Medicine 101 – Dr. Tara Macart
For many men, their prostate can be a sensitive subject. Keeping “privates” private may be difficult, though, if symptoms develop. So, getting a prostate assessment on a regular basis with your doctor is a good way to evaluate whether you are at risk of developing benign prostate hypertrophy, (BPH) or prostate cancer.
Symptoms that make one suspect a prostate problem are pain or discomfort, delayed urination, split stream urinary flow, or frequent urination at night. If these symptoms appear, a digital rectal exam and a PSA test could be done.
Having a digital rectal exam performed allows the prostate to be palpated. The physician is checking for any swelling, tenderness, distortions, or changes in density. Abnormalities on a digital rectal exam would be followed up with further diagnostics.
Another common indicator of prostate health is the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. This simple blood test provides a certain amount of information about the prostates health. However, some mistake PSA as an absolute indication of cancer. In some cases, elevated PSA is associated with underlying cancer, but not always. Often, elevations suggest a benign prostatic hypertrophy. This represents a health imbalance indeed, but thankfully less serious than cancer. A PSA reading between zero and 4 is considered within the reference range for normal.
The prostate is a round organ that sits just in front of the rectum and below the bladder. Because of its position, this organ is vulnerable to toxic accumulation of the neighbouring organs. I encourage men to make sure they regulate local inflammation in that zone.
Saw palmetto is a botanical medicine that is well known for supporting the prostate. Several mechanisms of action may be responsible for improving prostate symptoms. Much of its success may be due to its liposterolic content. This extract is known to inhibit the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme that converts testosterone into 5-alpha-dihydrotestosterone, which is five times more potent. Selenium, zinc and vitamin E are also classic prostate supportive nutrients.
Dietarily speaking, if you value your prostate, two things stand out in prostate health. First, avoid peanuts. Peanuts tend to harbour a fungus that produces a toxin in the body. This aflatoxin is harmful particularly to prostate cells. Secondly, cut back on dairy. Whether the risk is associated with the estrogen content, the amount of saturated fats, or something else, dairy consumption has been linked to increasing the risk of developing prostate cancer.
The Physician’s Health Study (1984-1994), tracked 20,885 men over eleven years. The Harvard researchers discovered that high consumption of dairy raised the risk of prostate cancer by 30%.
If you value your prostate and would like to keep your organs in your body for as long as possible, watch for these signs and address them with your physician. A good preventative medicine program could be outlined for you by your naturopathic physician to maximize your prostate health by maintaining integrity and function.