What is the Prostate?
The prostate is a walnut sized gland that sits just below the bladder in men and is an integral part of the male reproductive system. Made up of two lobes and enclosed by a layer of tissue, the prostate goes through two main periods of growth. The first occurs early in puberty, when the prostate doubles in size. At around the age of 35, the gland begins to grow again. This second growth phase often results in what is identified as an enlarged prostate.
As the prostate gets larger, the layer of tissue surrounding it stops it from expanding, causing the gland to press against the urethra. While the data varies, it is believed that most men over the age of 45 experience some amount of prostate enlargement, but may live symptom free. This enlargement is usually harmless, but it often results in problems urinating later on in life. By 60, it is believed that 80% of all men experience some sort of urinary interference due to prostate enlargement.
Enlargement of the Prostate
Enlargement of the prostate is not a malignant condition, but it does put pressure on the urethra and can create a number of urinary complaints such as frequent urination, urinary urgency, the need to get up at night to urinate, difficulty starting, a reduction to the force of the urine stream, terminal dribbling, incomplete emptying of the bladder and even the inability to urinate at all. If left unchecked, benign prostatic hypertrophy can cause serious problems over time including urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones or incontinence.
Enlarged Prostate and Potential Impotency
It is important to take care of your prostate and address any prostate, be it an enlarged prostate, prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) or prostate cancer early on. Take an active role and protect yourself by having your prostate checked regularly. Traditional treatments for prostate issues include the surgical removal of all or part of the prostate. While most people experience a relief of symptoms, it may leave them impotent. For the health conscious, this should only be used as a last resort.
Wellness Recommendations for Enlarged Prostate
- If you are over 40, have your doctor perform a prostate exam during your regular checkup.
- Incorporate a healthful diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables and low on unsaturated fats, sugars and processed foods.
- Kegel exercises can be done to improve circulation to these tissues. A kegel exercise is performed by pulling up all the muscles around the scrotum and anus. Repeat this movement 10 times. Try doing this ‘invisible’ exercise 5-6 times daily.
- For men suffering from prostate enlargement, saw palmetto is the place to start. Saw palmetto has a long history of relieving testicular inflammation and inhibiting the hormone responsible for prostate enlargement.
- The herb pygeum have also been show to be effective for relieving symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. It can be used alone or in conjunction with saw palmetto.
- Hydrangea is another herb that supports the urinary system, where it is known to promote the overall health of the prostate gland and help to reduce inflammation and swelling.