A Comprehensive Guide On Prostate Health
How much are you aware of your prostate health? Yes, we know that it can be a bit uncomfortable to talk about your prostate. However, your prostate health is of utmost importance and it’s not something to be kept aside.
The Prostate refers to a gland, which is part of your reproductive system. This walnut-sized gland is present right under the bladder and is responsible for producing seminal fluids that help in nourishing and transferring semen.1 The prostate undergoes numerous changes throughout your life and as you age, it starts to enlarge2 and that’s when you begin experiencing prostate health issues.
Why does prostate health matter? About 300 million men develop prostate health problems that have a negative impact on their life.3 In the United States alone, it’s estimated that 191,930 men will be suffering from prostate cancer this year.4 Common prostate health conditions include prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, and prostatitis.
In this guide, we’ll be covering everything on prostate cancer, from age groups that are more at risk, its symptoms and causes, complications, followed by some tips for better prostate health.
Prostate Cancer: Who is more at risk?
As you age, the likelihood of you developing prostate health problems becomes higher, particularly if you’re 40 and above. If you’re anywhere near 50 and older, you run a high risk. Of all the men diagnosed, 60% of them fall under the age group of 60 and above.5 While every man risks getting prostate cancer, it’s uncommon for men under 40 to develop this disease, but not impossible. Aside from age, other risk factors include:
- Race: Though the reason hasn’t been determined yet, men of black origin pose a greater risk of getting prostate cancer as compared to other races. Black men have higher chances of suffering from aggressive or advanced prostate cancer.6
- Family History: If anyone in your family had prostate cancer, your chance of getting it might increase. Several reports suggest that your risk for more aggressive prostate cancer increases if anyone in your family had suffered from breast cancer.7
- Diet: This is another serious risk factor. If your fat consumption is high, particularly animal fat, you’ve got more chances of prostate cancer. It’s also quite common in countries where the intake of dairy products is higher8 than countries that consume lots of vegetables, soy, and rice. Some studies also suggest that the risk is higher in obese men.9
What Are Its Symptoms?
During its initial stages, the symptoms or signs for prostate cancer can be rarely seen. However, patients with a more advanced condition will show the following signs or symptoms:
- Sudden erectile dysfunction
- Bone pain
- Blood in semen or urine.
- Difficulty in starting or stopping urination.
Other possible signs that you might experience include weak urine discharge and unexplained discomfort around the pelvic area.10 If your condition is more advanced, you might experience abnormal bowel habits, hip or back pain, or unexplained weight loss.
It’s important to understand that these signs are also associated with other, less serious ailments. As such, even if you experience these symptoms, it doesn’t mean that you’ve got prostate cancer. Similarly, you might not show a single sign even if you do have it.
What About The Causes?
Like every other cancer type, it isn’t easy to determine what exactly causes prostate cancer. In most cases, multiple factors might play a role, which includes genetics or exposure to certain chemicals or radiation.
One thing that’s known is the fact that the condition develops when certain cells present in your prostate starts becoming abnormal. Changes in your genetic material or abnormal cell’s DNA causes the cancerous cells to grow abnormally and uncontrollably. These abnormal cells continue growing and form a tumor. If the condition is aggressive, the abnormal cells might metastasize and spread across other regions of your body.11
Do I Experience Any Complications?
If you develop prostate cancer, you’ll experience the following complications:
Metastasizes: The disease can advance towards other nearby regions of your body like your bladder and it can even pass through your bloodstream. If it spreads to your bones, it can cause broken bones and pain. Once the cancerous cells spread across other areas of your body, you might be able to control it with treatment, however, the likelihood of getting cured is extremely low.
Erectile Dysfunction: Prostate cancer can cause erectile dysfunction. Additionally, the treatments for the condition might cause erectile dysfunction as well.
Incontinence: You might also experience urinary incontinence and its treatment will depend on the type, severity, and the likelihood of it improving over time.
How Do I Keep My Prostate Healthy?
As you might be aware by now that every man risks developing prostate health problems, including prostate cancer, at some point in their life, you might be wondering if there's a way to minimize your risks.
Fortunately, there is! You can minimize your chances by making healthy life choices, which includes:
- Following a Healthy Diet: Whether a healthy diet can help prevent prostate cancer is yet to be proven. However, maintaining a healthy habit of including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits in your diet can certainly boost your overall health. Fruits and veggies are enriched with antioxidants and essential vitamins that keep you and your prostate healthy.
- Exercising Frequently: Exercise has many benefits. It can not only help in maintaining weight but also improve your mood and overall health. Some evidence shows that men who aren’t physically active have greater PSA levels while men who exercise are less likely to develop prostate cancer.12
- Achieving a Healthy Weight: Did you know that overweight has also been associated with prostate cancer? If your existing weight isn’t healthy, it’s time for you to get active. To lose weight, you’ll have to minimize your calorie intake per day and add more exercise. You can also ask your doctor to help create a healthy plan to lose weight.
The Bottom Line
Every man is at risk of developing prostate health problems throughout their lifetime. While you can’t prevent some of the factors like age, genetics, and family history, keeping yourself aware of the various complications, symptoms, and possible solutions will be of great help.
Ultimately, making healthy life choices will make all the difference in keeping your body healthy and reducing your chances of developing prostate health problems, including prostate cancer.