By Angela Success
Exercise, diet and regular emptying of the prostate gland help maintain good prostate health. Celibacy is a risk factor of prostate cancer and other prostate diseases.
The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive organ located under the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is responsible for the production of some the fluids which protects and nourishes the sperm cells in the semen. The prostate gland is as big as the walnut and weighs close to 20grams .Behind the prostate gland are seminal vesicles, they supply more fluid to the semen.
The hormone androgen controls the growth and the functions of the prostate gland by stimulating the production of testosterone. Testosterone the main hormone is produced by the testicles. The tube, Urethra which carries both the semen and urine out of the body through the penis runs through this very important gland.
Speaking on the function of the prostate gland, Dr Chinwe Ezirim said for the whole body to function well, all organs need to work in consonance with one another as created. As we eat we must also remove waste products generated during the process. The kidney is one of the cleansing organs of the body and it needs the urethra, the penis and the prostate gland to complete that function. The blood which we need to survive has to be filtered continuously by the kidney. Urine and other impurities are removed from the blood and stored temporarily in the urinary bladder. When the bladder is full it releases the urine through a pipe called the urethra which takes it out of the body through the penis. During sexual intercourse, seminal fluid moves down from the urethra and mixes with the sperm. This helps in the protection and mobility of the sperm, an important factor in conception. The seminal fluid lubricates the sperm making it easier for them to swim up the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg released by the ovary. All the activities involving the reproductive organs are controlled by the hormone androgen produced by the prostate gland.
“ When a man gets to the age of 40, the prostate gland starts enlarging. It may increase from the normal 20 grams to almost 100 grams thus putting pressure on the urethra. This invariably affects the urination process of the man. When a boy under ten years wants to urinate and targets a thing, it is most likely that the jet will hit the target, but if you ask his daddy to try same; his will most probably not get halfway.
She said the other symptoms of prostate enlargement or benign prostate hyperplasia are: Terminal dripping, hesitancy, nocturia and incomplete emptying.
This is a common sign of prostate enlargement. When after urinating a man notices that all the urine did not come out but continues to drip staining the pant after the repacking. It is actually what makes older men “ring their bells” after urinating. Younger men just send the showers out and work away. Another sign is hesitancy or delay in passing out urine.
This symptom keeps a man longer in the urinary as he waits to discharge urine which has filled his bladder but has been constrained by pressure from an enlarged gland or by a stone formed when the organs are not working optimally. He waits longer than others for the flow to come out and might still feel that all the urine did not come out leading to the next symptom, incomplete emptying.
When the bladder is traumatized, it slows down or packs up. When it slows down, it leaves a man feeling that it was not completely emptied after urination. The bladder at this point starts working harder to compensate for the obstruction in the urethra and this increases the pressure and the frequency of urination. It is speculated to be part of the reason why some men resort to urinating at every available corner of the street if conveniences are not close. It is at this point that Nocturia sets in.
This is the inability to sleep for up to the stipulated hours because of the pressure to urinate caused by an enlarged prostate. A man in this state wakes up several times at night just to urinate.
When the urine stored up in the bladder gets infected, it causes burning sensation during urination. Impurities in the stored up urine can also form crystals and stones which may further complicate matters by causing more obstruction in the urethra. This may lead to chronic urinary retention and it is at this point that the men start looking for solution.
The normal size of the bladder is between 40 – 60 cl. but an enlarged one can get to 300cl and will definitely be under a lot of pressure which can lead to wetting or urinary incontinence. Further increase in the volume of urine stored can lead to kidney damage.
Is Prostate enlargement avoidable? Ezirim said prostate enlargement is unavoidable but its’ management is the key to prevent further complications that may lead to cancer. The solution lies in life style and dietary changes. When combined, these will help the man above forty years maintain optimum prostate health.
According to the United States National Cancer Institute, 33% of all cancer cases are linked to diet. Continuous feasting on red meat and other animal products increase the chances of prostate disease. Consuming cow milk everyday actually doubles this risk. Failure to take fruits and vegetables daily guarantees a sure prostate challenge in life.
There are fruits, vegetables and other food rich in zinc that helps to maintain good prostate health. Zinc happens to be a very important mineral for male sexual functions and fertility. Men and women need zinc but the need for it is higher for the man as he loses 15mg every time he ejaculates. Seeds rich in zinc are: flax seed, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds. Cruciferous vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower also have zinc. Kidney beans, chick peas cashew nuts, mushrooms and Garlic also contains zinc.
Tomatoes are very good for men. They are filled with lycopene a natural antioxidant. Lycopene is present in pink grapefruit, pawpaw, guava, apricots and in watermelon. Watermelon seeds have loads of zinc. Green tea is another source of natural antioxidants which is good for prostate health. Pomegranates are one of the highest source of zinc as well as the Avocado pears. Berries are not left out of the race. Dates are quite available all year round in Nigeria and they also contain zinc. Dried dates are sold all over the country. Alcohol consumption should be reduced or totally eliminated for one with prostate challenges.
Exercising regularly at least once a week is very important. It helps build and maintain the muscles and organs of the body and that includes the reproductive organs. Every man should exercise. Once over 40years, high impact exercises should be monitored or totally avoided as they put pressure on the knees. Cycling is not good for the prostate but swimming, gardening and aerobics are safe. Brisk walking is recommended for people who do not have the time for other exercises. Men should make conscious effort in walking round if they have sedentary jobs. Sitting for long duration increases the risk of prostate challenges.
Tight trousers and underwear’s should be avoided as they impede circulation of air and blood around the groin. Men are advised to wear boxers, free flowing wears and breathable materials. Our grandparents used to tie wrappers that allowed free flow of air around the groin.
Sex apart from being pleasurable, is another form of exercise. Regular sex is recommended for good prostate health. Celibates are more likely to suffer from prostate illness than others. The prostate gland has to empty its contents regularly to remain healthy.
Routine annual digital rectal examination by a physician should be part of the medical checkup for all men above 40years. This will help monitor the inflammation level of the prostate gland so as to avoid further complication.