Nelson is a 46-year-old corporate banker in tip top shape except lately, he’s unable to sleep through the night. He wakes up 3 to 5 times to pee. During his last comprehensive health check, his blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels were all within the normal range.
Nelson is married to Carole an Economist with a vested interest in health and wellness. These days when he goes to pee, he takes longer than usual causing his wife to ask ‘honey are you ok? Are you giving birth in there?’ What is taking you so long?’ And he would retort, I don’t know o. As a result of the frequent night urination, he decided to reduce his fluid intake, but this didn’t help. The other things he noticed were that he felt he had to use the loo urgently otherwise he’d pee on himself but unfortunately when he rushes to the bathroom, it takes some time and straining for the process of peeing to begin. To top it all the pee just trickles out; he virtually forces the pee out and at the end, he still feels like there is some urine in his bladder and he sees urine dribbling at the end. Sometimes, returning to urinate again minutes after finishing this causes him trouble falling asleep again.
He feels no abdominal pain or pain during urination. Therefore, he is not complaining, except that once in a while he dribbles urine on himself and around the toilet seat and bowl, and this can be embarrassing. Besides, he has to shake off the urine to prevent soiling his trousers.
His wife a stickler for cleanliness has threatened that if he doesn’t see his doctor soon, he will have to take over the job of cleaning the toilet daily.
He eventually decided to visit his doctor, when he couldn’t sit through office/church meetings, car ride or flight without getting up to pee – quite annoying! And when he needs to go, he just must go.
Upon taking a full medical history along with the symptoms described above, the doctor suspects Nelson has an enlarged prostate. This suspicion is confirmed using the fingers to assess the size of the prostate through the anus.
Lab investigations showed he had a few pus cells in his urine. Thus he was prescribed antibiotics and his bladder emptied. Nelson was surprised to know he had an enlarged prostate gland, the little he knew about it was that it got enlarged in the elderly. He was also happy to know he neither had an STD or cancer.
Prostate enlargement is an African/black man’s disease. This growth occurs in almost all men as they approach 40 years and older, and it is probably due to the aging testicular cells. An enlarged prostate is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is not cancer, and it does not raise your risk for prostate cancer.
An enlarged prostate may be an unexpected finding during screening especially in men 38 years and above; thus the need to have a check once at least two years. Usually, less than half of all men with BPH have symptoms of the disease. And in some of the men, who have symptoms, the symptoms are mild while in others, the symptoms can be very troublesome and have a significant impact on their quality of life.
The basis of treatment is on how bad your symptoms are and how much they bother you. Did you know healthy eating and exercise play a role in keeping your prostate gland healthy? Therefore eat and walk your way to a good shrink.
What is a prostate gland?
The prostate is a little kola nut-sized gland just in front of the rectum but between the bladder and the penis. The urethra lets urine pass from the bladder to the penis passing through the center of the prostate.
What are the functions of the prostate gland?
The prostate gland secretes semen, and its function is to feed and protect the sperm.
An enlarged prostate acts as a “clamp on a hose,” slowing down or stopping the flow of urine. This effect causes all the symptoms mentioned above. The thing is, the trouble an enlarged prostate cause varies widely from person to person. While some people have more growth than others; some with large prostates don’t have trouble with voiding urine. It’s a very individual thing. A prostate gland enlarges due to a non-cancerous overgrowth of the part of the prostate gland surrounding the urethra.
How is it diagnosed?
The diagnosis is by digital rectal examination and symptoms; PSA, cystoscopy, transrectal ultrasonography, urodynamics, or other imaging studies.
What are the symptoms?
May be absent, or include symptoms produced as a result of bladder outlet obstruction, i.e., weak stream, hesitancy, urinary frequency, urgency, frequent urination at night, incomplete emptying, terminal dribbling, overflow or urge incontinence, and complete urinary retention. Nelson had all these symptoms apart from the full urinary retention. In this case, you can’t pass urine no matter how much you strain.
Abdominal pain, painful or difficult urination is commonly not present. Although some people may present with sudden, complete urinary retention, with marked abdominal discomfort and bladder distention. The retention may be due to prolonged attempts to postpone urinating.
Forcing the urine to come out/straining can lead to swelling of the veins of the prostatic urethra and lower part of the bladder. The veins may rupture and cause bloody urine. Straining also may cause blackout due to a process known as vasovagal syncope and, over the long term, may cause dilation of hemorrhoid veins or lower abdominal hernias.
- Urinary retention
- Erectile dysfunction
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Bloody urine
- Bladder stones
- Kidney failure
Treatment if not affecting your quality of life is watchful waiting. Other options include 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors, alpha-blockers, and surgery.
Herbal supplements used for enlarged prostates contain Saw palmetto, beta-sitosterol, and pygeum. Other foods for healthy prostate are: Tomatoes, tiger nuts, and Maca
Eat your Way to a Healthy Prostate
“What should I eat to reduce my risk of developing prostate enlargement and/or cancer?” This can be among the most common questions doctors get from guys concerned with prostate health. Certainly, many hope that their physicians will rattle off a list of foods to protect them from the disorder. Although some foods are linked with decreased risk of prostate cancer, there is no proof that they work. Fifty percent of men over the age of 60 suffer from an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). By the age of 85, over 95 percent of men will live with BPH.
The good thing is that a diet rich in certain minerals and vitamins can keep your prostate healthy and lower your risk of BPH. And because being overweight is another risk factor for BPH, eating nutritious food is an excellent way to reduce both your weight and your risk.
Healthy foods to prevent prostate cancer
Rather than focusing on particular foods, dietitians, doctors, and researchers recommend a general pattern of healthy eating — and healthy food is simpler than it might seem.
Eat Plenty of Tomatoes
Tomatoes have been found to provide protection against prostate cancer. Fresh tomatoes and tomato-based products are rich in anti-oxidants known as lycopene. Lycopene is inside tomato cells, in the skins precisely. This compound helps keep the prostate in check. However, tomato puree, spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, salsa, ketchup, and tomato paste are all more concentrated sources of lycopene only that the commercially produced ones contain very high levels of artificial preservatives, significant amounts of salt and sugar. These additives make them a lot less healthy than consuming fresh organic tomatoes.
One recent study, involving about 40 men with prostate cancer concluded that consuming 15mg of lycopene every day for six months reduces the progress of the condition.
Pomegranates are worth it in all fonts thanks to their lengthy list of health benefits. Packed full of many vitamins as well as anti-inflammatory properties, this fruit has been found to support a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer, dental plaque reduction, Alzheimer’s, and better kidney health.
Go for Cruciferous Vegetables like Broccoli, Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage and Spinach
Cruciferous vegetables (especially those in the cabbage family) have been found to slow down your chances of developing prostate cancer. There is enough evidence that supports the notion that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables maximizes your consumption of vital nutrients and antioxidants that keep you healthy and prevents cancer. So why not start adding them to your meals.
Allium vegetables such as garlic, leeks, onion, spring onions (scallions), and chives have been found to lower the risk of prostate cancer. The smell and taste of these vegetables come from organo-sulphur compounds which carry the anti-cancer properties.
One study in Shanghai that investigated the effects of consuming allium vegetables including garlic, chives, spring onions, onions, and leeks. The study was carried out in 238 men with prostate cancer and 471 healthy men; it found that men who consumed 10g of these vegetables daily were 49% less likely to suffer prostate cancer than men who ate 2.2g per day.
There are certain high-fat foods like oily fish that are beneficial to the prostate. Omega-3 fatty acid, which is found in these kinds of diet as well as lake trout and herring, can help lower your risk of developing prostate cancer. Go for only lean meat, remove the skin if you must eat poultry, and use oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats, especially monounsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Go for Berries
Berries including strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are high in antioxidants and vitamin C which plays a crucial role in the body by preventing damage caused by free radicals (that attack healthy cells thereby contributing to the risk of prostate cancer). Blend a variety of greens and berries into a smoothie. Add plant milk and protein powder. Consuming this daily should adequately provide you with the recommended 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day.
Beans are Healthy
Replace processed or red meats with plant protein like chia, beans, and hemp seeds. These foods are filled with healthy proteins and vital nutrients. Black beans are highly nutritional. Just a cup contains 15 grams of fiber and protein, which promotes prostate health. Each ounce of hemp and chia seeds have 5 grams of protein; this is crucial to a healthy prostate. Therefore it is recommended that men should consume 56 grams of protein daily.
Watchful waiting for mild discomfort:
- Do not ignore the urge to urinate when you first get the urge. You could also create a bathroom schedule even if you don’t feel a need to urinate
- Do NOT take over-the-counter cold medicines that contain decongestants or antihistamines; these drugs can increase BPH symptoms
- Avoid alcohol, tea, caffeinated sodas and coffee, especially at night
- DO NOT gulp down a lot of fluid all at once. Spread out fluids during the day.
- Avoid drinking fluids within 2 hours of bedtime
- Keep warm and exercise regularly. Cold weather and lack of physical activity may worsen symptoms
- Learn and perform Kegel’s exercises (pelvic strengthening exercises) A well-trained physiotherapist will show you how to
- It is important that you reduce stress. Remember nervousness, anxiety and tension can lead to more frequent urination