What man would dare admit to having a weakness in this area? Prostate trouble has even been called an “old man’s illness.” A man’s reluctance to have a doctor examine his prostate as a preventive measure—in a process that involves the doctor inserting a finger into the patient’s rectum—is also the reason that so many men act as though nothing were wrong. That’s why only about 40% of men who may be considered at risk seek treatment—with a majority preferring to remain silent.
When left untreated, prostate ailments make it increasingly impossible for the bladder to empty itself completely. Residual urine begins to accumulate, and bacteria, which thrive in this warm environment, quickly begin to multiply.
This may cause urinary tract infections (cystitis, pyelitis, prostatitis), leading to an extremely painful condition characterized by a sudden inability to urinate. Despite an urgent need to urinate, the bladder cannot empty itself. At this stage, urinary catheterization is the only remedy.
When a man reaches his forties, the prostate gland begins to enlarge as benign tissue cells multiply; this condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Almost 50% of men over the age of 50 are affected by this annoying, yet benign condition. The following are typical symptoms of BPH:
- Night-time awakening to urinate;
- Having trouble beginning to urinate;
- Weak urinary stream;
- Feeling of urine retention in the bladder;
- Urinary leakage despite the fact the bladder seems empty;
- Painful and burning sensations.
Preventing prostate ailments
Having an open mind when it comes to prostate problems and early treatment is a way to curb the illness’s development and prevent unwanted symptoms from occurring.
- Avoid substances that irritate the prostate gland: pepper, hot peppers, spices, beer, white wine;
- Reduce caffeine intake (tea, coffee). A. Vogel’s Bambu® cereal-based coffee substitute is an ideal alternative;
- Exercise regularly;
- Add pumpkin seeds to salads or yogurt; pumpkin seeds are known to have a positive effect on prostatic hyperplasia;
- Don’t wait too long between toilet breaks, and taking the time to completely empty your bladder.
Finasteride: inhibits an enzyme in men, thereby reducing the conversion of testosterone and halting the growth of prostate tissue. Finasteride does have side effects, however, with at least 10% of males receiving the treatment complaining of reduced ejaculation, reduced libido and erectile dysfunction.
Alpha blockers: reduce muscle tension, which in turn relaxes bladder, prostate and urethral muscles. Although the prostrate does not reduce in size, urination becomes easier. This treatment also has several side effects, including hypotension (low blood pressure), nasal congestion and erectile dysfunction.
Saw palmetto: acts in the same way as both finasteride and alpha blockers, that is, it stops prostate growth and relaxes muscle tissue. The major benefit of this plant is that it has none of the side effects associated with drug-based treatments. For this reason, treatments based on saw-palmetto extract are the most widely used in cases light to moderate prostate ailments.
Surgery is used when a patient responds poorly to medication or when the prostate has already become enlarged.
Don’t wait until your quality of life diminishes before treating a urinary problem. Your body is sending you a message, which you should not ignore. Consult a health professional to obtain medical information about BPH: by doing so you’ll act early, help prevent symptoms from getting worse, and be able to take full advantage of life.