Updated: Jun 21, 2021
Oooooh hello gentlemen. It’s time to talk about prostate health - that fun gland that most of you likely dread getting checked. It’s quick and easy…and takes one finger and a poke to feel if your prostate is concerningly firm or lumpy to touch. But why is this such an essential part of a men’s wellness exam?
First let’s talk about what in the world the prostate does to make you more thankful for it: It’s main function is to produce fluid that helps transport, nourish, and protect sperm. So yes - it’s important! Especially if you are wanting to have children.
“But what if I’m past the age of having kids?”
Still important. Why? Along with semen production, your prostate also plays a large role in hormone production (hello testosterone) and helps regulate urine flow. This makes sense as to why the 5 Most Common Signs that Your Prostate is Enlarged (otherwise known as BPH - Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) includes:
Urinary troubles: Increased urinary frequency, Urinary urgency, Night urination, Trouble initiating urination (drop, drop, drop), Intermittent urination (start, stop, start, stop), Dribbling urination
Blood in urine or semen
Pain or burning on urination
Chronic low back, hip, pelvic, or upper thigh pain
So you have some signs of prostate troubles…now what? Step one is to give your doctor of visit for the dreaded DRE (digital rectal exam). Pants down for a second and a quick finger check…then you’re done! Promise. If your physician is concerned, you will be sent for a urine sample to check your PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels. This test gives a good indicator or prostate enlargement or cancer. If your numbers are concerning, you may be sent for an ultrasound which will show a picture of your prostate for greater clarity and/or to a urologist for a biopsy to rule out cancer.
Speaking of prostate cancer, it is being diagnosed like crazy in our world today! No need to fear. With increasing technology, we are catching cancer earlier and earlier. A large percentage of men have likely always had prostate cancer back in the day and never knew it! They also likely died from something else unrelated to their prostate (which should bring you a peace of mind). All to say, if you ARE diagnosed with prostate cancer, no need to fret! If you cancer is not causing you problems, most doctors take the “watch and wait” approach before resorting to surgery, radiation, or hormone therapy. That’s where we come into play!
There are loads of natural therapies that can improve your prostate. For our young guys, it’s never too early for prevention. We’ll let you in on some tips and tricks:
3 Foods for Prostate Health:
Rye Grass Pollen Extract - 500mg twice a day has been shown to help alleviate troublesome urinary symptoms
Low Carb, Vegetarian Diet - We promise you can make this enjoyable. Animal fats and simple carbs are THE WORST for your prostate. Talk to our integrative nutrition health coach for guidance on diet. She’s lovely. We promise you’ll enjoy working with her despite her recommendations to limit the steak.
Organic red grapes, peanuts, cocoa, blueberries, blackberries - What do these all have in common? Resveratrol: a plant compound that acts as a mega-antioxidant and has been shown to decrease prostate weight, cell proliferation, and prostate inflammatory markers. It’s a no-brainer. We think eating your vitamins is the best option but you are also supplement for ease sake with resveratrol capsules.
3 Natural Remedies to Increase Prostate Health
Stinging Nettles - Ever heard of stinging nettle or felt the sting of a leaf as you brushed by it while hiking in the woods? Fun fact for you - that seemingly aggressive plant may be just what your prostate needs to slow its growth! A study on stinging nettles (Utica dioca) revealed an inhibitory effect on prostate growth for men with BPH. If you want to save a buck and forage your own, just make sure to steam it before eating. It’s also packed with minerals! A solid 2-for-1. (4)
Acupuncture - We actually LOVE acupuncture for prostate problems. Don’t worry, no needles will be going into your prostate itself. Instead, bladder points can be found all over the body! Some of the most powerful bladder points are actually found on the back. But is it worth it? You tell us: Three trials of 4-6 week acupuncture sessions showed significant improvement in prostate symptoms scores. (5) If you want to give it a shot, our Doctor of Acupuncture is available for booking!
Exercise - It’s no surprise that exercise is beneficial for your prostate. It reduces oxidative damage, increases cardiovascular tone, and decreases blood sugar levels which (as mentioned in diet above) are detrimental to prostate health (6). In other words, get moving! We encourage exercises that also bring your joy. No one looks forward to an exercise they dread. Pick something fun! Skateboards, weight lifting, kick boxing, running in the park, dancing,…they all count! And if you want further guidance, our personal trainer who is coming on board in July would LOVE to help set a game plan for you. Inquire at info@IVYIntegrative.com to reserve a consult with Lauren Smith.
And last but not least, for an extra boost, here's our recommended Smoothie for Prostate Health:
1/2 cup berries
1 frozen banana
1 heaping TBSP of peanut butter
1TBSP nettle powder
1TBSP cocoa powder
2 cups water
Happy June Friends! Stay tuned for our next post on libido and erectile dysfunction.
Chelsea Leander ND, RH (AHG)