10 myths and facts about enlarged prostate

If you’re reading this article, you are probably familiar with what a struggle it is to convince your husband, brother, or male relative to visit the doctor…short of knocking them out and taking them there yourself.

Men's Health


Owen Wiseman
@AVogel_ca


20 June 2019

Primary care providers are trained to screen for various disorders and conditions that men may not notice until it's too late. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) and should be given the due diligence it deserves as the cause of approximately 4,100 deaths in 2017. So, let's take a look at some of those myths and misconceptions about enlarged prostate.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is linked to prostate cancer / False

BPH is non-cancerous as indicated by the word, 'benign'. While certain symptoms between the two conditions can present in a similar fashion, men diagnosed with BPH should not stress over the chance of this condition developing into prostate cancer.

However, it is possible for the two conditions to co-exist, which is why screenings are critical. In addition, certain factors are linked to prostate cancer including how done your red meat is for a meal with 'well' and 'very well' done meats associated with a 22% increased risk of all prostate cancer. This is due to the heat catalyzing reactions that create higher levels of mutagenic agents. Opposed to this is the consumption of flax, approximately 30g per day, which has been shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties specifically in prostate tissues.

BPH should always be medically treated / False

BPH is incredibly common in aging men, but is also asymptomatic in many of these individuals. Often times, a watchful waiting approach is suggested when conditions are asymptomatic. If there is mild hyperplasia, but no signs or symptoms of an impact on urinary or sexual function, then treatment is often held off.

Having surgery for BPH might have the added benefit of preventing prostate cancer. / False

The most common surgical intervention for an enlarged prostate is a procedure known as a transurethral resection of the prostate where they can cut away enlarged tissues, opening up the urinary canal and rectifying any urinary concerns. While there are side effects and complications, unless all prostate tissue is removed, surgery won't prevent the development of prostate cancer.

Enlarged prostate is a natural part of ageing and you can't do anything on your own to relieve BPH symptoms / False

When so many men in their later years begin to experience symptoms of BPH, your own fate can seem inevitable. However, research conducted in populations with lower levels of circulating testosterone or dihydrotestosterone have demonstrated reduced incidence of BPH and smaller prostate sizes overall.

If you've had a diagnosis from a doctor you could turn to Prostate 1, a herbal remedy containing extracts of Saw Palmetto berries. This provides relief from the urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate, plus it is convenient to use – just take one tablet a day. By eating well and staying active on a daily basis, and with a little help from saw palmetto, you can restore your quality of life.

 

Nobody else in my social group is affected by this. / False

As mentioned earlier, it's possible to have an enlarged prostate and not show symptoms yet and men are statistically less likely to visit their doctor even when they do start showing mild symptoms. As with any topic, the more openly and often it's discussed, the more comfortable individuals feel sharing their own experiences.

BPH only affects men in their 70s or 80s. / False

While the median age for diagnosing BPH is around 69 years, men as early as 40 can begin to experience symptoms, especially if they screen positive for a variety of risk factors including – obesity, sedentary lifestyle, African American, certain genes (ELAC2/HPC2, HPC20, BRCA1-2), smoking, a family history, and an elevated PSA (>4ng/mL). Reducing PSA can be achieved via the use of vitamin D, and supplementing with this vitamin was also shown to help reduce the number of positive biopsies when testing for prostate cancer.

If I ignore the problem it will get better by itself. / False

Sweeping a problem under the rug doesn't make it disappear, it only prolongs the inevitable and allows more dust to gather...or in this case, allows the prostate to enlarge even more.

Increased sexual activity prevents the exacerbation of symptoms of BPH. / False

While we often think that exercising tissues make them stronger, 'exercising' the prostate shows no prevention against prostatic enlargement.

Delaying treatment of BPH can cause bladder damage. / True

When urinary function is compromised due to the enlargement of the prostate, this can cause damage to both the bladder and the kidneys as the fluid is unable to pass from the body. Signs of renal failure can include: chest pain, swelling in the ankles, feet, and legs, shortness of breath, nausea, and in later stages, confusion and seizures.

The bigger the prostate, the worse the symptoms are. / True

Typically, as the prostate enlarges, it begins to apply greater pressure to the surrounding tissues and structures. These structures include the bladder, the ureter, and blood vessels supplying the penis that are responsible for maintaining an erection.

For symptomatic relief, a fruit known as Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) may be just the answer you were looking for. Long-term treatment of BPH with Serenoa repens saw research participants experience decreased urinary obstruction and increased flow, as well as increasing sexual function. Products such as Prostate 1 come in tablets containing organic saw palmetto fruit extract and can be taken every day to manage symptoms. The berry works due to its ability to inhibit 5α-reductase which results in reduced levels of dihydrotestosterone and a decreased risk of developing BPH.

References

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-624-x/2016001/article/14548-eng.htm
https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/3/8/e003320
https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/prostate/statistics/?region=on
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1476047/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2532544/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3387395/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851713/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18199713
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22792684
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/prostate-problems/prostate-enlargement-benign-prostatic-hyperplasia

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