PROTECTING YOUR PROSTATE

You might notice a whole lot more men growing moustaches during the month of November, that's just one of the ways the Movember organisation uses to spark conversation and raise funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems. In recognition of this special month of Movember, we asked Dr Yesheen Singh to give us the basics on the prostate. 
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland. It's found in men, just below the bladder. The urethra, a tube that connects bladder to penis, passes through the prostate on it's way to the penis. It produces the bulk of the liquid present in semen, released when a man orgasms. This liquid nourishes and protects sperm. It is also very sensitive to touch, accessed through the anal canal, with many sexual health specialists declaring it the male equivalent of the female G-spot. The prostate is a hormone-sensitive gland ' that means it changes its size and level of functioning depending on the levels of testosterone and oestrogen in the body. What can go wrong?  Because of its tucked-away location, problems with the prostate are often missed or misinterpreted. Problems either relate to infections or enlargement. Infections of the prostate, also called prostatitis, will usually lead to sensitivity, frequent urination and pain on ejaculation. These are most often from either bacterial or viral infections. Enlargement is either benign (BPH), where it is simply an overgrowth of tissue from hormonal imbalances, or may be cancerous. Only a tissue biopsy can differentiate between the two. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate include: trouble starting urination or a sense of urgency when urinating urination more frequently than normal, especially at night while urinating the stream either stop-starts in a fluctuating pattern or is a strain to produce 6 ways to safe-guard your prostate   The prostate is part of your endocrine gland system, which also includes your thyroid, testes, adrenal and pancreas gland. What affects one will affect, in one way or another, all the other glands in this system. Keeping a healthy balanced body will support a healthy balanced prostate gland.  1. EXERCISE Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are both essential. Research shows that exercise has a particularly positive benefit on the prostate, that's because of increased blood and nutrient flow through the gland during exercise.  2. DIET  Diet plays a central role in keeping your prostate healthy. Foods rich in anti-oxidants are important. They provide nutrients needed to produce the fluid for sperm preservation. They also help the body mop up and get rid of any stray pre-cancerous cells that may be lurking around. Include vegetables and fruit from every colour of the rainbow, especially the reds and greens. The lycopene in tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruit and guava's are important, as are the isothiocyanates in broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts.  3. ADD NUTRIENTS  Specific nutrients good for prostate health are zinc and selenium. Zinc can be found in high doses in oysters, crabs, wild game, spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds, cashews, raw cocoa, mung beans, clams and mushrooms. A great source of selenium comes from Brazil nuts, but it's also found in herring, shellfish, eggs, sunflower and sesame seeds, cashews and garlic.  4. AVOID SOY Soy is not the health food we are led to believe it to be. It contains fake oestrogen, called xenoestrogen, that upsets your internal hormone balance causing oestrogen dominance - not good for both men or women. This has a cascading negative effect on your testes, muscle activity, adrenal gland, liver health and prostate resilience. When choosing plant-based protein or milk options, go for soy-free varieties made from hemp or pea.  5. STOP SMOKING One of the most important changes you can make to help keep your prostate healthy is to stop smoking. Stopping smoking can be a life-changing or life-saving decision. Men who smoke have a 61% increased risk of dying from prostate cancer than those who don't smoke. Speak to your general practitioner about ways to quit the habit for good. 6. GET CHECKED Importantly, if you have a family history of prostate cancer - have an annual check to screen any potential cancerous growth. Prostate cancer is more often than not a slow-growing cancer but there are aggressive varieties that require biopsy to diagnose. Hopefully, by following the advice above, you won't need to. did you know? Movember is a leading global organisation committed to changing the face of men's health. They've funded over 800 programmes in 21 countries that are saving and improving the lives of men affected by prostate and testicular cancer.   For more about Dr Yesheen Singh log onto www.healthnation.co.za

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