We hear much about the male prostate and the health issues that develop as men head along the path of life. So what is the prostate and where is it located?
The prostate is technically part of the male sex organs; a gland that’s main function is to produce a fluid that enriches and bulks up sperm to become semen, a protein called prostate specific antigen (PSA). It’s an exocrine gland and is made up of thousands of tiny fluid producing glands, similar to sweat glands.
The prostate gland is located between the pubic bone and rectum; adjacent to the underside of the bladder and surrounds the urethra, through which urine passes from the bladder to the tip of the penis. A young man’s prostate gland is approximately the size of a walnut and is doughnut shaped and remains this size and shape until approximately the age of 40; as we age through our 50’s and beyond it expands and may adopt a more irregular shape, as the urethra passes through the prostate and the prostate is adjacent to the bladder; this swelling of the prostate may squeeze the urethra restricting urine flow from the bladder to the penis. This is why older men tend to require more frequent trips to the toilet; the urine flow may also be reduced and it may become more difficult to drain the bladder completely, resulting in a feeling of a less than satisfactory trip to the toilet.
We are very accepting of the aging process, but just like we need to maintain our cars we need to maintain our body’s, to promote good health and quality of life; the prostate is no exception.
Diet can play a significant role promoting prostate health; a diet that contains natural lycopene foods, such as tomato, tomato concentrates and paste, vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, also fruits like watermelon and raspberries.
Selenium is a trace element that is very important for general good health and is a powerful anti-oxidant that mitigates the damaging effects of free radicals that accelerate the aging process; a good source of selenium is in Brazil nuts (1 per day) or walnuts. Selenium is so important to support general good health especially for blood vessels.
Research indicates that Vitamin D levels reduce cancer risks and may play a significant part in promoting prostate health. Vitamin D has many other health promoting benefits.
Vitamin D levels can be maintained by spending 15-30 minutes a day outside enjoying the sunlight and fresh air; mowing the lawns, doing the garden or walking the dog.
Research indicates a glass of red wine may reduce the risks by as much as 50%; benefits come from the resveratrol in red wine and another source is peanuts.
Omega3 is also recommended; this can be in capsule form or fresh fish.
The prostate is no different to most other body parts, nature has equipped us with it for a reason and it appears like most other body parts, regular use promotes health. So males who lead a sexually active life may prolong prostate health, temper this with the fact that multiple partners and unprotected sex, STD’s etc. will have the reverse effect. The prostate like other sex organs are very susceptible to infection and disease.
Regular check-ups to monitor prostate health from the age of 50 onwards at regular intervals, depending on family history, is widely accepted as a way of improving early detection of prostate health issues. Indicators of poor prostate health include; sudden urges to urinate, waking frequently in the night to urinate, difficulty starting to urinate, reduced urine flows, painful to urinate, painful ejaculation, blood in semen or urine, reduced sex drive, reduced ability to get or maintain an erection.
Remember regular check-ups; leave your dignity in the waiting room, pick it up on the way out. Our wives do this on a regular basis during pregnancy, birth and smear tests. Front up boys (back up, for the check-up).