Health Alert 123
If you’re a man over 40, you’re likely to become uncomfortably aware of your prostate. You will get a nagging urge to urinate, difficulty getting the stream started and dribbling afterwards. But this doesn’t have to be your fate.
You can prevent your prostate from causing these irritating and embarrassing symptoms. Today is your first in a series of letters on how to keep your prostate healthy.
You need to learn how to protect yourself from swelling of the prostate. Not only because these symptoms are a nuisance you don’t want – but also, because this problem is the number one diagnosis in older men – and, it’s avoidable.
* Your Time Bomb is Ticking *
Your prostate is normally about the size and shape of a walnut. It’s an important organ for normal functioning of the male urinary and reproductive systems. It lies at the base of your penis. It surrounds your urethra that your urine flows through. And that’s exactly why it’s likely to cause you problems.
As you get older, your prostate grows. As the gland grows, it squeezes the urethra and obstructs normal flow. Most men’s prostates begin enlarging after 40. If you are lucky enough to make it to eighty, you have an 80% chance of having BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia.
I’ve seen hundreds of men in my office who can no longer tolerate the symptoms of BPH. They can be quite discomforting.
Common Symptoms of BPH
Constant urge to urinate.
Frequent nighttime urination.
“Dribbline” or leaking after urination
Difficulty starting urination.
A week stream of urine.
Never feeling like the bladder is empty.
There are a few factors that will increase your risk of developing BPH. Medical history, family history, diet, and hormone levels all play a major role. Fortunately we know ways to head this disease off, before it starts.
* Begin Prevention Now *
Whether you are 30 or 70, it’s never too early or too late to practice prevention of BPH. If you don’t yet have symptoms, it can save you a world of trouble. If you already have symptoms, it can keep them from getting worse. Here are some simple and easy precautions to take.
1. Get Your Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These are the essential fatty acids in fish, eggs, nuts, avocados and flax seed oil. You can get them by eating one of these foods daily. You can also buy Omega-3 supplements. Omega-3’s are getting a reputation as a treatment for a flood of disorders. BPH is one of them.
Omega 3 fatty acids seem to stop the conversion of chemicals which trigger the prostate to grow.1 One of the best way to load up on Omega-3’s is to take a fish oil supplement. The beneficial dose range is 3 to 6 grams per day. To maximize the benefit, I usually recommend my patients take 3 one gram capsules with breakfast and 3 with dinner.
2. Eat Healthy: What you put in your body everyday can dictate your health. You need quality protein, vitamins, and minerals to avert any disease. This one is no exception. Eat plenty of protein. Don’t forget about the vegetables. And to play it safe, add a good multivitamin.
3. Watch Your Hormones: Your hormones are major players in prostate enlargement. In short, certain hormones can trigger prostate growth. So, you need to stay on top of your levels. The next few Health Alerts in this series will give you all of the important details about your hormones and their effect on your prostate.
4. Take Plant Sterols: The plant sterols found in saw palmetto, pumpkinseed, pygeum, and beta-sitosterol extracts are the best defenses against BPH. Like omega-3s, these important plant sterols stop the conversion of the chemical that set off prostate growth. I will also give you more details about how to use plant sterols if you already have an enlarged prostate in upcoming Health Alerts in this series.
5. Get a Regular Exam: Your doctor can help you catch BPH early. Make sure you see your doctor for a prostate check-up once a year. Include hormone blood tests, physical exam, and a comprehensive PSA test in your routine. I will give you the latest scoop on PSA’s in this coming series as well.
Al Sears, MD
1 Pham H., et al. 5 alpha-reductase-catalyzed conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone is increased in prostatic adenocarcinoma cells: suppression by 15-lipoxygenase metabolites of gamma-linolenic and eicosapentaenoic acids. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 Nov; 82(4-5): 393-400