The prostate is a small circular gland situated just below the bladder. Through the centre of it passes the urethra, the tube which carries urine through the penis. The prostate produces fluid which forms part of the semen and helps carry sperm during sex.
It is rare for prostate problems to affect young men, but from age 45 onwards they become increasingly common. Because many men prefer not to talk about urinary and prostate difficulties, the exact numbers who may be affected are not known, however American research has found that more than half of all men aged over 50 have symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).
More frequent urination, including nocturia (needing to get up to urinate frequently during the night)
Urgency (the inability to postpone urination)
Reduced force of flow
Hesitancy (difficulty starting urination)
Intermittent stream (stopping and starting)
Sensations of incomplete emptying
Incontinence (loss of urinary control)
Blood in urine
If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your healthcare professional who can arrange for the necessary examinations and blood test to help determine the nature of your condition.
Prostate enlargement occurs gradually, and is largely the result of hormonal changes associated with ageing, such as the conversion of testosterone to a more potent form called dihydrotestosterone. This causes an overproduction of prostate cells, which in turn causes the prostate to enlarge.
As the prostate enlarges, it obstructs the urethral canal, interfering with urination and the ability to completely empty the bladder.
Serenoa is a herb which has been clinically proven to relieve the symptoms of a medically diagnosed enlarged prostate when taken in doses equivalent to 1800 mg dried berries per day
Zinc deficiency is associated with enlarged prostate; for best absorption choose a zinc supplement which also contains magnesium, manganese and vitamin B6
Selenium has been associated with good prostate health.
Raw pumpkin seeds (or pepitas) are a valuable addition to your diet, as they are rich in zinc and essential fatty acids necessary for a healthy prostate.
Health authorities recommend that men over 40 years have an annual prostate examination. Your healthcare professional can give you more information.
Regular consumption of soy foods and cooked tomato products may also be beneficial in the prevention of prostate conditions.
Consult your healthcare professional if you experience the symptoms of BPH.
The presence of blood in the urine, or painful urination, needs immediate medical consultation.