As usual, diet and exercise are key – even for your prostate.
“Do not go gentle into that good night.” In perhaps the most famous poem on ageing, Dylan Thomas’ asserts that wise men ‘rage against the dying of the light’.
A little attention and effort is all it takes to be wise about ageing and to actively oppose the loss of wellbeing and quality of life.
Yet some aspects of ageing are inevitable. For men that almost always includes enlargement of the prostate. Most men over 45 may experience some prostate enlargement, but many live symptom-free. But by the age of 60 up to 80% of men may experience some urinary interference due to prostate enlargement (see break-out box on right).
Awareness of prostate health is growing and many of us know something about the traditional treatments for issues.
Surgical removal of all or part of the prostate is common and while many men will experience a relief of symptoms, unwanted consequences frequently result – such as impotence. This should be a last resort. It is time to raise awareness and use of prevention and natural management of prostate enlargement.
Exercise is essential and specifically a routine known as Kegel exercises (see below). These are effective to improve and prolong urinary control, which manages many symptoms of enlargement. Importantly this improved control increases awareness of changes in prostate health and can increase early detection of symptoms, supporting early treatment and better long-term prostate health.
Wise men advise not to inflame a situation, which is good advice too for prostate health. Inflammation contributes to diseases including cancer and heart disease (another killer for Kiwi men). Stress, physical inactivity and dietary choice all contribute to inflammation.
Follow an anti-inflammatory diet (see right) and pay attention to food allergies or intolerance. Look for symptoms like indigestion, bloating, flatulence, lethargy, headaches, congestion after eating and eliminate foods causing these. A naturopath or clinical nutritionist can help with this. They can also advise of supplements and herbal remedies to fight inflammation; but be on the lookout for anti-oxidant rich supplements containing; curcumin from the spice turmeric, resveratrol, boswellia, lycopene, saw palmetto, stinging nettle and gotu kola, vitamins B, C, D and E, zinc, flax oil, selenium, coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid and omega 3.
Weight is also an inflammatory issue. Excessive body fat is toxic to our system and raises inflammation in the body. Restricting your waistline or what I call ‘belt-health’ is a key measure for preventive prostate care.
Daily exercise is important. Activity as simple as a morning or evening walk will be beneficial. Look for every chance you have to walk to the shop on that convenience run, take the stairs or leave the cart behind at golf.
Traditional treatments for enlarged prostate can be severe and carry consequences that compromise quality of life and all-round wellbeing. Prevention costs nothing but time and attention and brings with it many rewards.
Be wise and active to protect your prostate.