Studies prove it: Engaging in sports may reduce the risk of being affected by health problems such as the need to urinate frequently during the day and night.
Simple everyday chores, such as housework or gardening, can also be effective. This was discovered by the Department of Urologic Surgery, Vanderbilt University in Nashville. According to the study, the more active men are, the less they face major prostate problems.
40% of men lightly engaged in housework activities had severe lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) … while 38% of men heavily involved in the housework activities, had mild LUTS1.
BPH or LUTS?
The symptoms associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) are collectively called lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). These are generally classified as either voiding (obstructive) symptoms or storage (irritative) symptoms.
What is BPH?
As men head towards fifty, the prostate gland that has been nestling unnoticed around the neck of the bladder can start to make its presence felt.
Swelling a little more each year, it makes it increasingly difficult for urine to leave the bladder effectively. Due to this constriction of the urinary tract, there can be some discomfort and a persistent feeling of a full bladder, whilst trips to the loo yield a disappointingly small amount of wee for the effort required.
If this is happening at night, as it frequently does, disrupted sleep adds to the feeling that life could be better. This state of affairs is known as BPH—or simply an enlarged prostate. It’s not a disease, but it has quite an impact on your quality of life.
Do I have an enlarged prostate?
If you are experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned above, you may wish to look for an Enlarged Prostate test. Based on the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), this test will give you a broad indication of whether you are suffering from the problem and if so, how severe it is likely to be.
If you already know you have an enlarged prostate, the Enlarged Prostate test page can also be used to monitor the progress you make whilst on any treatment.
What to do next
If you think your bladder symptoms are due to an enlarged prostate, make an appointment with your doctor to have the diagnosis confirmed if this has not already been done.
If BPH is present you can consider using Saw palmetto extracts. The oil from the Saw palmetto berry is available in a convenient capsule and helps to reduce the symptoms of BPH such as the need to urinate often and getting up at night for the toilet. Simple to take, it could mean less traipsing to the loo and a more comfortable time in bed.
Prostate Health: Foods to help
An American study has shown that men who have a high intake of vegetables, especially those rich in beta-carotene, lutein and vitamin C have a reduced risk of BPH2.
So eat all the green, leafy vegetables, sweetcorn, yellow and orange-coloured vegetables such as peppers, kiwi fruit and grapes, to get these nutrients.
Another study showed that eating four or more servings of vegetables daily, reduced BPH risk by 32%, and eating more fatty foods increased the risk. Eating red meat daily increased the risk of BPH by 38%3.
Other things you can do for your prostate
- Take zinc, which is excellent for the health of the prostate. Zinc is found in oysters, but you may not realistically want to add these to your regular menu, so check out pumpkin seeds, oats, peas, barley, almonds, buckwheat, brown rice, adzuki beans, eggs, apples and onions as alternative sources.
- Take Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), which may help reduce inflammation in the prostate. These are found in nuts and seeds, or you can take an Omega 3 supplement daily. Pumpkin seeds contain both zinc and EFAs and are therefore a good snack food to munch on.
- Reduce alcohol consumption to reduce inflammatory processes. The more inflammation is present in your body generally, the more likely you are to have inflammation in the prostate. There’s no point having more of a bonfire going than strictly necessary! Alcohol, caffeine, highly processed food (which tends to include junk food and take-aways), refined sugar and smoking all increase inflammation in your system. Cut them down or out to reduce the pressures on your prostate.
- Being overweight increases the severity of symptoms, so whilst you’re cutting down the alcohol and sugar and fatty junk foods, you’ll be pleased to notice fewer calories going in, which should have a beneficial knock-on effect on your weight.
- Sexual abstinence and withdrawing without orgasm can apparently contribute to BPH and should be avoided – now that’s cheered you up!
Jay H. Fowke*†, Sharon Phillips‡, Tatsuki Koyama‡, Susan Byerly*, Raoul Concepcion§, Saundra S. Motley* and Peter E. Clark†, Departments of *Medicine, †Urologic Surgery, ‡Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and §Urology Associates, Nashville, TN, USA, 2012
 Rohrmann S et al. American J Clin Nutr 2007; 85: 523-529
 Kristal AR et al. American Journal of Epidemiology 2008; doi: 10. 1093/aje/kwn389.