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Prostate Health

BPH -  is caused by an increase of non-cancerous cells in the prostate resulting in a constriction of the urinary tract which can affect the flow of urine. It affects around 2.5 million men in the UK. Symptoms may include the need to pass urine frequently; an urgency to pass urine; difficulty in passing urine; a burning sensation or pain when passing urine; the need to get up during the night to pass urine. These symptoms can affect daily life but many men suffer in silence due to embarrassment in seeking medical help.  If the symptoms are left unchecked it may lead to acute retention of urine which, in severe cases may lead to kidney failure.  There are a number of treatment options available depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Prostatitis - is a less common condition where the prostate becomes inflamed, usually due to a bacterial infection and can be treated successfully with antibiotics.  

Prostate Cancer -  is becoming more common, accounting for 23% of new male cancer diagnoses each year.  It is rare in men below 50 but increases with age. By the age of 80, it is estimated that 60 - 70% of men will have prostate cancer, although  most will die from other causes as the cancer usually grows slowly.  Symptoms for prostate cancer can be similar to BPH but may also include blood in the urine, lower back pain or pain in the hips or pelvis.

There are a number of tests to diagnose prostate cancer. For men over 50, it is wise to have a rectal examination by the GP to check for abnormal enlargement of the prostate. A blood test which checks Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is also available from the GP.  PSA is a protein produced by the prostate and rises with age. A high reading may indicate prostate cancer but further tests are needed for confirmation by a specialist doctor.  Like most cancers that are caught early, prostate cancer can be treated successfully using a variety of treatments.
Prostate Health older man

There are some simple measures that men can take to prevent prostate disease:

Reduce your intake of dairy products as these have been shown to increase prostate cancer risk.

Eat cooked tomatoes as these contain lycopene.  Research shows 7 - 10 helpings a week can reduce cancer risk by 40%.

Eat selenium-rich foods such as Brazil nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Eat foods containing zinc such as nuts, seeds, red meat and chicken.

Eat plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables (5+ a day) which contain nutrients to protect against cancer.

Taking the herb Saw Palmetto may increase urinary flow for men with BHP. Other plant extracts such as Beta-sitosterol and nettle leaf have also been found to improve symptoms. You should check with your GP if you are on medication before taking supplements.
Disclaimer: The information in this article should not be regarded as medical advice.  If you are receiving medical treatment or taking prescribed medication, you are advised to consult your GP or health practitioner before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Many men are reluctant to talk about their prostate and few even know where it is situated.  Yet, by the age of 60, fifty percent of men have an enlarged prostate which may affect their daily life.

The Prostate is a small gland about the size of a chestnut which encircles the urinary tract between the bladder and the base of the penis. Its function is to keep the sperm nourished and lubricated.  When a man reaches 40, the prostate begins to grow in size and the rate of growth is usually affected by hormones, the most significant of which is testosterone.

Diseases of the Prostate

The main diseases of the prostate are Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), Prostatitis and Prostate Cancer.