Sometimes it's a lie when we say that size doesn't matter. Size does matter, especially when it comes to the prostate. Swollen and enlarged prostates are a nightmare to deal with; they can be painful, causing distress and discomfort…
So how do we deal with the size issue? That's where a little sweat comes in handy; whether you enjoy sweating it out on the treadmill or in the sheets, there are a few ways you can help your enlarged prostate get back to a healthy prostate.
Let's dive in.
But First… Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Dealing with a swollen prostate can be tricky. It is a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH for short). You might not know what you are dealing with, as the symptoms can manifest over time as you age. Here are a few signs you can look out for.
The most common symptoms that occur are:
Recurrent bladder infections
In some cases, reduced erectile function is also common
Remember, if leaking urine once in a blue moon or the rare difficulty in urination occurs - it doesn't always definitely mean that you have BPH. If you are concerned - speak to a healthcare professional that can help you through your diagnosis or just for a regular check-up. Keeping your prostate healthy is an important task that shouldn't be skipped.
Managing your Prostate With Exercise
The importance of exercise in managing prostate health is grossly underestimated! If you aren't exercising the prostate, how could it possibly help?
Researchers found that exercise has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases, improving cardiovascular health, and managing weight.
Studies have also found that regular exercise can help manage BPH symptoms and may even reduce the size of the prostate gland. It is more of a package deal than a singular solution which is why we love it!
One study found that men who exercised regularly had a lower risk of BPH and were less likely to need surgery for prostate problems. Another study found that men who exercised had a lower prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a marker of prostate inflammation and cancer risk.
Further reading: Exercise and BPH
More Than Just Simple Benefits
The benefits are far from simple and straightforward.
Improved urinary symptoms: Improved bladder control is something to look forward to instead of wishing for! Regular exercises and lifestyle changes, such as limiting fluid intake before bedtime and avoiding alcohol and caffeine, can help improve urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate, such as frequent urination, urgency, and dribbling. This means the sudden urge to bolt for the bathroom should fade away.
Decreased inflammation: Studies have shown that regular exercise can help reduce inflammation in the body, which may play a role in the development and progression of prostate enlargement.
Better overall health: Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can positively impact overall health, which may benefit the prostate. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are all critical for maintaining general health.
Reduced risk of prostate cancer: While exercise and lifestyle changes may not directly reduce the size of an enlarged prostate, they may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. This different condition can affect the prostate.
Improved quality of life: Managing the symptoms of an enlarged prostate through exercise and lifestyle changes can help improve quality of life, allowing individuals to engage in daily activities and enjoy a better sense of well-being.
Further Reading: Prostate Health And Alcohol
Let's Talk About Sex For a Hot Second
All this talk about erectile this… erectile that.. Prostatic this… how does exercise and shrinking the prostate help with erectile issues?
Improved erectile function: BPH can cause urinary symptoms that may affect sexual function, such as difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. By managing urinary symptoms through exercise and lifestyle changes, it may be possible to improve erectile function and overall sexual health.
Reduced anxiety: Difficulty with urination and sexual function can cause anxiety and stress, which can further exacerbate the problem. By managing these symptoms through exercise and lifestyle changes, it may be possible to reduce anxiety and improve sexual function.
Improved overall health: Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can improve overall health, which can, in turn, benefit sexual health. For example, regular exercise can improve cardiovascular health, which is essential for sheet street.
Enhanced confidence: Managing urinary symptoms through exercise and lifestyle changes can help individuals feel more confident in their ability to engage in sexual activity. This increased confidence can lead to a more satisfying sexual experience.
Finding Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Pelvic floor muscle training is vital to your prostate health. It is crucial to find the right muscles and train them. To perform Kegel exercises, you must first locate your pelvic floor muscles. You can do this by practicing while you urinate.
Don't do them every time you urinate; it is just best to find them the first few times. Once you are familiar, you can do them anytime you like!
Find them by pausing the flow of urine after a few seconds. Pay attention to the muscles that you just used to stop the urine flow - your pelvic floor muscles.
When starting Kegel exercises, make sure that your bladder is empty. Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and apart, then tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold for three seconds before relaxing them for another three seconds.
Repeat this process a few times, focusing solely on the pelvic floor muscles. Eventually, you should be able to do these exercises while sitting or standing.
Kegel exercises are vital after prostate surgery, prostate cancer treatment, or if you have diabetes, as they can weaken the muscles in the pelvic floor region.
Further Reading: Kegels: What Are They?
Ready, Steady, Start Your Engines, And GO!
Practice and consistency are the keys to successfully exercising your prostate and getting it to shrink! You won't shrink it overnight - however, with consistency and practice, you will get there in no time.
With a little help from your new best friend - kegel exercises, moderate-intensity physical activity, a healthy diet, and more your prostate will thank you! Working your way up to vigorous exercise is another trick to help prevent or manage a swollen prostate.
From Prostate Cancer to Infertility: The Risks
Are you a strategy person? If so, you might want to know about the risks of not managing a swollen prostate. Here are the top 5 chances:
Urinary tract infections: When urine is not completely emptied from the bladder, it can increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can cause pain, discomfort, and other symptoms.
Bladder stones: If urine is not fully emptied from the bladder, it can also increase the risk of bladder stones, which can cause pain and other complications.
Kidney damage: In rare cases, an enlarged prostate can cause kidney damage if urine is not fully emptied from the bladder and the pressure on the kidneys becomes too high.
Sexual dysfunction: No one wants to admit that they have erectile dysfunction. However, in some cases, an enlarged prostate can cause sexual dysfunction, including difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection or decreased sexual desire.
Urinary problems: As the prostate gland grows more prominent, it can press against the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis), causing urinary problems. This can include difficulty starting or stopping urination, weak urine stream, frequent urination (especially at night), or the inability to empty the bladder.
What About Prostate Cancer?
With that said can BPH lead to cancer? While it might seem like the two are related, it might be a surprise that they aren't mutually exclusive conditions. BPH is a non-cancerous condition that occurs when the walnut-shaped gland grows in size, often as men age. This can cause the prostate to press against the urethra, leading to urinary symptoms.
Conversely, prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland begin to grow and divide uncontrollably, forming a tumor. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men, but it can often be treated successfully if detected early. It does also cause swelling, though!
Further Reading: Prostate Cancer; How To Check At Home
It's A Lifestyle Change
Prostate care is more than just adding in a few sweaty minutes of exercise a week! You can add a few lifestyle changes to your routine to ensure it stays small, healthy, and comfortable.
Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help promote prostate health. Some studies have suggested that a diet high in saturated fat may increase the risk of prostate problems.
Reduce stress: Chronic stress can hurt prostate health. Engage in stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
Limit alcohol intake: Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of prostate issues. Limiting your alcohol intake can help reduce this risk.
Quit smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of prostate problems. Quitting smoking can help reduce this risk and improve overall health.
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush out toxins from the body and promote good prostate health.
Walking Regularly: Walking is a great way to reduce stress and help your prostate stay in check!
Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of various health problems, including prostate issues. Maintaining a healthy weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise can help reduce this risk.
Our personal favorite: A prostate massage! This is perhaps one of life's best-kept secrets. It can help reduce the swelling and keep your prostate healthy - while giving you the best sexual health boost!
Further Reading: Food to Help Shrink Your Prostate
Exercises to Shrink Prostate Swelling
Aerobic exercises: Aerobic exercises, such as walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming, can improve cardiovascular health and help manage weight, which may reduce BPH symptoms. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise most days of the week.
Kegel exercises involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, which can help strengthen the muscles that control urination and improve bladder function. To do Kegels, tighten your pelvic muscles for 5-10 seconds, then relax for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 10-20 times, several times per day.
Aerobic exercises can improve cardiovascular health and help manage weight, which may reduce BPH symptoms. Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, and dancing. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
Yoga: This can help improve flexibility, balance, and relaxation, which may reduce stress and inflammation in the body. Some yoga poses, such as the "cobra pose" and "child's pose," can also help improve blood flow to the prostate gland.
Resistance training involves using weights, resistance bands, or body weight to build muscle strength. Examples of resistance exercises include push-ups, squats, lunges, and bicep curls.
Tai chi: This is a gentle form of exercise that can improve balance, flexibility, and relaxation. Tai chi may help reduce stress and inflammation in the body, which can contribute to BPH symptoms.
Facts: Men who engaged in the most recreational physical activity at work and in their spare time were 60% less likely to develop BPH.
FAQ: The Nitty Gritty!
You might want to know a few things before diving into kegel exercise or exercise for a swollen prostate. Let's take a look.
When Should I Start Exercising?
Now..? Truth be told, it is never a wrong time to start exercising as long as you are in good health and are not sick! If you want to be extra sure - get the all-clear from your doctor! You might want to speak to them about kegel exercises for men or to get the best regime for your needs.
How Often Should I Start Exercising?
When you finally get to working out, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. This should be in addition to Kegel exercises and regular daily movement.
Is There Anything Else I Can Do To Reduce the Swelling of The Prostate?
Oh… we are glad you asked! Yes! There is. Prostate massage can help to increase blood flow to the prostate, which can aid in healing and inflammation reduction.
It may help to improve the flow of urine and relieve urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged or swollen prostate by stimulating the prostate gland.
While also aiding in the release of fluid buildup in the prostate, reducing pressure on the gland and promoting healing.
Proponents of prostate massage claim that it can help break up prostate stones, which can lead to prostate enlargement and discomfort.
Further Reading: Prostate Massage
Knowledge, H.P. (2011). Exercise and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). [online] Harvard Health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/exercise-and-benign-prostatic-hyperplasia-bph-201104261561.
Urology Times. (n.d.). Alcohol and the prostate gland: Friend or foe? [online] Available at: https://www.urologytimes.com/view/alcohol-and-prostate-gland-friend-or-foe [Accessed 17 Feb. 2023].
Mayo Clinic. (2018). Kegel exercises for men: Understand the benefits. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/mens-health/in-depth/kegel-exercises-for-men/art-20045074.