At Living Wellness Medical Center, we’re proud to offer highly trained Naturopathic doctors who are experienced in treating both men and women. We also understand men’s health issues and concerns, especially as you age.
If you have concerns about your prostate health, schedule a free 10-minute consultation with one of our doctors to find out how we can help you by clicking here or calling 480-588-6856.
What is the prostate and what does it do?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis. The prostate is just in front of the rectum, this is why a digital rectal exam is the best way for your doctor to palpate the size of your prostate during your annual health check. The urethra runs through the center of the prostate, from the bladder to the penis, letting urine flow out of the body. This is why you may have difficulty with urination if you have an enlarged prostate.
The prostate secretes fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. During ejaculation, the prostate squeezes this fluid into the urethra, and it’s expelled with sperm as semen.
What are the most common prostate health conditions?
BPH (Benign prostatic hypertrophy)
BPH is the most common prostate condition that affects most men over the age of 50.
The most common symptoms of BPH are:
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia)
- Difficulty starting urination
- Weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Inability to completely empty the bladder
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate, sometimes caused by infection.
The most common symptoms prostatitis are:
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating
- Difficulty urinating, such as dribbling or hesitant urination
- Frequent urination, particularly at night (nocturia)
- Urgent need to urinate
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in the urine
- Pain in the abdomen, groin or lower back
- Pain in the area between the scrotum and rectum (perineum)
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men (besides skin cancer), but only one in 41 men die from prostate cancer. Surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy in conjunction with naturopathic treatments as desired can be used to treat prostate cancer. Some men choose to delay treatment, which is called watchful waiting. It’s important to consult with a prostate cancer expert to be appropriately monitored.
What are the most common prostate tests?
- Digital rectal examination (DRE): A doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and feels the prostate. A DRE can sometimes detect an enlarged prostate, lumps or nodules of prostate cancer or tenderness from prostatitis.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA): The prostate makes a protein called PSA, which can be measured by a blood test. If PSA is high, prostate cancer is more likely, but an enlarged prostate or prostatitis can also cause an elevated PSA. Recommendations about whether or not a man should be screened and at what age differ depending on your risk factors. It’s important to talk with your doctor about whether you need testing and the potential benefits and risks.
- Prostate ultrasound (transrectal ultrasound): An ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum, bringing it close to the prostate. Ultrasound can be used as a diagnostic tool to evaluate a prostate condition, and it is typically done with a biopsy to test for prostate cancer.
- Prostate biopsy: A needle is inserted into the prostate to take tissue out to check for prostate cancer.
Tips for optimal prostate health:
- Eat a healthy plant-based diet that limits red meat, sugar, and alcohol. Fruits and vegetables contain vital nutrients that are important in prostate health.
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight: Studies have shown that being overweight or obese increases prostate cancer mortality.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise helps to keep hormone levels balanced and boosts your immune system.
- Maintain optimal levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D has been shown to have anti-cancer benefits in the body. Vitamin D levels can be easily monitored by blood tests ordered by your doctor. We get vitamin D from adequate exposure to the sun (without sunscreen) and from wild caught, fatty fish like salmon.
- Visit your doctor yearly for a prostate health checkup. The general recommendation is a PSA blood test and digital rectal exam annually, beginning at age 50. Men at high risk, such as African American men or men with a strong family history of prostate cancer (especially father or brother) should begin testing at age 45.
6 Superfoods for Prostate Health:
- Berries: strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Antioxidants play an essential role in the body as they prevent damage from free radicals, molecules that attack healthy cells and can contribute to cancer risk. Vitamin C may also help ease benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) symptoms by promoting urination and reducing swelling.
- Fatty fish: Although experts typically recommend cutting down on animal fat for prostate health, a diet high in omega-3s can help boost prostate health, likely because of their anti-inflammatory effects. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish like salmon, sardines, lake trout, and herring, may actually help lower prostate cancer risk.
- Nuts: Healthy fats like those found in nuts can help support your prostate. Brazil nuts are a good source of vital nutrients like vitamin E and calcium, but they’re also full of the mineral selenium. A 2010 study suggests that selenium along with soy may help fight prostate cancer.
- Beans: Beans, chia, and hemp seeds are full of protein, other vital nutrients, and fiber, which all help support prostate health.
- Green Tea: In addition to other health benefits research suggests that green tea can help protect against prostate cancer.
- Watermelon: It is high in vitamins A and C but is also an excellent source of lycopene, the antioxidant that gives whole foods like tomatoes and watermelons their red color. Research suggests that lycopene may help lower prostate cancer risk. Lycopene can be found in foods like tomatoes, apricots, pink grapefruit, guava, and papaya.