A healthy prostate

by ir. Yvana van den Hork

A man's prostate gland usually starts to enlarge after he reaches 40 years of age. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The condition has also been referred to as benign prostatic hypertrophy.

The prostate gland secretes a fluid that helps to nourish sperm. The gland itself surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out through the tip of the penis. As the prostate grows larger, it may press on the urethra. This narrowing of the urethra can cause some men with prostate enlargement to have trouble with urination. Prostate enlargement may be the most common health problem in men older than 60 years of age.

The prostate gland, which is normally about the size and shape of a walnut, wraps around the urethra between the pubic bone and the rectum, below the bladder. In the early stage of prostate enlargement, the bladder muscle becomes thicker and forces urine through the narrowed urethra by contracting more powerfully. As a result, the bladder muscle may become more sensitive, causing a need to urinate more often and more suddenly.

The prostate grows larger due to an increase in the number of cells (hyperplasia). However, the precise reason for this increase is unknown. A variety of factors may be involved, including androgens (male hormones), estrogens, growth factors and other cell signaling pathways.

As the prostate grows larger and the urethra is squeezed more tightly, the bladder might not be able to fully compensate for the problem and completely empty. In some cases, blockage from prostate enlargement may cause repeated urinary tract infections and gradually result in bladder or kidney damage.

Many men with an enlarged prostate have no symptoms. Some of the symptoms of BPH are a frequent urge to urinate, increased frequency of urination at night, trouble starting a stream of urine, a weak urine stream, continued dribbling of urine, and a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying.

As a form of prevention, men with a high vitamin D status, a healthy body weight and blood sugar level have lower occurence of prostate problems as both obesity and diabetes is associated with enlarged prostate. If you aren't active yet, get started as along with helping to maintain a healthy body weight, being active is also good for overall health.

Natural home remedies for an enlarged prostate are the use of supplements such as zinc, lycopene, stinging nettle, and defined pollen extract.
If you already experience problems, start doing kegel exercises. Most women who've been pregnant will be familiar with them already, but aging men can do them too.

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