The Prostate Gland In A Nutshell
What’s it all about then?
The prostate gland, a small but significant part of the male reproductive system. Even though we may hear about it, it’s common for us not to really know what it is and does and why it can be problematic.
What does the prostate gland do?
This walnut-sized gland sits between the crown jewels and the anus. It serves an essential role in male reproductive health, producing prostatic fluid, a component of semen that nourishes and protects sperm.
During ejaculation, this fluid mixes with sperm from the testes and seminal vesicles, facilitating their journey through the reproductive tract.
What can go wrong?
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): This is the non-serious, non-cancerous condition characterised by the enlargement of the prostate gland, which can lead to urinary difficulties. Symptoms of BPH include;
- frequent urination,
- weak urine flow, and
- a constant feeling of a full bladder.
While BPH is not life-threatening, it can significantly affect a man’s quality of life. It often happens around 50 years old and up, so something for the gents to look forward to.
2. Prostatitis: Kind of semi serious, prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate gland, which can cause; pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen, genital area, or lower back. It’s often caused by a bacterial infection, in this case the symptoms will develop quickly. Often thereafter you can be vulnerable to further inflammatory attacks. It can be really debilitating, particularly if left untreated but not as bad as….
3. Prostate Cancer: The serious one, and one of the most common cancers in men. It often begins without noticeable symptoms, or the symptoms will mimic those of BPH & prostatitis. So, it’s crucial to get an early detection through regular screenings. When symptoms do manifest, they may include;
- difficulty urinating,
- blood in the urine,
- pain in the pelvis, or
- erectile dysfunction.
If detected early, prostate cancer is highly treatable. So if any of these symptoms are present, get checked out pronto!
So that’s the nuts and bolts of it, no pun intended.
But now let’s talk about how we can look after our prostate and try and keep it out of trouble. A common thread through my blogs is to try and encourage good circulation and reduce things that might cause inflammation. This isn’t just for our prostate but these little tips will help the little guy keep healthy.
- Water is your friend: Staying hydrated isn’t just good for your skin; it’s vital for your prostate too. Drinking enough water can help flush out toxins and keep your prostate happy.
- Diet matters: Load up on fruits and veggies. Real food will contain a good source of fibre and antioxidants. Tomatoes are prostate superheroes – they contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.
- Move that body: Regular exercise isn’t just for weight management. It also improves blood flow and reduces the risk of prostate problems. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
- Don’t skip the check-up: Don’t be shy about talking to your doctor. Regular check-ups are essential for early detection and prevention of prostate issues, including cancer. These days a simple blood test is all that is needed initially, not necessarily any scary examinations.
- Limit fatty red meat and, more importantly processed foods: While the occasional burger won’t hurt, it’s a good idea to cut back on junk. High consumption has been linked to prostate cancer.
- Watch the sugar: Sugary drinks and excessive sweets aren’t just bad for your waistline, they can lead to inflammatory issues, which could contribute to prostate trouble.
- Limit Alcohol: Enjoy a drink or two, but excessive alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on your prostate. So, keep it in moderation… most of the time.