Edited By Stephanie Dawson
A walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and penis, in front of the rectum, is called the prostate. The urethra runs from the bladder to the penis through the center of the prostate which allows urine to flow from the body.
Sperm is protected by fluid that secretes from the prostate. The prostate squeezes this fluid into the urethra during ejaculation and it is expelled with sperm as semen. The prostate also contains some smooth muscles which make the process of semen expel during ejaculation smoother.
Male hormones like testosterone are responsible for male characteristics and are needed for the prostate to function properly. Testicles mainly produce these main male hormones. The adrenal glands also produce male hormones in small amounts. The prostate is regulated by di-hydrotestosterone.
The prostate is vital for reproduction as the seminal fluid that’s produced by it that nourishes the sperm during ejaculation. Its uncontrolled growth can often be a source of problems as men grow older.
Following are the most common prostate conditions:
Inflammation of the prostate gland which is sometimes caused by infection. It can be treated with antibiotics in some cases.
• Enlarged prostate
Almost all men over 50 are affected by prostate growth. This condition is known as benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH. Difficult urination is one of the symptoms of this condition and tends to increase with age. This can be treated by medicine or surgery, saw palmetto extract and Kegel exercises can help naturally.
• Prostate Cancer
This is the most common form of cancer in men, it is rarely fatal when caught early. Prostate cancer can be treated by hormone therapy, radiation, chemotherapy , and/or surgery. Some people choose to delay treatment but it can be dangerous if not monitored closely and regularly. Prostate cancer is often slow-growing and if diagnosed at the correct time can be treated with success.
Maintaining prostate health is of great importance. Following are tips for maintaining good prostate health:
• Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
• Eating more fruits and vegetables can be beneficial. Watermelons, tomatoes, pink grapefruit, papaya, and guava contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that is beneficial for a healthy prostate. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale are good choices.
• If you have a family history of prostate cancer, your doctor should be made aware of it. If any of your immediate family members had prostate cancer it will double your chances.
• Include more soy in your daily diet from sources such as soy nuts, tofu, or soy flours. Soy is known for its protective properties against many cancers, prostate cancer being one of them.
• Eating more selenium-rich foods such as tuna, wheat germ, herring, and other sea foods as well as shellfish, beef liver, eggs, sunflower and sesame seeds, cashews, mushrooms, garlic, and onions can be of great help maintaining a healthy prostate.
• After the age of 50 get a PSA blood test and digital rectal exam done annually. Men at higher risk should start with these annual checkups after the age of 45.