Thanks to increased awareness, more and more men today are becoming aware of the importance of keeping their prostate gland healthy. But beyond that, many are still unaware as to why it’s important, what issues they have to look out for, and what they can do. If this sounds like you, then you should know that it’s time to get caught up on your learning, especially if you’re 40 years of age or older.
Basically, your prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system (that’s right, women don’t have a prostate gland – although it has recently become possible to call a woman’s paraurethral glands, aka Skene’s glands, the female prostate). Your prostate is about the size of a walnut, and surrounds your urethra, sitting just below your urinary bladder. Your prostate grows quite a lot during puberty, and then doesn’t grow again until you’re about 40, when sometimes it grows too much. Most men aren’t bothered by this growth, while others may develop an enlarged prostate, prostatitis, or possibly even prostate cancer.
You may be at risk for prostate issues if:
- you are 40 years of age or older
- you are African American
- you have a family history of prostate issues
- you live in Western society
- you have a sedentary lifestyle
- you are taller than average
And for prostatitis specifically:
- you’ve recently had a bladder infection
- you’ve experienced a sexually transmitted disease
- you’ve had frequent, unprotected sex with multiple partners
- you drink alcohol excessively
- you eat a lot of spicy foods
- you’ve injured your lower pelvis (e.g. via athletic injury)
If you experience an enlarged prostate gland, aka benign prostatic hyperplasia, you will suffer from symptoms such as frequent urination, a need to push when urinating, and dribbling or leaking after urination. Since this condition is very common and treatable with men, see your doctor and get a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test to rule out cancer.
Taking care of your prostate to prevent cancer is very important, because although you can have surgery to remove the gland, this can affect your ability to urinate and can lead to a lot of discomfort and other issues, such as erectile dysfunction. Plus, other cancer treatment options such as radiation therapy can lead to other very unpleasant side effects.
Some ways of preventing prostate issues (including cancer) are:
- getting your prostate checked regularly after age 40
- seeing a holistic nutritionist and getting a healthy diet plan in place
- watching your weight through exercise like yoga
- quitting smoking
- limiting alcohol and caffeine
- drinking a lot of water
- having regular sex – ejaculation has been proven to be very effective in maintaining a healthy prostate
- getting acupuncture from a R.TCMP (Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner) – this can help you regulate your weight, help you quit smoking, and can even help with any urological or sexual issues you may be experiencing
Prostate health is not something most men want to think about, but it’s something we can’t ignore either. Take the plunge and start looking after your prostate – simple choices you can make today could help you live a much longer, problem-free life.