There has been a lot of talk lately about the higher incidence of prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction and enlarged prostate among cyclists, which makes you wonder whether cycling really causes health risks in men.
If you ask me, your sofa is probably a lot more dangerous! While you’ll need to take a few precautions, cycling is still good for you!
The relationship between constipation and the prostate is kind of like the old chicken and egg conundrum. The egg: Constipation, aka the build-up of feces in the intestine (also called the bowel), can put pressure on the bladder and the prostate, which can cause symptoms resembling those associated with an enlarged prostate.
The chicken: an enlarged prostate can put pressure on the rectum and cause constipation. But wait, there’s more…
Andropause? What’s that? Andropause is the male version of menopause, except that, for men, the changes in their hormone balance happen more gradually and symptoms vary greatly from one person to the next.
Hormonal fluctuations, especially drops in testosterone levels, trigger prostate enlargement, a process that accelerates with age. Fortunately, there are several ways to preserve prostate health.
BPH is short for Benign Prostate Hyperplasia – a bit of a mouthful. As the name suggests, it is a condition of the prostate, and as such, a men’s issue.
To explain BPH, we need to review a bit of anatomy.
The prostate is a gland part of men’s reproductive organs. It secretes seminal fluid, which is the carrier for sperm. It is located just below the bladder. It is shaped like a donut surrounding the urethra canal, which carries urine out of the bladder to be expelled.
Now, the issue with the prostate is that around age 40, it tends to start growing abnormally. As the prostate grows, it squeezes the urethra making urination difficult. It is the growth of the prostate that is called Benign Prostate Hyperplasia. Benign as opposed to cancerous, and hyperplasia means enlargement by cell multiplication.
As “abnormal” as this prostate growth is, its frequency is astounding. By age 50, 50% of men are feeling symptoms. By age 80, it is 80% of men. At this rate, you would think we would hear more about it. But then, most men do not talk about health issue much, especially if it has to do with a sexual organ. Thankfully the Movember movement is doing a great job working on that.
“You have to eat anyway, so you might as well eat things that are good for your health in general and your prostate in particular.”
WHAT IS BPH?
BPH is a benign (non-cancerous) swelling of the prostate, which obstructs the flow of urine from the bladder, creating uncomfortable symptoms such as incomplete emptying of the bladder (and the consequent feeling that you constantly need to go to the loo), a weak urine stream, and getting up several times a night for an unsatisfying pee.