Prostate Problems

The prostate is a small organ about the size of a walnut. It lies below the bladder (where urine is stored) and surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder). The prostate makes a fluid that becomes part of semen. Semen is the white fluid that contains sperm.

Prostate problems are common in men 50 and older. Most can be treated successfully without harming sexual function. A urologist (a specialist in diseases of the urinary system) is the kind of doctor most qualified to diagnose and treat many prostate problems.

Noncancerous Prostate Problems

Acute prostatitis is a bacterial infection of the prostate. It can occur in men at any age. Symptoms include fever, chills, and pain in the lower back and between the legs. This problem also can make it hard or painful to urinate. Doctors prescribe antibiotics for acute prostatitis and recommend that the patient drink more liquids. Treatment is usually successful.

Chronic prostatitis is a prostate infection that comes back again and again. The symptoms are similar to those of acute prostatitis except that there is usually no fever. Also, the symptoms are usually milder in chronic prostatitis. However, they can last a long time.

Chronic prostatitis is hard to treat. Antibiotics often work when the infection is caused by bacteria. But sometimes no disease causing bacteria can be found. In some cases, it helps to massage the prostate to release fluids. Warm baths also may bring relief. Chronic prostatitis clears up by itself in many cases. 

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) is enlargement of the prostate. This condition is common in older men. More than half of men in their 60’s have BPH. Among men in their 70’s and 80’s, the figure may go as high as 90 percent.

An enlarged prostate may eventually block the urethra and make it hard to urinate. Other common symptoms are dribbling after urination and the urge to urinate often, especially at night. In rare cases, the patient is unable to urinate.

A doctor usually can detect an enlarged prostate by rectal exam. The doctor also may examine the urethra, prostate, and bladder using a cytoscope, an instrument that is inserted through the penis.

BPH Treatment Choices

There are several different ways to treat BPH:

Watchful Waiting is often chosen by men who are not bothered by symptoms of BPH. They have no treatment but get regular checkups and wait to see whether or not the condition gets worse.

Alpha blockers are drugs that help relax muscles near the prostate and may relieve symptoms. Side effects can include headaches. Also, these medicines sometimes make people feel dizzy, lightheaded, or tired. Alpha blockers are new drugs, so doctors do not know their long term effects. Some common alpha blockers are doxazosin (Cardura), prazosin (Minipress), and terazosin (Hytrin).

Finasteride (Proscar) is a drug that inhibits the action of the male hormone testosterone. It can shrink the prostate. Side effects of finasteride include declining interest in sex, problems getting an erection, and problems with ejaculation. Again, because it is new, doctors do not know its long-term effects.

Surgery is the treatment most likely to relieve BPH symptoms. However, it also has the most complications. Doctors use three kinds of surgery for BPH:

Men should carefully weigh the risks and benefits of each of these options. The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research has designed a booklet to help in choosing a treatment; call 800-358-9295 and ask for their free patient guide on prostate enlargement.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among American men. About 80 percent of all cases occur in men over 65. For unknown reasons, prostate cancer is more common among African American men than white men.

In the early stages of prostate cancer, the disease stays in the prostate and is not life threatening. But without treatment, cancer can spread to other parts of the body and eventually cause death. Some 40,000 men die every year from prostate cancer that has spread.

Diagnosis. To find the cause of prostate symptoms, the doctor takes a careful medical history and performs a physical exam. The physical includes a digital rectal exam, in which the doctor feels the prostate through the rectum. Hard or lumpy areas may mean that cancer is present.

Some doctors also recommend a blood test for a substance called prostate specific antigen (PSA). PSA levels may be high in men who have prostate cancer or BPH. However, the test is not always accurate. Researchers are studying changes in PSA levels over time to learn whether the test may someday be useful for early diagnosis of prostate cancer. 

If a doctor suspects prostate cancer, he or she may recommend a biopsy. This is a simple surgical procedure in which a small piece of prostate tissue is removed with a needle and examined under a microscope. If the biopsy shows prostate cancer, other tests are done to determine the type of treatment needed.

Prostate Cancer Treatment. Doctors have several ways to treat prostate cancer. The choice depends on many factors, such as whether or not the cancer has spread beyond the prostate, the patient’s age and general health, and how the patient feels about the treatment options and their side effects. Approaches to treatment include:

Watchful waiting. Some men decide not to have treatment immediately if the cancer is growing slowly and not causing symptoms. Instead, they have regular checkups so they can be closely monitored by their doctor. Men who are older or have another serious illness may choose this option.

Surgery usually removes the entire prostate and surrounding tissues. This operation is called a radical prostatectomy. In the past, impotence was a side effect for nearly all men undergoing radical prostatectomy. But now, doctors can preserve the nerves going to the penis so that men can have erections after prostate removal.

Incontinence, the inability to hold urine, is common for a time after radical surgery for cancer. Most men regain urinary control within several weeks. A few continue to have problems that require them to wear a device to collect urine.

Another kind of surgery is a transurethral resection, which cuts cancer from the prostate but does not take out the entire prostate. This operation is sometimes done to relieve symptoms caused by the tumor before other treatment or in men who cannot have a radical prostatectomy.

Radiation therapy uses high energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It is often used when cancer cells are found in more than one area. Impotence may occur in men treated with radiation therapy.

Hormone therapy uses various hormones to stop cancer cells from growing. It is used for prostate cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body. Growth of breast tissue is a common side effect of hormone therapy.

More detailed information on the pros and cons of these treatment options is available from the Cancer Information Service at 800-422-6237; ask for the prostate cancer “PDQ for Patients.”

Protecting Yourself

The best protection against prostate problems is to have regular medical checkups that include a careful prostate exam. See a doctor promptly if symptoms occur such as:

Regular checkups are important even for men who have had surgery for BPH. BPH surgery does not protect against prostate cancer because only part of the prostate is removed. In all cases, the sooner a doctor finds a problem, the better the chances that treatment will work.

GOOD SUPPLEMENTS TO TRY

Nutrient / Supplement Importance
( 1 - 10 )
Helpful notes
Pygeum 10 is an herb from Africa that has been shown very effective against Prostate problems and it works well with the herb Saw Palmetto in an herbal blend. Some Male Herbal formulas have both as well as many other to help balance male body chemistry. Pygeum may actually prevent prostate cancer.
Saw Palmetto 9 herb that is especially beneficial to men's health and it helps prevent prostate problems.
Selenium 8 powerful free radical scavenger and also aides in protein digestion. Normally found in a good quality mineral multi-vitamin supplement.
Beta Carotene 8 powerful anti-oxidant that helps destroy free radicals. Make sure that your beta carotene supplement comes from natural fruits and vegetable sources. Men often are not eating enough fruits and vegetables which adds to their risk of prostate enlargement or cancer.
vitamin E 8 vitamin E is a powerful healing agent and also enhances sexual health
vitamin A 8 powerful antioxidant that kills free radicals
Carotenoids 8 work with vitamin A  (see Mega Juice below)
L-carnitine 7 protects against free radical damage and toxins in the body and often in combination with omega fatty acids that work well for people suffering from prostate problems.
Methionine 7 is an amino acid which acts as a detoxifier to help protect the liver and other organs of the body.
Zinc 7 men need the mineral zinc for healthy sexual and reproductive systems
Multi-vitamin & Mineral supplement 8 contains vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium which all are helpful for enlargement of the prostate or prostate cancer. These nutrients are also required for general good health and well being.
Garlic 7 garlic has been shown to benefit to those with prostate problems..

OTHER CHANGES TO MAKE

- drink 6-8 glasses (1 gallon) of steam distilled water a day
- diet and nutrition are important for both healing and prevention
- eat lots of raw fruits and vegetables 
- juice is good (make your own with a juice machine)
- whole grains are good to eat, raw nuts, and brown rice
- do not drink coffee, soda pop, other junk food drinks
- do not eat processed foods white sugar, white flour, etc...
- eat less dairy products like milk and related products
- use stress relief like going for walks with someone you like -or- listen to calming music
- control anger ... it can be a BIG problem for people with cancer and maybe even a root cause
- do not smoke and avoid second hand smoke
- onions and garlic are great against cancer
- the lycopenes in tomatoes are good to eat 
- fasting a few days a month can be helpful 

 

 
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Disclaimer: This information is intended as a guide only.   This information is offered to you with the understanding that it not be interpreted as medical or professional advice.  All medical information needs to be carefully reviewed with your health care provider.

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