The prostate gland is an important part of the male sexual and reproductive system. Situated below the bladder and right in front of the rectum, it is about the size of an apricot and weighs around 30 grams. Its primary function is to produce prostatic fluid, which is a milky substance that makes up about one-third of ejaculated semen. Prostatic fluid is also key to the nourishment of sperm cells, keeping them alive and preserving the genetic code they hold.
What medical problems does the prostate usually encounter?
There are a number of conditions that can affect the prostate and severely impact a man’s sexual and reproductive function.
Prostate gland enlargement
> This is a disease characterized as an enlargement of the prostate gland. Also called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, it commonly affects older men and can be caused by hormone imbalance, a history of the disease in the family, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and poor lifestyle habits.
> If you have it, you may experience several different signs and symptoms, including an increased need to urinate, trouble starting urination, not being able to totally empty the bladder when urinating, and a weak stream of urine. In some cases, more serious symptoms, such as blood in the urine and urinary tract infections, may also occur.
> If not diagnosed and treated at the earliest opportunity, the problem may lead to severe complications, such as urinary retention, bladder damage, bladder stones, urinary tract infections, and kidney damage.
> To diagnose prostate gland enlargement, your doctor may perform a series of tests, including urine test, blood test, digital rectal exam, prostate-specific antigen blood test, urinary flow test, postvoid residual volume test, transrectal ultrasound, prostate biopsy, and cystoscopy.
> Usually, treating an enlarged prostate requires taking medication, such as alpha blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. Sometimes, depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may suggest surgery, laser therapy, or others.
> This type of cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in men. It usually grows at a slow pace and can be easily treated if detected early. However, it can also be aggressive and spread fast, making it hard to treat.
> Up to this day, medical professionals are still trying to find out what causes prostate cancer. All they know is that this disease occurs when some of your prostate cells start exhibiting abnormalities and mutations.
> While no man is safe from prostate cancer, there are certain risk factors that make others more likely to get it, such as old age, family history, and obesity. If you have it, you may not manifest any signs and symptoms at all. But, once cancer progresses to an advanced stage, you may experience difficulty urinating, blood traces in your semen, weak stream of urine, pain and discomfort in the pelvic region, bone pain, and erectile dysfunction.
> To diagnose prostate cancer, your doctor may perform a number of tests, such as a digital rectal exam, prostate-specific antigen test, ultrasound, MRI fusion, prostate biopsy test, CT scan, and PET scan. And to treat it, your doctor may recommend certain treatment solutions, such as surgery to remove your prostate, radiation therapy to kill the cancer cells, hormone therapy to stop the cancer cells from growing, or chemotherapy to kill cancer cells.
What foods can help boost your prostate health?
You can take good care of your prostate by eating healthy. Below are examples of prostate-friendly foods that you should include in your regular diet starting today:
Salmon is a healthy fish that contains the good kind of fats. It is also overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent inflammation and other diseases. In one study, researchers found that men with prostate cancer who ate salmon and other fatty fish instead of animal fat sources showed a reduced risk of death due to prostate cancer.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of antioxidants, most notably one that is called lycopene, which is very powerful and has cancer-fighting abilities. Various studies have found that eating tomatoes every day, whether raw or cooked, can lower the risk of prostate cancer, and reduce tumor growth in men with prostate cancer.
Broccoli is a nutrient-dense vegetable that offers plenty of health benefits, whether eaten steamed, stir-fried, or as an ingredient in salads or soups. According to certain research studies, broccoli contains many essential compounds, such as sulforaphane, which has the ability to spot cancer cells and kill them.
Berries contain high concentrations of antioxidants, which neutralize and get rid of free radicals from your body. Whether strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries, they can protect you against cancer and other diseases, and build up and strengthen your immunity.
Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and peanuts, are loaded with phytoestrogens, which are natural plant compounds that may help in fighting off cancer. In a preliminary research, researchers found a link between legumes consumption and prostate risk. According to their findings, eating more legumes lowered the risk of prostate cancer, especially if consumed with other foods with cancer-fighting properties.
Green tea is a popular beverage in many parts of the world. It has a long history in various parts of Asia and is an essential part of their everyday diet. According to data, prostate cancer rates in Asia are much lower than prostate cancer rates in the United States and other parts of the world, and health professionals think that the compounds found in green tea, such as catechin, epicatechin, xanthine derivatives, and epigallocatechin-3-gallate, can help lower the risk of prostate cancer. There was a study that found that men who drank at least five cups of green tea a day showed a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
What other lifestyle habits and practices should you make for the good of your prostate?
In addition to eating a healthy and balanced diet, you should also do the following for optimal prostate health:
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of prostate problems. It also is bad for your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, making you very likely to suffer from heart disease, kidney damage, and other health problems.
Studies have found that regular exercise can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. If you are physically active, you can also improve your strength, stamina, and endurance, boost your energy levels, and improve the brain, heart, lungs, and other vital organ functions.