Prostate health is an important element of your wellbeing. The prostate keeps the male reproductive system well-nourished, and it helps keep urinary and sex organs working properly.
Unfortunately, maintaining a healthy prostate can be a challenge. Prostate conditions are not uncommon.
Studies suggest up to 8.2% of men struggle with chronic prostatitis. Chronic prostatitis typically stems from recurring bacterial urinary tract infections. Inflammation, pain, and trouble urinating make this issue urgent to address.
Prostate cancer is another danger to stay aware of. In the United States, roughly 13% of men get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death for American men.
Fortunately, the news isn’t all bad. There’s a lot you can do to prevent prostate issues, catch them early on, and treat conditions effectively before they disrupt your life.
Learn how to prevent, test for, and treat prostate conditions right here in Tempe, AZ.
Healthy Prostate: Overview
The prostate is a golf-ball-sized, internal gland. When healthy, the prostate weighs about 15g to 30g. It’s positioned between the bladder and the penis.
The urethra runs right through the prostate as it carries urine out of the penis. The prostate gland’s main function is to nourish sperm. It pushes nutrient fluid into the urethra during ejaculation.
Zones and Position
Medical scientists divide the prostate into four zones. Recognizing these zones helped researchers track the impact of aging and the spread of disease within the gland. The prostate’s zones include:
- Peripheral zone
- Central zone
- Transition zone
- Anterior fibromuscular stroma
Each zone has a slightly different, related function. The peripheral zone is the part of the prostate that runs the greatest risk for cancer.
On average, the prostate surface is slightly less than two inches distant from the rectum surface. But, the exact distance and position can vary.
It’s important for physicians to keep the potential for variation in mind when they perform digital prostate tests. These tests are a useful tool to prevent serious prostate conditions, like cancer.
How to Prevent Prostate Issues
Your prostate is part of your reproductive system, but your whole body can affect the gland’s health. That’s why making smart diet, exercise, sleep, and sexual choices can keep your prostate healthier, longer.
Here’s what we know about how to prevent prostate conditions.
Sleep Through The Night
According to research from the Harvard School of Public Health, a good night’s sleep is correlated with prostate health.
Studies show that men who sleep through the night without disruption have higher levels of melatonin—the “sleep hormone”—in their urine. These men are 75% less likely to develop prostate cancer than men with less melatonin.
Researchers want to conduct more studies to determine the nature of this link.
It may be that melatonin directly prevents cancer. But, it’s also possible that underlying factors increase melatonin and decrease cancer risks. Either way, it’s smart to prioritize getting a good night’s sleep to stay healthy.
Enjoy Your Sex Life, Safely
Sexual pleasure can help men protect their prostates’ health, and prevent prostate conditions.
According to a 2004 study, men who ejaculate 21 times or more each month decrease their risk of prostate cancer. In fact, ejaculating at this frequency reduces a man’s prostate cancer risk by 33%.
Moreover, the average man can reduce his prostate cancer risk by 15% by ejaculating just three more times each week.
That said, it’s important to stay safe while you have sex. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause prostatitis. Prostatitis is an irritating urinary infection, and, at worst, it can become chronic.
The best way to prevent STIs is to use a condom during sex. You can also focus on sexual acts that are much less likely to transmit an STD, like those using hands or toys.
Make sure to keep up good hygiene practices. Washing your hands and genitals regularly is an important measure against infections.
Eat 5 Nutrient-Rich, Well-Portioned Meals Per Day
A good diet is one key to maintaining prostate health. Dieticians recommend patients eat five nutrient-rich, right-size meals each day. Each meal should include fruits and vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetables are particularly good at preventing prostate cancer. It’s also a good idea to make sure foods high in zinc and omega-3 fatty acids are in your diet.
All that said, the best cancer-prevention diet will be tailored to you.
Cut Back on Salt and Sweeteners
Another food prescription is to reduce the amount of salt and sweeteners in your diet. Salt, processed sugar, and artificial sweeteners are linked to obesity, diabetes, and periodontal disease (tooth loss).
All three of those conditions have a negative impact on prostate health.
Diabetes increases the mortality risk of a patient with prostate cancer. In fact, prostate cancer patients who have diabetes face a 30% higher risk of death than non-diabetic prostate cancer patients.
Multiple studies have demonstrated a link between gum diseases and tooth loss, and an increased risk of prostate cancer. An analysis of these studies explores this link in detail.
Some research shows periodontal disease increases a patient’s risk of prostate cancer by 14%. Studies also demonstrate periodontal treatments and interventions decrease this risk.
This suggests oral bacteria that feed on sugar contribute to prostate disease risk.
In addition to cutting back on sugars, make sure to keep up with your oral hygiene. Brush your teeth two to three times per day, and floss at least once per day.
Exercise For 3+ Hours Each Week
Exercise is a great way to prevent prostate cancer. Physicians recommend exercising for at least three hours per week.
That said, the more exercise, the better. Work with an expert to create an exercise regimen tailored to your body.
Check For Enlarged Prostate Annually
A healthy prostate weighs 15-30g, and it’s about the size of a walnut. Enlargement is an early warning sign that the prostate may be getting unhealthy.
Enlarged prostates can grow to the size of a tennis ball—or even a softball. Case studies show patients whose prostates grew to weigh over 500g due to giant prostatic hyperplasia (GPH).
Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer both cause the prostate to enlarge. It’s important to recognize when a prostate is growing, even if the cause is ultimately benign.
Even benign prostate enlargement can cause prostate health problems. BPH and GPH increase a patient’s risk of developing chronic UTIs.
The Cleveland Clinic recommends male patients check for an enlarged prostate every year after age 55. Men who face a higher risk of prostate cancer should get annual prostate screenings started by age 45. To check for an enlarged prostate, a physician will perform one or more of the following tests:
- Digital rectal exam (DRE)
- Urinary analysis
- Blood test
- Prostate-specific antigen test (PSA)
Prostate testing is relatively non-invasive. If something seems unusual, the physician may order a rectal ultrasound, prostate biopsy, or MRI to determine if a patient has cancer.
Alpha-Blockers vs. 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors
Patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) may take prescription medications. The two commonly prescribed medications are alpha-blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors.
These medications can improve an enlarged prostate by reducing the patient’s risk of urinary tract infections. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors can shrink the prostate. Some alpha-blockers can prevent prostate cancer cells.
These medications aren’t appropriate for all patients. It’s important to talk to your doctor to learn if it’s the right choice for you.
Prostate Symptoms: Warning Signs for Infection, Cancer
The best early warning sign for prostate cancer are the results of a PSA screening. PSAs are more likely to indicate potential prostate cancer than the results of a digital rectal exam.
Prostate cancer doesn’t always have notable prostate problems or symptoms in its earliest stages. Symptoms that might indicate prostate cancer include:
- Loss of bladder control
- Blood in semen or urine
- Erectile dysfunction
- Bone pain (spine compression)
- Difficulting urinating (start and stop)
- Painful urination
Prostate infection symptoms are usually easier to spot. Prostatitis and BPH typically have early warning signs. If you observe any of the following symptoms, it’s wise to contact your doctor right away:
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Frequent, urgent need to urinate
- Pain in any part of, or throughout, the urinary and reproductive system
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Pain when ejaculating
Acute prostatitis and chronic prostatitis are the most common variants. More rarely, prostatitis can be asymptomatic.
How to Get Your Prostate Tested in Tempe, AZ
To get your prostate tested in Tempe, AZ, contact a physician, urologist, men’s health clinic, or wellness center. The physicians here at Desert Wellness are licensed to provide naturopath and integrative medicine services.
Prostate healthcare is part of healthy aging. A functional medicine specialist can focus on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment without losing sight of your whole self.
Physicians can diagnose your condition with top-of-the-line tests. We will also coordinate care with a patient’s urologist or oncologists, so you have a whole team of specialists on your side.
Health For Your Whole Self
Maintaining a healthy prostate can be a challenge. But, it’s not a challenge you’ll have to meet alone.
At the Desert Wellness Center, we get the information you truly need to take care of your health—whether that’s through a prostate exam, cancer screening, or other tests.
We also know you and your body are unique.
That’s why we never press cookie-cutter solutions on patients. Instead, we empower you to look through all the options and put together a treatment plan that best meets your needs.
Healthcare doesn’t need to be complicated. Contact us, and our specialists can give you a free, 15-minute consultation. Start your journey to a healthier future, today.