Understanding Your Prostate
In this day and age, with internet and science breaking all the boundaries of knowledge and access to information, it’s astounding how few men know anything about their prostate.
In 1997, when we first formulated P8 (then named Prost-8), we were astounded how many men tried the product because they saw the headling “Nightly Trips to the Bathroom?”.
Most men thought they had bladder problems due to the frequent and urgent nature of their need to pee.
Knowledge is power, so read on and understand the mechanics of what’s going on in your body and the importance of immediate action if you have any of these symptoms.
Regardless of the method of treatment you wish to pursue, you will need a PSA blood test and a DRE (digital rectal exam) to identify the cause of your symptoms.
The prostate is a gland that is located just underneath the bladder. As you can see in the diagram, it surrounds the urethra (the ‘plumbing’ that connects the bladder and penis) through which a man urinates.
The prostate is therefore vital to proper bladder control and urine flow-rate control.(1)
The prostate is also essential for normal sexual function. It is the gland of ejaculation, supplying 95% of the seminal fluid, plus the power to expel it through the urethra and out of the penis.(2)
The normal prostate in an adult man is about the size of a walnut. Its size often increases over time, however, particularly once a man gets beyond age 40.
Because the urethra runs right through the middle of it, a growth spurt of the prostate will squeeze the urethra and begin to choke off the urinary flow. This can effect the ability to urinate and perform sexually.(3)
BPH: The Pressure’s On…
Imagine if you will, the effect of an enlarged prostate: Make a fist with your left hand. Now insert your right index finger into the middle of your clenched fist.
Your index finger represents the urethra, and your fist represents the prostate gland.
Now squeeze your fist!!
This is what happens when your prostate enlarges!
Benign Prostate Hypertrophy (BPH) is the medical name for this condition of a swollen prostate.
It often brings with it a host of unpleasant and sometimes debilitating symptoms, which may include any or all of the following:
- Need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Sudden, uncontrollable urges to urinate
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
- Inability to urinate (difficulty starting or stopping)
- A burning sensation or pain when urinating
- Pain in lower back, pelvis, or upper thighs
- Reduced sexual ability
- Painful orgasm
- Discomfort during intercourse
The Prostate Years …
BPH appears to develop as a result of hormonal changes that occur with age.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone, and is essential for many of the more “manly” traits, such as a lively libido, good muscle mass, and so on!
The enzyme, 5-alpha-reductase, is used to turn testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which plays a vital role in the development of a normal male foetus and the pubescent development of normal male sexual characteristics.
These are good things!
But, somewhere around the age of 40, another phenomenon occurs and the enzyme, 5-alpha-reductase, seems to kick into ‘overdrive’.
This enzyme converts the already declining levels of testosterone into excessive amounts of dihydrotestosterone which, although good for young men, has some decidedly negative consequences for a man in his forties: it can make your hair fall out and your prostate enlarge!(4,5)
Although BPH is not a dangerous condition in and of itself, it can lead to other potentially serious conditions:
For example, BPH can prevent the bladder from being completely emptied which allows bacteria to collect, and can cause prostatitis – otherwise known as a bladder infection. Left untreated, such an infection can progress to the urethra and kidneys.
Beyond that, urine can be retained in the blood, a very toxic and dangerous situation.
50% of men in their 50’s, and 70% of men in their 60’s, have some degree of prostate enlargement.
Other research has shown that, even by the age of 30, up to 25% of men have some prostate cancer cells present.
Prostate cancer, the most common form of cancer among men, can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).(6)
Most Men Die WITH it,
Not OF it…
Cancer cells are pretty much inevitable in the prostates of men who live to their 70’s and 80’s. But dying of prostate cancer isn’t. (7)
In their Special Report, “Clues to Prostate Cancer,” the Nutrition Action Healthletter stated the following regarding this rather perplexing disease:
“It’s not just older men who have prostate cancer cells. In autopsies of men who die of other causes, a third of those… over 30 have microscopic clusters of prostate cancer cells,” says William Fair, chief of urology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “What keeps some of them microscopic and stimulates others to growth so that they take a life, we don’t know.”
“Even if there is cancer there, if it doesn’t grow, it doesn’t matter,” says Warren Heston, also of Sloan-Kettering.
However, it should not be ignored. Prostate cancer is the second highest cancer killer of men in the U.K. (behind lung cancer), accounting for about 10,000 deaths each year in the UK alone.
And the numbers are rising faster than any other form of cancer. It is a condition that you should be aware exists, and is prevalent, but in most cases does not come with an automatic death sentence.
If you are over the age of 40 – and/or if you have any concerns at all about your prostate – almost all the experts recommend a P.S.A. (Prostate Specific Antigen) test.
The PSA test measures the blood level of a protein produced by all prostate cells.
Although this test is limited in the information it can give, it does seem to be able to identify whether or not there is a problem.
According to Time Magazine:
“… The prostate begins to enlarge, and the growing number of cells contribute to what is generally a steady but slight rise in the PSA count. But if prostate cells become cancerous and begin multiplying, the PSA level jumps dramatically.”
The other critical test – as unpleasant as it may sound and be – is a DRE (digital rectal exam). This test is vital, in conjunction with the PSA test, to check for cancerous growth. Any lumps or deformity detected in this exam may indicate cancer and should lead to an immediate biopsy.
It is also advisable to have your urine flow rate tested. Either your GP can administer this test, or you can purchase your own urine flow meter from a pharmacist.
Testing the flow rate yourself provides a valuable monitor of your progress as treatment continues.
What your Doctor May Not Tell You…
Beware of your GP’s – not because they mean you harm, but because they often discredit the ‘natural route’.
Generally speaking, orthodox doctors consider drugs and surgery as the only ‘medically approved’ treatments for prostate disorders (and most other disorders).
Very few will even consider prevention and/or treatment that’s based on nutrition and food supplements. [This is rather akin to a mechanic trying to fix a seized car engine – instead of preventing the problem with regular oil top-ups.]
In The Sunday Times, an article by medical correspondent, Lois Rogers, stated that,
“Thousands of men suffering from prostate cancer are undergoing unnecessary operations and being treated with outdated toxic drugs because of medical ignorance.”
Johnathon Waxman, a cancer specialist from Hammersmith Hospital, London was quoted in the same article as saying,
“…one of the drugs they [specialist surgeons] are giving, was recognised 30 years ago as causing liver damage, heart attacks, strokes and breast swelling, and has been banned in some European countries.”
Most of the drugs prescribed for BPH have been shown to be only marginally effective.
Many also have quite debilitating side effects and, although most doctors will readily prescribe them, they will rarely inform you of the drawbacks associated with their use: Most are slow to take effect, if they ever do. Many have significant side effects, including but not limited to, reduced libido and poor sexual performance.
What About the Knife?
As regards surgery for prostate cancer, Waxman, once again speaks out. He states that 70% of patients become impotent (unable to achieve a erection or orgasm) after surgery, and 40% become incontinent (unable to control bladder movements).
In his words, “It is outrageous that men are undergoing a barbaric operation without any evidence that it offers an advantage.”
For those diagnosed as having prostate cancer, many experts now recommend the Swedish approach to treatment: ‘watchful waiting’.
This approach, as the name would suggest, means keeping a close eye on any signs of the disease progressing, but holding off on extreme treatments such as drugs, surgery, and chemotherapy – unless absolutely necessary.
In his Special Report, The Prostate Report (Phillips Publishing, 1994), Dr. Julian Whitaker says of this passive form of treatment:
“They’ve found almost no difference in survival rates, and the quality of life of those treated in this way is obviously superior.”
For instance: Statistics show that a healthy 60-year old man has an average life expectancy of another 18 years. A 60-year old man with prostate cancer, who does NOT have prostate surgery, has a life expectancy of another 16 years, while a 60-year old man with prostate cancer who DOES have surgery has a life expectancy of another 17 years.(10)
Not much in it, is there?
So, the overall consensus seems to be: Don’t rush off to the surgeon without carefully weighing up your alternatives first.
In his book, Prostate Troubles (Thorsons, 1988), Leon Chaitow, ND,DO says:
“Preventive measures… will almost certainly stop the gland degenerating from simple enlargement to a state of malignancy, [although] such a progression is by no means inevitable…”
Prevention & Treatment ─
The Natural Way:
More and more doctors are coming to believe that an enlarged prostate can be treated or deterred by feeding the body the nutrients it lacks.
For example, Dr. James Balch, specialist in urology, says:
“The pain and discomfort of most prostate disorders could be avoided with the proper nutritional adjuncts. Even those suffering from enlarged prostates respond very quickly to nutritional therapies.”
Dr. Peter Mansfield (MA,MB,B.Chir,Cert.GAM,MIPsi.Med) states:
“We know that some nutrients, foods and herbs influence prostate enlargement and some of them may also influence cancer spread or development. In the absence of any firm reason to the contrary, it makes common sense to take advantage of safe nutritional influences which may deter prostate enlargement or prostate cancer.”
Dr. Hans Kugler, author of the top-selling book, Slowing Down the Ageing Process, concurs:
“Research clearly indicates that prescription drugs are not nearly as effective in treating prostate disorders as is the process of correcting the organ’s nutritional deficiencies, which increase with age.”
So, here’s how you treat your prostate problems – naturally: READ MORE
1 “Modified Citrus Pectin.” Healthy & Natural Journal.
2 Whitaker, Julian, MD., The Prostate Report. Phillips Publishing, Maryland, USA, 1994.
3 Healthy & Natural Journal, Op cit.
4 Whitaker, Julian, MD., Op cit.
5 Thigpen, A.E., et al. “The molecular basis of steroid 5-alpha-reductase in a large Dominican kindred.” New England Journal of Medicine, October 22, 1992; 327 (17); 1216-1219.
6. “Modified Citrus Pectin.” Op. Cit.
7 “Special Report: Clues to Prostate Cancer.” Nutrition Action Healthletter, March 1996 p.12.
8 Time Magazine, April 1, 1996, p.59.
9 Chaitow, Leon. Prostate Troubles. Thorsons, London 1988.
10 Whitaker, Julian, MD., Op cit.