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Prostate Gland

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Prostate Gland
Summary
  • Prostate Gland is a sex gland found in men just below the bladder and surrounds the beginning of the urethra.
  • Problems can appear after a man reaches the age of 45 to 50 years where the Prostate Gland becomes enlarged and the urethra becomes constricted.
  • Symptoms to look for include trouble when passing urine, difficulty in getting the flow of urine to start or to stop, the flow of urine is weak or it stops and starts and getting up more than once in the night to pass urine.
Description

Prostate Gland is a sex gland found in men just below the bladder and surrounds the beginning of the urethra.

The gland is similar in size to a walnut or a golf ball and produces a secretion that liquifies coagulated semen. Together with the testicles and seminal vesicles its primary function is the production of semen. The gland is made up of muscular and glandular tissue and is located in an area of the pelvic cavity forward of the rectum. It is possible to feel the Prostate Gland, especially if it is enlarged, by inserting a finger into the rectum.

The outside of the gland is covered by a network of veins and the back portion or posterior surface is divided into a middle lobe above and a larger lower portion below. A small channel some 6 mm long runs upwards and backwards in the gland behind the middle lobe and is part of the urethra. Urine is also passed through the urethra. The portion of the gland in front of the urethra is made up of dense muscular tissue. The ejactulatory ducts pass obliquely through the back portion of the gland.

The secretion contained in the prostate gland consists of alkaline phosphatase, citric acid and various proteolytic enzymes. When the seminal fluid is discharged the gland contracts in size.

Problems usually appear after a man reaches the age of 45 to 50 years. The Prostate Gland becomes enlarged and the urethra becomes constricted. Symptoms to look for include trouble when passing urine, difficulty in getting the flow of urine to start or to stop, the flow of urine is weak or it stops and starts and getting up more than once in the night to pass urine. Sometimes passing urine causes pain as well.

This progressive condition which is not malignant or inflammatory but which may constrict or even block the urethra is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Your Doctor is the person to consult for a correct diagnosis.

  • Management

    As with all conditions your Doctor should be consulted to diagnose and treat this condition.
    Ask your Doctor about the latest advice on this ailment.

    Your Doctor may recommend a simple operation to reduce the size of the Prostate Gland if the condition is severe. Your Doctor will discuss with you the various treatment options for the condition, e.g. new studies for this condition include the use of a class of drug called 5alpha-reductase inhibitors.


    Lifestyle

    Diet Hints
    • A diet which includes all natural foods, lean sources of protein e.g., fish and lean meats and unprocessed, whole grains such as brown rice, is generally considered best.
    • This diet has an emphasis on raw foods, particularly seeds and nuts. Pumpkin seeds are a favoured food as these are a good source of zinc. Zinc is believed to have a stabilising and protective effect on the prostate gland1. Other foods which contain zinc include oysters, liver, yeast, egg yolks, herring, wholegrains and beef.
    • Include plenty of fresh, raw vegetables in the diet. Eat raw foods whenever possible, otherwise cook lightly only (steam). Fresh fruit should always be available.
    • Try to eat a few servings of vegetables and fruit every day, especially those which are good sources of beta-carotene e.g., leafy and green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, peaches, melon and cherries. There is some evidence to suggest that a diet which is lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables may increase a person's risk of developing prostate cancer2.
    • Foods containing soy bean may help to reduce the severity of cases of Prostate Problems. Soy beans help to promote the hormone, oestrogen, in the body which is believed to be protective against cancer in the prostate gland3. Soy foods include soy milk, tofu, tempeh and Soy beans.
    • Try to avoid eating fatty and sweet foods. A lot of 'fast food' is high in calories, fat which promotes the formation of unhealthy cholesterol in the body, sugar and is of very little nutritional value. It is best to prepare your own meals and have healthy foods ready for a snack during the day.
    • Use your blender to make healthy smoothies. Add 1 cup of chopped fresh fruit, 1 cup of milk or Soy milk, 1 table spoon of flaxseed oil, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of wheat germ, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey. Blend this together to make a tasty and healthy smoothie which is a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
    • Coffee, tea and alcohol should be avoided or at least drunk in moderation only. Try using a coffee replacement and drink herbal teas, juices and fresh, filtered water instead. After a while, the urge to drink caffeine-containing beverages may lessen.
    • Fresh fruit and vegetable juice is an ideal way to make sure that you are receiving adequate vitamins during the day. Consider buying your own juicer. It is best to drink either fruit OR vegetable juice - try not to combine the two and always dilute the drink with some fresh, filtered water as the juice is a concentrated source of nutrients.
  • Pharmacist's Advice

    Ask your Pharmacist for advice.

    1. Follow the Diet Hints.
    2. If you smoke, ask your Pharmacist for suggestions to help you stop smoking.
    3. Avoid stress as far as possible.
    4. Maintain good fluid intake. It is a temptation to restrict fluid intake to avoid frequent urination, however this is the wrong approach. Restricting fluids will not allow the bladder to stretch and the muscle tone may be lost.
    5. Avoid drinking tea, coffee and cola drinks, especially before sleeping, as these contain caffeine, which stimulates the body to release more fluid. This may cause dehydration, constipation and increase the frequency of urination.
    6. Have regular exercise. Swimming and walking are two good examples. Some 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day is recommended. See your Doctor for a check-up before starting an exercise programme.
    7. Ask your Pharmacist about ways to avoid and treat constipation. Constipation can cause you to strain which puts extra pressure on the bladder and prostate. Drinking plenty of water, getting regular exercise and eating a high fibre diet may help to prevent constipation.
    8. If the diet is inadequate consider some supplements. A combined vitamin and mineral supplement may help to ensure that nutritional needs are met. Flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil and fish oil taken as a liquid or in capsules have anti inflammatory properties which may also be of benefit4. Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
  • Notes

    References

    1. Suzuki T, et al. Metallothionein binding zinc inhibits nuclear chromatin decondensation of human spermatozoa. Department of Urology, School of Medicine, Gunma University, Japan. Andrologia. 1995 May-Jun. 27 (3). pp 161-4.
    2. Beta-carotene shows promise for prostate cancer. International Antioxidant News. LMF Communications. May 1997.
    3. Kao PC, et al. How to reduce the risk factors of osteoporosis in Asia.Department of laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. Department of laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. Chung-Hua-I-Hsueh-Tsa-Chih-Taipei. 1995 Mar. 55 (3). pp 209-13.
    4. Osiecki H. Prostatic Hyperplasia. The Physicians Handbook of Clinical Nutrition. Bioconcepts. Australia. 1990.
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