Men’s Prostate Health for Movember
November, ahem, Movember is here! And with it comes an onslaught on information on men’s health, prostate health, and more – because after all, it’s about much more than growing a moustache. So while it’s a wonderful time to be entertained by how well (or poorly) that moustache grows, it’s also a great time to learn about the prostate and what you can do to support its health.
About the Prostate
So let’s start with some understanding around the prostate itself. It’s a gland about the size of a walnut that surrounds the urethra (the urinary tract). It is responsible for releasing an alkaline fluid into the semen, making up 30% of its volume. This alkaline fluid will create a hospitable environment for sperm so they can do their job.
Prostate Conditions & Symptoms
When your doctor calls for a dreaded prostate exam, he or she is assessing for enlargement of the prostate gland, tenderness, nodules, or a difference in size between the lobes, which could indicate a number of health conditions that often plague the prostate. These include:
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – a growth in the size of the prostate the restricts the flow of urine through the urethra
- Prostatitis – an inflammatory condition that can be a result of bacteria, non-bacteria, or leukocytosis
- Suspected prostate cancer
With most prostate conditions, you’ll note symptoms such as:
- Painful, difficult and/or frequent urination
- Slow or weak urine stream
- Getting up to pee at night (aka nocturia)
- Pain in the lower back
- Blood in the urine
- Painful ejaculation
- Difficulty achieving erection
What can you do if you notice symptoms? This isn’t the time to self treat. Visit your primary care provider! Prostate concerns are important and you should seek medical attention.
Regardless of your diagnosis, you can either co-manage your condition with complementary therapies or treat with them primarily. Complementary care should always be done under the watch of your naturopathic doctor. Supplements, acupuncture treatments, hydrotherapy techniques and herbs (like saw palmetto, Pygeum, and beta-sitosterol) would be specifically selected based on your needs, what medications you may be on, and what your diet is like.
Disclaimer: Please remember that these are general recommendations. Herbs and supplements can interact with medications. Please discuss with your naturopathic doctor or your general practitioner before beginning any treatments.
Tips for Prevention
If your prostate is perfectly healthy, and you simply want to prevent issues, especially cancer, from occurring, here are our top 6 tips:
- Exercise. For at least 30 minutes each day.
- Drink Water. We all know this one.
- Stop Smoking. Or don’t start in the first place.
- Eat Tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes (such as those found in pasta sauce and tomato soup) contain active lycopene, which has been proven to slow development, progression and recurrence of prostate cancer. Lycopene supplements are an alternative solution.
- Eat Flax. 1 tablespoon per day of freshly ground flaxseed has been proven to slow prostate cancer progression. We are big fans of Bob’s Red Mill Whole Flaxseed, which should be kept cold and milled just before use.
- Eat Selenium. You can find selenium in Brazil nuts, oysters and sunflower seeds). 200 micrograms per day was shown to prevent the development of prostate cancer. You can also get a healthy dose via Selenium supplements if going out for oysters every night isn’t your thing.
Dr. Maryska Taylor and Dr. Rachel Corradetti are naturopathic doctors practicing out of Toronto. They offer concierge naturopathic medical services to their patients throughout the GTA via home and Skype visits.