When they are young, men hardly notice their prostate, but as they get older it often causes problems. Then the chestnut-sized organ begins to grow slowly. How big it gets and whether cancer develops at some point depends on many factors – some of which men can influence. These tips help to keep the prostate healthy.
At some point, the prostate begins to grow in every man. In most cases, the organ becomes noticeable from the age of 50. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around half of those over 60 are affected. A weakened urinary stream, dribbling and a frequent urge to urinate are among the common symptoms of benign prostate enlargement (BPS).
Testosterone causes prostate to grow
Age-related changes in hormone balance are to blame for this prostate disease. According to the German Society of Urology (DGU), the sex hormone testosterone and its metabolite dihydrotestosterone are responsible for the growth. This leads to increased division of the prostate cells and consequently to an increase in size, which also affects the urethra: it becomes constricted and there are problems with urination. A typical symptom is dribbling at night.
Prostate cancer: most common type of tumor in men
The risk of prostate cancer also increases with age. According to estimates by the RKI, about 70,000 men develop a malignant tumor every year. Thus, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Germany. But what can you do for your prostate?
Prostate growth cannot be stopped
Although benign prostate enlargement cannot be stopped, the symptoms associated with it can be alleviated. It is best to see a urologist at the first signs. The earlier the visit, the easier it is to prevent subsequent symptoms such as inflammation, a thickened bladder wall or incontinence.
With the help of various examinations, the doctor can determine how much the prostate has already enlarged. Depending on this – and on the patient’s level of suffering – a suitable therapy is sought.
Relaxed muscles make urination easier
Drug treatment is one of the most common therapies. The task of most active substances is to relax the pelvic floor muscles and thus facilitate urination. But there are also drugs that reduce the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Men also repeatedly report the positive effect of pelvic floor training.
If none of this works, surgery can help, in which the doctor removes the excess tissue. Patients should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment with their doctor. Those who are unsure should seek a second opinion.
The right diet for a healthy prostate
A balanced diet with reduced meat consumption helps keep the prostate gland healthy. The following nutrients are particularly important:
1-Fiber: Go for whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits (cabbage, fennel, potatoes) and dried fruits.
2-Phytoestrogens: The plant hormones are abundant in carrots, tomatoes, lemons, garlic in onions.
3-Certain secondary plant compounds: These include, for example, lycopene found in tomatoes, corotinoids (carrots) and flavonoids (soft fruits, eggplants, soybeans).
4-Unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. they are abundant in salmon, sardines and trout.
The reason why plant estrogens in particular are good for the prostate is easily explained: the cause of the increase in size of the prostate gland is the male sex hormone testosterone and its metabolic product dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Phytoestrogens could gently slow down this transformation and thus prevent or at least slow down benign prostate enlargement. In addition, experts suspect that some phytoestrogens reduce the growth of cancer cells. Therefore, it makes sense that corresponding foods are more frequently on the menu.
Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand, which in many places are touted as a miracle cure for prostate problems, have no positive effect on the health of the prostate gland from a scientific point of view. At least, studies have so far been unable to prove any correlation. The same applies to complex remedies with nettle, saw palmetto oil (sabal extract) or vitamin B6.
Do not drink too much in the evening
You should drink about 1.5 liters per day, but preferably no more. Before going to bed one leaves the cup tea rather away, advises the institute for quality and economy in the health service (IQWIG) on its portal gesundheitsinformation.de. Dehydrating beverages with caffeine or alcohol should drink concerning only in moderation anyway. However, some studies suggest that occasional, moderate consumption of red wine may protect the prostate from disease.
Normal weight and exercise reduce prostate cancer risk
Men cannot act on the main risk factors for prostate cancer, which are age and genetic factors. Interventions in the hormone balance involve risks and the effect is disputed among experts. What can be influenced, however, is lifestyle.
According to the Cancer Information Service (KID) of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), studies indicate that being overweight increases the risk of developing the disease. The experts therefore advise to exercise a lot and to pay attention to a normal weight. It is the combination of both factors that helps keep the prostate healthy.
Lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle
The prostate depends on healthy blood flow to get fresh blood and oxygen to the area. A less active lifestyle leads to blood congestion and stagnation in the prostate. Therefore, those men have a greater risk of suffering from prostatic hyperplasia who spend most of the day sitting in an office or car. Passionate cyclists are also exposed to increased pressure on the groin area, which increases the risk of benign prostate enlargement in old age.
Hands off cigarettes and alcohol
It is better to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol: smoking increases the risk of developing prostate cancer. And alcohol consumption and prostate cancer are also obviously linked, according to the KID.
The German Cancer Aid (DKH) also warns against animal fats such as sausage and red meat. These should only be consumed in moderation. It is better to have a diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, it says. This benefits not only the prostate, but also general health.