WHAT IS THE PROSTATE
The size of a walnut, the prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that surrounds the part of the urethra just below the bladder and above the muscles of the pelvic floor. The main functions of the prostate are the production of a fluid that makes up semen and the ability to ejaculate forcefully because of the prostate muscles. The prostate is also responsible for hormone metabolism. It’s in the prostate that the male sex hormone testosterone is transformed into a biologically active form called DHT.
POTENTIAL PROSTATE PROBLEMS
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) occurs in all men as they age. If the gland becomes too large it can block urine flow or cause a weak urine stream and difficulty emptying the bladder completely. It is treated with medication or a small procedure to widen the urine tube. It is not a cancerous condition.
The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, with men over 45 being at higher risk. Other risks include the use of steroids and having relatives who had a similar cancer. Early prostate cancer does not cause any symptoms so yearly screening is needed to detect it early. If left too late it can cause problems with urine flow and pelvic pain and can spread to other parts of your body.
Many of the germs that cause sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can infect the prostate, called prostatitis. This can cause problems passing urine, pelvic or anal pain, pain during sex and sometimes an anal discharge. It can be caused by having unprotected receptive anal sex.
Symptoms include frequent urination, blood in urine, painful urination, dribbling urination, inability to urinate, painful ejaculation, and pain in back, hips, thighs, pelvis, and/or rectum.
WHAT MEN CAN DO?
All men over 45 years, especially if there is a history of cancer in the family, should be screened for prostate cancer every year. This is done by doing a blood test, called a PSA, and doing an anal (finger) exam to feel the prostate gland to check its size, shape and consistency.
Men can also check their own prostate gland to ensure all is in order by gently feeling it with a lubricated finger inserted in the rectum. If they notice any changes in the gland’s size or texture, they should consult their healthcare provider immediately. In addition, any difficulty or pain when urinating should be reported to their healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Herbs and supplements proven to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and prostate health issues, including fish oil, saw palmetto, stinging nettle, zinc, selenium, lycopene, vitamin E, and vitamin D.
Rosemary, frankincense, and myrrh essential oils are powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents that can relieve symptoms of prostate problems and possibly inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.