The prostate is an often misunderstood organ, and unfortunately, most people don’t realize that prostate cancer is a real and serious threat to anyone who has a prostate.
To help keep your prostate happy and healthy, you’ll need to:
- Follow a heart-healthy diet
- Eat healthy fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants
- Incorporate more fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Consider limiting sugar intake
While many people dread their prostate exam at the doctor’s office and don’t think about their prostate after their check-up, the health of your prostate is extremely important. It serves many crucial functions in your body, and can provide a tremendous amount of pleasure, so it’s time to take care of it!
It’s time to ditch the mystery around prostates so they can be properly taken care of and used for pleasure.
What Is a Prostate?
The prostate is a small gland found in people who were assigned male at birth. It is about the size of a walnut and is located in the middle of a person's pelvis, below the bladder, and in front of the rectum.
You can actually locate the prostate by inserting a (lubed) finger inside of the anus and pointing your finger towards your belly button. It will feel like a fleshy bulge that is texturally different from the surrounding tissue.
While many people don’t think about the function of the prostate, it is crucial to the health of those AMAB (assigned male at birth), while also being an underappreciated center for pleasure.
Your prostate plays a key role in reproduction. Although it’s the testicles that produce sperm, the prostate helps make some of the fluid in semen, which carries sperm from your testicles when you ejaculate.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the other function of the prostate. Besides being a crucial part of the creation and expulsion of semen, the prostate is also a spot in your body that will provide you with intense pleasure!
Because it is loaded with nerve endings, it is incredibly sensitive (in the best way). The prostate gland swells when you are aroused, and putting direct or indirect pressure on it during sex can lead to an explosive orgasm.
What About Prostate Growth?
Scientists are still trying to discover the cause behind prostate growth as people get older. Prostate growth usually starts around the age of 40. In fact, more than 90% of men over age 80 have enlarged prostates.
Factors linked to aging and changes in the cells of the testicles may have a role in the growth of the gland and the change in testosterone levels as someone gets older.
Common Prostate Problems
Just like any other organ in your body, complications can arise in your prostate. There are a few common issues people with prostates tend to see the most, and, as they age, the best way to be prepared is to be informed on what they are and what to look out for.
Prostatitis is a painful condition that involves inflammation of the prostate, and sometimes, the areas around the prostate. There are four different types of prostatitis, including:
- Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome, which will show symptoms of pain or discomfort lasting three or more months in between the scrotum and anus, the lower back, or the central lower abdomen.
- Acute bacterial prostatitis commonly shows sudden and severe symptoms. Symptoms can include problems with urination (pain, frequency, blockage), body aches, a UTI, or a fever.
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis, which shows similar symptoms to acute bacterial prostatitis, but not as severe. However, this type of prostatitis usually grows slowly. Because of this, it can last for 3+ months. The symptoms for this type of prostatitis also range: some people’s symptoms come in waves, and for some people, they are constant but mild.
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, which does not cause complications and does not typically need treatment.
Each type of prostatitis has a range of symptoms that vary depending on the cause and may be different for every person.
A medical professional should be alerted if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, is the scientific name for prostate enlargement and growth as a person ages.
It is normal for the prostate to get bigger as a person gets older. In fact, when a person goes through puberty, the prostate doubles in size. It usually remains this size for a while but tends to start growing again by age 25.
After that, it is common for the prostate to slowly grow throughout the rest of a person’s life. Therefore, it’s totally normal for your prostate to grow, but BPH occurs when the prostate becomes too large and can cause issues in your body.
Since the prostate is located next to the urethra, as it gets bigger it can put pressure on the urethra and even squeeze it. Over time the bladder may lose the ability to fully empty when you urinate because it will weaken from the pressure put on it by the prostate. Urine then remains inside of the bladder, which can cause problematic urinary tract symptoms.
Symptoms can range in pain and severity, but some common symptoms of BPH are:
- The feeling of a full bladder, even after peeing
- The need to pee often, about every one to two hours
- The need to stop and start several times when peeing
- The inability to wait to pee
- A weak urine flow or dribbling
- Trouble starting to pee or the need to push or strain to pee
- Needing to wake up at night more than two times to pee
Again, these symptoms should be monitored, and a medical professional should be contacted if they become severe.
According to research, prostate cancer is actually the third most common cause of death from cancer in those AMAB. Furthermore, prostate cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer for those AMAB above the age of 75.
In the beginning stages, prostate cancer cells might go undetected because of a lack of urinary symptoms.
However, as it progresses and worsens, symptoms resulting from prostate cancer may include:
- Trouble urinating
- Erectile dysfunction
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the semen
- Losing weight without trying
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
Prostate cancer can have many complications. Cancer can spread to nearby organs, such as your bladder, or travel through your bloodstream or lymphatic system to your bones or other organs.
Prostate cancer can also cause urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Prostate cancer treatment could include treatment options like hormone therapy, radiation therapy, or other methods as determined by your healthcare provider.
What Causes Prostate Problems?
It may seem overwhelming to read the problems that can arise within your prostate, and you may be wondering what the causes of these issues are. Although the causes can be complicated, there is some information scientists have about the cause of prostate issues.
Bacterial prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection in the prostate. The infection may occur when bacteria travel from the urethra to the prostate.
Unfortunately, scientists do not know the exact cause, or causes, of chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain. It is possible that the prostate gets hit with inflammatory compounds, which can lead to pain and complications because the immune system mistakes the prostate as something dangerous.
Another explanation may be external factors such as certain foods, stress and depression, or trauma that is related to a person’s genitals.
Some researchers believe a microorganism, though not a bacterial infection, may cause chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. There are varying potential sources for this problematic microorganism, including your body’s response to a urinary tract infection, damage to the nerves in the pelvic area, or chemicals that are found in urine.
Age is the greatest high-risk factor for benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate that has become too enlarged.
However, other factors are associated with the conditions in addition to age. An inactive lifestyle and obesity, and high blood pressure have been shown to appear with BPH. Similarly, researchers have found an increased risk of BPH in patients who frequently eat large amounts of sugar, red meat, and refined grains.
There is no one cause of prostate cancer. However, genetic defects can play a key role. Age can also be a risk factor for prostate cancer and BPH.
Additionally, family history plays a crucial part in considering your own risk for prostate cancer. People whose immediate family members have had prostate cancer are two to three times likelier to get it themselves.
Nutrition and Prostate Health
Certain foods and beverages can affect testosterone and other hormones. As a result, your diet can affect prostate health.
Diets high in meat and dairy products have been linked to higher risks of prostate side effects, so it’s important to follow a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based, antioxidant-rich foods.
Prioritize foods that include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
- Other plant protein sources
Fruits and vegetables do wonderful things for your body. They have loads of vitamins, minerals, and fiber in them, which support the overall health and wellbeing of your body down to the cellular level.
Foods known to have the phytochemicals that can help fight prostate cancer include tomatoes, red peppers, and watermelon.
Research shows that men who eat three or more servings of vegetables packed with nutrients per week have a 41 percent decreased risk of prostate cancer.
A plant-based diet is naturally high in fiber, which has a number of benefits.
Fiber is powerful when it comes to fighting cancer. A high-fiber diet works to reduce hormone levels that may be involved in the progression of prostate cancer.
Some foods that are high in fiber include:
- Whole grains, such as oats, barley, quinoa
Studies have shown that eating a high-fiber, low-fat diet, even for only a short period, reduces prostate cancer growth.
Eating a low-fat diet has many benefits. A high-fat diet stimulates increased testosterone levels, which is known to be associated with prostate cancer growth.
However, the type of fat that is included in your diet is important. Saturated and trans fat may increase your risk of prostate cancer, but omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your risks for prostate cancer and cancer progression.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in many foods, including:
- Lake trout
Other Ways To Keep Your Prostate Healthy
Beyond your nutrition, there are a few other ways you can stay on top of your prostate’s health.
Research has shown a link between infrequent ejaculations and an increased risk of prostate cancer. In fact, one of the best ways to keep your prostate healthy and functioning properly is to incorporate regular prostate massages into your life.
Even just one prostate massage a month can drastically reduce your risk of prostate cancer. Additionally, those with swollen prostate could use a prostate massage once a week to help minimize the swelling and improve urinary function and sexual performance.
There are plenty of ways to stimulate your prostate, but a reliable way is to use a prostate massager.
Research has found that the more a person is physically active, the less they experience BPH symptoms. You don’t need to worry about signing up for cross fit or running a marathon if exercise isn’t your thing. Even low-intensity exercise yields benefits, such as walking regularly or swimming some easy laps in the pool.
People with chronic prostatitis who prioritize aerobic exercise three times a week have been shown to experience less discomfort, anxiety, depression, and improved quality of life.
Aerobic exercise can include running, walking, jumping rope, swimming, or cycling.
Regular prostate cancer screenings by a urologist are recommended for anyone with a prostate. If anyone in your family has a history of prostate issues, then regular screening tests are recommended for early detection starting at the age of 40. Otherwise, regular screenings are recommended starting at the age of 50.
Screenings can include a digital rectal exam and a blood test. If there is a potential issue, you may have a prostate biopsy.
If you have a prostate, there are many ways to try and reduce your risk of prostate-related complications like prostatitis, BPH, and prostate cancer. You can maintain a healthy diet, prioritize exercise, and get screened regularly.
Finally, it’s proven to increase your prostate’s health if you ejaculate frequently and incorporate prostate massages into your life.
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