In my last article, we looked at some of the main prostate issues that men can experience throughout their life, as well as all the ways that they can impact day-to-day life and health.
Today, I want to discuss some of the steps that you can take in order to improve your own prostate health.
Race and genetics play a significant role when it comes to your chance of developing prostate cancer, however, as with many illnesses, preventative steps can be taken when it comes to lifestyle choices.
Although there isn’t one proven way to avoid prostate cancer, staying healthy and working to reverse existing health issues can help to lower your risk.
Review your diet
Statistics show that men in western countries have much higher rates of prostate cancer than men in Asia. And, while no research can definitively explain this fact, it’s suspected that dietary factors are to blame. Western diets that are heavily reliant on processed food, fats, and animal proteins can contribute to DNA damage that in turn can contribute to cancer.
Even men who are already at greater risk of prostate issues due to age, race or genetics can reduce their chances of developing prostate cancer by adopting healthier diets and lifestyles. Simple dietary and lifestyle changes can also help alleviate the lower urinary tract symptoms that accompany benign prostatic enlargement (BPH).
There are specific foods high in antioxidants that are known to benefit the prostate. These include salmon, berries, tomatoes, onions, garlic, nuts, broccoli, and citrus fruit. It is thought to be the antioxidants such as lycopene in tomatoes, omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, and sulforaphane in dark leafy vegetables that protect the prostate by balancing the hormones and reducing inflammation.
There are also certain foods that have been shown to irritate the prostate and increase symptoms of BPH including red meat, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. Therefore, it is suggested to cut down on the intake of these food types as much as possible.
When it comes to supplements – there is independent evidence that says taking fruit extract Saw Palmetto can assist in alleviating lower urinary tract symptoms. It is thought that Saw Palmetto can improve patients’ symptoms who have BPH by reducing DHT production, however, further reading is recommended on this subject for those who are interested to know more.
Manage your stress and find ways to relax
As well as dietary constraints, it’s thought that stress can worsen symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This is because chronic stress causes shifts in hormone levels and affects the function of the sympathetic nervous system.
Stress management techniques, therefore, are important to reduce any symptoms, and although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all relief to manage stress, it can help to try a variety of strategies to find what works for you.
Taking regular massage and acupuncture therapy has proven to be very beneficial to those who find it hard to relax or suffer from hectic lives with a lot of stress. Massage and acupuncture are a great combination together to encourage healthy energy flow and enhance a sense of overall wellbeing. The treatments themselves are very relaxing with the chance to take a break and focus on your own self-care for a short time.
Breathing techniques, mindfulness, meditation, listening to music, and exercise are all recognised fast-acting stress relief strategies that also work well at home.
Pelvic floor exercises
With age, the muscles around your bladder can weaken and this can be especially troublesome when linked with an enlarged prostate. Strengthening your pelvic floor from an early age can help to minimise the risk of developing a whole range of urinary tract symptoms.
Regular practice of pelvic floor exercises can help by strengthening and training your pelvic floor muscles to help control urination.
These exercises can be done almost anywhere and at any time – they just take practice and consistent training.
Here is a short guide of how to exercise your pelvic floor muscles:
- Start with an empty bladder. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and apart (with regular practice, you’ll be able to do this while sitting or standing)
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles for five seconds and then relax them for five seconds.
- Repeat five times. Be sure to focus only on the pelvic floor muscles.
In addition to this exercise, walking, Pilates, yoga, and swimming can also be beneficial to strengthen the muscles in your pelvic area.
The most common therapeutic benefit of prostate massage has been for men who have a condition called chronic non-bacterial prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
This type of Chronic Prostatitis is thought to be an inflammation of the prostate caused by muscle tension rather than bacteria. Often, men might internalise without realising that they are constantly clenching their pelvic floor muscles.
Before the 1980s, prostate massage was the standard therapy for chronic non-bacterial prostatitis and prostatic enlargement, however, it is less common today for various reasons. The prostate massage procedure itself involves a finger is inserted into the rectum to stimulate the prostate gland. The goal is to release excess seminal fluid from the ducts of the prostate gland. The nature of the procedure can be seen as embarrassing for some men and can also cause natural arousal.
Prostate massage is a safe and low-risk therapy (assuming you do not have acute bacterial prostatitis or prostate cancer, which can be made worse by prostate massage) providing that it is done by a trained practitioner. It is never advised to do it yourself at home or with someone untrained.
In some cultures, it is also believed that regular prostate massage may enhance virility and erectile health.
Get regular screenings
According to the NHS, “there’s currently no screening program for prostate cancer in the UK. This is because it has not been proved that the benefits would outweigh the risks.”
Instead of a national screening program, there is an informed choice program, called prostate cancer risk management. For example, men who are at normal risk are being encouraged to consider screenings starting at age 50. Those in a high-risk group may be advised to start screenings from an earlier age.
All decisions about when to begin screenings should be made with your doctor. If you’re a man aged 50 or over and decide to have your PSA levels tested after talking to your GP, they can arrange for it to be carried out free on the NHS.
Screenings can include a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. If your PSA test indicates an above-normal result and you’ve had a normal digital rectal exam, you may be a candidate for the prostate health index test.
How can I help you?
I regularly treat many men of all ages who are affected by prostate issues. I appreciate that prostate health is a sensitive subject and I am here to offer professional, confidential advice and treatment when you need it.
I treat men who have been through prostate cancer and I understand many of the unpleasant symptoms that come as a result of surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and/or hormonal therapy.
I offer acupuncture that can help with symptoms including hot flushes, urine leakage, erectile dysfunction, pain, and loss of sex drive. I also offer support to help with the psychological impact of the ordeal and journey of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. The psychological impacts can result in mood swings, anxiety, relationship breakdowns, and depression. But, most of the time talking openly with a professional can really help to free a lot of negative emotions that might be trapped inside your mind.
If you or your partner are suffering from symptoms associated with the prostate, then please don’t hesitate to contact me. We can discuss a bespoke treatment schedule to help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
46, Cheltenham Mount
(opposite Red House Originals art gallery)
mob: 07787 831275