagnosed with the disease in his lifetime. In the beginning stages, prostate cancer has no outward signs. It is commonly detected through routine PSA screening and rectal examinations. If the cancer spreads, symptoms will include back or pelvic pain, fatigue, and sudden weight loss. When it comes to cancer, prevention and early detection is key.
Getting a PSA Test
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein made exclusively by the prostate gland. The blood PSA level of a healthy man is 4 nanograms per milliliter (4 ng/mL). The higher a man’s PSA level, the greater the chance he has prostate cancer. However, this is not always the case. Elevated PSA levels can also be caused by prostatitis, BPH, and sexual activity. Because of this, it is advisable a man does not have sexual intercourse for at least a few hours before a blood PSA test.
If you’re concerned you might have prostate cancer and are unable to visit your doctor because of costs or insurance issues, you can do a PSA blood test in the privacy of your home. Direct Labs offers a non-fasting PSA test with results in as little as 1-2 business days.
Natural Remedies for Urinary Urgency/Nocturia
In addition to eating a diet free of processed foods, there are a few specific foods men can eat to decrease urinary frequency and shrink an inflamed prostate. These include:
- Pumpkin Seeds – High in zinc, pumpkin seeds can act as a natural diuretic and help decrease those irritating nightly urges to use the bathroom.
- Tomatoes – A rich source of lycopene, tomatoes can help shrink the prostate naturally so load up on salsa, ketchup, and sun-dried tomatoes.
- Garlic and Onions – Garlic and onions both act as natural inflammatories and boost your immune system.
- Soy – According to published studies, the isoflavones found in soy products can reduce man’s risk of prostate cancer up to 70%. Beware however; too much soy consumption can lead to breast development and erectile dysfunction.
Both stinging nettle and saw palmetto have been shown to reduce inflammation and decrease frequent and unsuccessful urination.
My patients have had great success with a men’s prostate supplement I recommend called Diamond Nutritional’s Prostate Formula. It contains a synergistic blend of ingredients including nettle, saw palmetto, zinc, copper, selenium, and pygeum bark designed to work naturally with your body to treat inflammation and ease frustrating and painful symptoms.
No matter how difficult your prostate problem, there’s always a way to heal it. Once you get back to a healthier diet and introduce a few supplements into your life, you’ll begin to notice you feel like your old self again. Don’t give up. A healthier you is just around the corner!