The prostate is also known as the prostate gland. A healthy prostate gland resembles both the shape and size of a chestnut. It surrounds the upper region of the urethra in men. It is located directly below the bladder. It can be felt by an experienced doctor during a rectal examination i.e., via the anus or rectum.
Glands are always organs that secret certain active substances or fluids. The prostate gland produces part of the fluid that is secreted via the urethra during ejaculation. The secretion enters the urethra through various small excretory ducts. The prostate fluid mixes with the sperm there. Almost a third of the ejaculate is made up of prostatic secretion. The fluid facilitates sperm mobility, makes ejaculation less viscous and boosts sperm cell survival rates in the acidic vaginal environment.
Prostate cells begin to multiply from as early an age as 30; the prostate gland expands and restricts the surrounding urethra. The original chestnut-sized gland can reach the size of a peach. As a result, the bladder has to fight against the pressure of the prostate gland. Urine can no longer flow unhindered, causing problems with urination.
Noticeable symptoms are:
- Diminished urinary stream, sometimes only urine droplets
- Hesitant urination, interruptions, dribbling
- A feeling of residual urine
- Irritable bladder: frequent urinary urgency with a small volume of urine
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Urinary retention or diminished urinary stream
- Increased bladder discharge pressure
Many men already feel the effects of prostate growth in their 50s. Every second man over the age of 60 is affected. In the 9th decade of life, it is approx. 90%. However, prostate enlargement varies in prevalence worldwide. Many men, especially in industrial nations, suffer from this. Therefore, we can assume that lifestyle and especially diet have a major effect.
The growth of the prostate gland and the accompanying symptoms – above all slower urination – are a normal sign of ageing. This is known as benign prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH). It is problematic that the symptoms noticed by sufferers cannot be easily distinguished from those of a prostate tumour. Prostate cancer or prostate carcinoma manifests in a similar way. Regular visits to a doctor (urologist) are therefore required. Physical examinations, palpitation of the prostate gland through the rectum and determination of the PSA level are important to determine whether it is harmless, age-related prostate growth or a serious disease. The doctor will then decide whether treatment is necessary.
PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. It is a protein that is only produced in the prostate gland. As with all products of hormonal glands, it can also be detected in the blood as a PSA level. PSA is produced by healthy and also unhealthy prostate cells. Therefore, it is found in certain amounts in all men. The PSA level and the combination with other values that can be measured in the blood tells the doctor whether a serious disease could be present.
A number of measures can help with prostate symptoms – for prevention and also for relief. Please always remember that prostate symptoms are a typical symptom of our Western lifestyle!
- Eat regularly, but moderately!
- Try to achieve or maintain your normal weight (BMI < 25).
- Exercise regularly (at least 30 min. of endurance sport 3 times a week).
- Eat plenty of fish – at least twice a week (omega-3 fatty acids).
- Restrict your consumption of animal fats.
- Eat preferably unsaturated fatty acids (e.g., olive oil or rapeseed oil).
- Eat regularly broccoli, soy products, cooked tomatoes, garlic.
- Eat plenty of fibre (vegetables, wholemeal products, ispaghula husk)
- Use the supportive power of pumpkin seeds long-term.
- Avoid red meat! (no tartar, raw Steak)
- Take vitamin E (dietary supplement or wheatgerm oil).