Prostate Problems

These include problems occurring in the prostate such as cancer, prostatitis or enlargement of the prostate.

What to look for

For an enlarged prostate:

  • difficulties in urination (including a weak or intermittent stream, getting up frequently at night, straining, dribbling, or inability to empty the bladder).

For acute prostatitis:

  • frequent, difficult urination.

  • a burning sensation or pain when urinating.

  • high fever.

  • aches and pains.

  • blood in the urine.

For chronic prostatitis:

  • frequent, difficult urination.

  • dull pain in the pelvis and genital area.

  • painful ejaculation and sexual dysfunction.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland found in males that surrounds the male urethra at the bottom of the bladder. It has a dual role - to produce an exact portion of the seminal fluid that carries sperm and to control the flow of urine from the bladder. Symptoms can be urinary or sexual in nature.

Prostate problems occur in two forms: enlargement of the prostate and prostatitis which is a bacterial infection. Prostatitis can be either acute sudden and severe or chronic, milder but persistent.

The signs of prostate enlargement generally appear after the age of 45. Typically, the first indication is a need to urinate at night, with the urge gradually increasing over time. Other urination problems may develop.

Prostate enlargement is extremely common and it is safe to say that most men will experience some form of it as they grow older. But always have this checked by your doctor as it can also be a sign of prostate cancer. (see prostate cancer entry).

A less common problem is prostatitis which can occur in younger men or without symptoms of enlargement. Acute prostatitis may produce fever, chills, and lower back pain. chronic prostatitis generally brings milder versions of those symptoms and may also cause painful ejaculation, urethral discharge, or sexual dysfunction.

Causes

The enlargement condition seems to worsen with age and is a result of decreasing levels of testosterone and increasing levels of other hormones in the blood. This results in the enlargement.

Prostatitis is usually the result of an infection that has spread into the prostate gland. The infection can be sexually transmitted.

Men are hesitant to have these conditions checked out and it is this that can cause the problems to become dangerous. If symptoms indicate prostate enlargement, a doctor will want to determine whether the growth of the gland is benign or malignant (prostate cancer).

Traditional Treatment

If you suffer from prostate enlargement consult your doctor about all the different options available.

Surgery is only used as a last resort and when there is no other option.

A course of antibiotics is usually successful in eliminating prostatitis.

Always do self checks to monitor the progress and to ensure that there are not other causes for concern. If you are in doubt always speak with your doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies -  Some herbs that may help include - saw palmetto and horsetail, anise, clivers, nettle, ginseng and couch grass for benign enlargements. (See Our Herbal Section)Some herbs that may help include - saw palmetto and horsetail, anise, clivers, nettle, ginseng and couch grass for benign enlargements. (See Our Herbal Section)

Homoeopathy - Numerous medications are available to the homoeopathic practitioner for treating prostatic enlargement and prostatitis.  You will need Professional Advice for which is best for you. Numerous medications are available to the homoeopathic practitioner for treating prostatic enlargement and prostatitis.  You will need Professional Advice for which is best for you.

Dietary Considerations

Good nutrition and lifestyle may help the prostate enlargement.

  • Zinc - oysters, wheat bran, whole oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.

  • Vitamins C and E may promote prostate health.

  • The amino acids glycine, alanine, and glutamic acid

  • Essential fatty acids - ask our pharmacist for advice.

Prevention

To prevent a recurrence of chronic prostatitis and promote prostate health:

  • Take warm baths.

  • Drink more water.

  • Avoid prolonged bicycle riding, horseback riding, or other exercises that irritate the region below the prostate.

  • Take supplements of zinc and vitamin C.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your symptoms lead you to suspect an enlarged or infected prostate.

In addition, an enlarged prostate can be a sign of cancer. (See Prostate Cancer.)