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Prostate FAQs

What Is The Prostate's Function?

The prostate gland is responsible for releasing a milky white, slightly alkaline fluid; making up approximately 30 percent of semen. This particular fluid neutralises the acidity of the vagina, allowing sperm to survive for longer - nature's way of helping with conception.

What Are The Symptoms Of Prostate Problems?

Early signs of an enlarged prostate may result in difficulty urinating; this includes frequent urination, needing to strain to get urine flowing, continued leaking/dribbling after urination, a weak urine stream and/or the feeling of not emptying the bladder completely after going to the toilet. If you begin to experience these symptoms and they do not subside after a few weeks, arrange an appointment with your GP.

More serious symptoms include pelvic pain, painful urination, incontinence or an inability to urinate altogether causing damage to areas of the urinary system. Bladder or kidney stones may also form.

Prostate Cancer can either produce symptoms similar to an enlarged prostate or it will not show any symptoms at all.

Why Does The Prostate Affect My Urinary Habits?

The prostate is situated around the urethra (the tube that carries urine down from the bladder). When the prostate swells it puts pressure on the urethra. This pushes against the tube, preventing urine to flow correctly or fully. Also, urinary infection can cause inflammation of the prostate.

Can I Check The Prostate Gland Myself?

It is recommended that for your initial prostate exam you visit your doctor to get a full diagnosis. This will involve a rectal examination which is the only way to feel if the prostate has got bigger. It is also recommended that prostate examinations with the doctor are done regularly and not ignored for years. You can however, practice self examination in-between visits to your GP if you so wish. The prostate is no longer than a fingers length inside the anus as it is situated just under the bladder. You should be able to feel slight soft lumps and bumps which are natural. If you can feel the prostate protruding or if you can feel anything hard, bring this to the attention of your doctor as soon as you can. Similarly, if there is anything that worries you, seek advice from your doctor.

I'm Too Embarrassed For A Prostate Examination...

It is understandable that many men are shy about rectal examination, some are even opposed to the idea BUT if it's a matter of catching cancer in time, a prostate examination is just as important as checking for testicular cancer or breast cancer. Rectal examination is the quickest and easiest method of checking the prostate and only needs doing once a year once you are over the age of 50. Keep in mind that when visiting the doctor, he or she has performed this procedure many times before and they'll think nothing of examining you. If you are worried about your prostate, don't ignore it and please go to your doctor.

It Burns When I Urinate...Is This Prostate Related?

It could be. A painful burning sensation whilst urinating could also be a sign of bladder stones. Men with an enlarged prostate are more likely to develop these. Sometimes a urinary infection will inflame the prostate gland, causing a condition called Acute Prostatitis. The symptoms of prostatits include difficulty urinating, urgency to urinate and a burning feeling whilst urinating. Sometimes urinary infections and burning feelings are a sign of a sexually transmitted disease such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea so it's always best to get it checked out by your doctor.

How Do I Keep My Prostate Healthy?

Whether or not you a develop a prostate problem depends on age and genetic background which is something we cannot change. However the likelihood of developing an enlarged prostate is also linked to diet and well-being. Men who eat a diet high in fat and hydrogenated oil, refined sugars/carbohydrates, excess salt, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods, increase their chance of developing prostate problems in later life. To decrease this likelihood, re-think your dietary needs. Cut down on unhealthy foods and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses, fresh oily fish and whole grain foods (replacing refined white bread and white pasta).

How Old Do I Need To Be Before I Need To Start Worrying?

50% of men over 50 will experience prostate related problems. By the age of 80 years, 90% men will have experienced a prostate related problem. The prostate is typically an age related issue, although race and family history play a large part too. It is recommended to have the prostate checked regularly once you are in your 40's. However, if you are younger and would like peace of mind, prostate checks can be done earlier.

What Treatments Are There For Prostate Problems?

If symptoms are mild, it might be a case of making minor dietary changes and careful monitoring from the doctor. (dietary suggestions are mentioned in the question above).
If you have been diagnosed with an enlarged prostate there are 3 different routes to take to receive treatment. Medicines prescribed by the doctor such as finasteride or tamsulosin, surgical procedures or plant extracts. Saw Palmetto is believed to be one of the plant extracts that benefit the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

There are treatments for prostate cancer and in many cases cancer can be prevented from spreading if it is caught early enough. Prostate cancer treatments include; radiotherapy, cryotherapy and surgery.

How Does Saw Palmetto Support Prostate Health?

Saw Palmetto has been well documented to relieve the symptoms of an enlarged prostate (BPH). Saw Palmetto contains a fatty acid compound that is able to reduce the size of the prostate. Many prefer to take Saw Palmetto because there are no unpleasant side effects, like those experienced with prescribed medication.
An enlarged prostate is caused by hormonal changes. The enzyme 3-ketosteroid reductase encourages the production and binding of DHTs (DihydroTestosterone) to receptors within the gland. This is what causes the gland to increase in size. Saw Palmetto prevents this from happening which reduces the amount of DHT produced. This results in an alleviation of swelling in the prostate.

Do Women Have A Prostate?

Women do not have a prostate gland. They do however have a tiny Skene's gland connected to the urethra at the entrance to the vagina. This gland is sometimes nicknamed the female prostate. It releases a watery liquid when sexually aroused. Women cannot develop the equivalent to prostate cancer.
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