Category Archives: Prostate Health
Red grapes that are primarily used in making red wine contain resveratrol, which lies in the skin of grapes. Resveratrol shows antioxidant activity, but also seems to have anti-cancer properties that help in promoting prostate health.
How is Red Wine Good for Prostate
According to June 2007 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch, consuming at least 4 glasses of red wine every week may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by half.
The study published in the International Journal of Cancer traced the type of alcohol consumed by two groups, with over 700 men in each group. One group consisted of men affected with prostate cancer, while the second group had healthy individuals. The study showed a remarkable decrease in prostate cancer risk in people taking red wine. One glass of red wine contains 4 ounces. Researchers found that men who took four to seven glasses of red wine per week slashed their risk by a whopping 48%. Men who consumed just 1 glass of red wine every week carried 6% lower risk of prostate cancer.
The study also revealed that increased intake of red wine (up to 8 glasses every week) reduced the chances of getting aggressive cancer by 61%. Aggressive cancer is one of the most severe forms of cancer in which the cancerous cells spread rapidly. Thus, the study shows that red wine further slashes the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. This indicates that red wine consumption provides more effective protection against severe forms of cancer.
Effective Medical Treatments
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are more potent against prostate cancer cells when the treatment is complemented with resveratrol, an important ingredient found in red wine. From previous studies it was proved, that bringing prostate cancer cells in contact with a specific dose of resveratol make them extremely sensitive to chemotherapy. Researchers were keen to find out whether this effect also holds true for radiation. A study reported in the Journal of Andrology and Cancer Science, did prove that exposure of prostate tumor cells to resveratrol, and the subsequent radiation therapy that followed, destroyed up to 97% of tumor cells, including the aggressive type of cancer cells.
Proteins in cancer cells play a key role in the destruction of tumor cells. It is observed that the amount of proteins present in prostate cancer cells is small. However, due to the combination treatment, the activity of proteins rose dramatically, which led to widespread wipe out of tumor cells.
The research does show that tumor cells are more responsive to radiation/chemotherapy when combined with resveratrol. The combination treatment seems to be more efficacious than chemotherapy or radiation alone.
Although the study points out the effectiveness of resveratrol in killing cancer cells, using it along with prostate cancer treatment is not feasible. This is because the amount of resveratrol required to destroy cancer cells is substantially high, and so taking resveratrol in such large doses can cause a wide range of side effects.
On the whole, the research does reveal that intake of red wine and prostate health go well together. Still, drinking red wine in moderation is a must to reap its benefits, as observed by the researchers. Heavy consumption of red wine (more than 8 glasses every week), is detrimental to health and hence, excess intake should be avoided.
Types of Prostatitis
There are four types of prostate infections — acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, chronic nonbacterial prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.
Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
Causes: There can be several causes of a prostate infection, depending on the specific type. As the name suggests, acute bacterial prostatitis is caused by bacterial infection, and is marked by the inflammation of the prostate. The infection in the large intestine, urinary bladder, and other parts of urinary tract can spread to the prostate gland and cause an infection. It accounts for almost 5-10% of the total cases of prostatitis.
Symptoms: The symptoms of this particular type are frequent urination, urinary tract infection (UTI), pain in the genital and pelvis area, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and a burning sensation while urinating. This condition, if left untreated, may cause low blood pressure, confusion, and might be fatal in few extreme cases. Delay in treating this condition may also lead to a few serious complications, like pus formation in the prostate, bladder infection, prostate enlargement with tenderness and irregularity; in severe cases, the urine flow might get blocked completely.
Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis
Causes: The causes of chronic bacterial prostatitis are not exactly known, but it is suspected that this disease can be caused by a previous case of bacterial infection of the prostate gland and frequent occurrence of UTI. Hence, it has been surmised that some of the bacteria can remain in the gland after such an infection, and their reactivation can cause this ailment.
Symptoms: Most symptoms of this condition are similar to that of acute bacterial prostatitis, but the severity and intensity is comparatively less. A few other indicants for chronic prostatitis are pain in the back, testes and other reproductive organs, and joint and muscle pain, with mild fever.
Chronic Nonbacterial Prostatitis
Causes: The exact causes of nonbacterial prostatitis are not known, but infectious agents other than bacteria, like viruses and parasites are suspected to be the cause. There are two types of chronic nonbacterial prostatitis — inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Studies suggest that this inflammation can be caused by the reverse flow of urine from the bladder to the prostate gland. This can be due to certain activities like horse riding, cycling, and lifting very heavy objects, especially when the bladder is full. According to medical estimates, about 90% of the cases of prostatitis are caused by unknown factors. Sometimes, infection and abnormalities in the structure of the urinary tract can also be the possible cause, especially the non-bacterial one. This specific type of prostatitis is often confused with interstitial cystitis (chronic inflammation of the bladder).
Symptoms: This type of prostatitis infection shows symptoms similar to acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis, and these indicants may disappear and return without any specific warning.
Asymptomatic Inflammatory Prostatitis
Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis is characterized by inflammation of the prostate gland, and it does not produce any specific symptom. Neither does this condition have an identified infectious cause, nor do the affected patients feel any chronic pain, unlike the above-mentioned types. Only when the prostate is biopsied for other ailments (possibility of cancer, infertility or elevated PSA, i.e., prostate specific antigen), white blood cells are found in the urine.
Various Diagnostic Methods
Prostate infections are usually diagnosed by a physical examination of the organ, as an enlarged and firm or tender prostate can indicate a possible case of infection. Urine analysis, blood culture, ultrasound, CT scan and MRI are carried out to confirm the diagnosis. Besides these, there are several other tests which involve the examination of urine samples collected before and after a prostatic massage. These conditions are mainly treated with antibiotics. However, they are not effective in curing the non-bacterial type of prostatitis, and therefore, treatment is mainly individual-specific.
In addition to the treatment, it is very important to drink plenty of water, avoid certain strenuous activities like horse riding, cycling, biking and jogging, to prevent any further occurrence of this condition, and also to maintain prostate health.
The prostate gland’s main function is adding volume to semen; about 50-70 percent of semen is made up of prostate secretions. But due to its location – it is situated below the urinary bladder, and surrounds the urethra – its maladies severely affect the urinary system.
The most common prostate problems are prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostate cancer. All of these can be prevented, delayed, or at least alleviated, by strengthening the muscles in the hips and lower abdomen, and improving circulation in those areas.
Several yoga poses can help in strengthening the aforementioned muscle sets and, like any exercise, improving blood flow. Here are some of the easiest and the most effective.
DISCLAIMER: This article is meant as a guideline, and not as a replacement to medical advice. Professional medical advice should be sought before starting any exercise routine. In the case of yoga, it is imperative to consult your doctor – especially if you have a preexisting spinal or cardiac condition.
Yoga Poses For Prostate Health
One of the most basic poses, this one isn’t even strictly part of any yoga routine, but can help massively in relieving the stress on the muscles in the hips and lower back.
Lie on your back, and pull your knees towards your chest. Don’t lift your upper body, and concentrate on moving the legs towards the chest, and not the other way round. This exercise relieves the pressure on the lower back, and stretches the muscles in the hips and thighs, improving circulation in the area.
Navasana (Boat Pose)
This asana is named after the superficial resemblance of the practitioner to the shape of a boat.
Lie on your back. Lift both legs and arms simultaneously and without bending. This asana can be done in two ways: paripurna (complete) navasana, and ardha (half) navasana. If performing the former, maintain an angle of about 45 degrees between your upper and lower body; increase the angle to about 60-75 degrees if doing the ardha navasana.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
As in the boat pose, the name of this asana derives from the superficial resemblance of the practitioner to a stretched bow (dhanu means ‘bow’ in Sanskrit).
Lie on the floor facing downwards. Grasp your legs with your hands, and raise yourself into the bow pose. Engage the abdominal muscles to support the shape.
This asana is beneficial to the spine, and improves circulation in the abdomen and hips.
Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose)
Stand erect. Stretch one leg forward, and adopt a stance similar to a lunge. Lift your hands either side of your head, and if possible stretch them behind.
This asana, with the backward stretching motion of the spine, is particularly helpful for spinal health, and also confers the same benefits as a lunge.
Stand erect. Bend down, and extend your arms as far down your legs as you can, while keeping your legs straight. If you can’t reach the toes, don’t stretch beyond your capability.
This asana stretches the hamstring, the calves and increases blood flow into the sacral region.
This asana is much like a push up, and takes its name from the number of points where your body touches the floor: ashta means eight in Sanskrit, and anga means body parts.
Take up a plank position. Lower yourself into the ‘low’ position of a push up, and raise your hips above your chest and knees. Your body should be touching the floor at the chin (1), chest (1), palms (2), knees (2), and toes (2).
Prostate problems can range from irritating to fatal. The best cure, as always, is prevention. Practicing yoga will help you do just that. Combined with the right diet, regularly performing these yoga poses can improve your health no end.
Prostate Gland Functions
The prostate is an important gland of the reproductive system in males. It is located just below the urinary bladder, surrounding the urethra, and is roughly the size of a walnut. This gland performs the function of secreting an alkaline fluid that mixes up with the spermatozoa to form seminal fluid. It constitutes about 50 – 75% of the seminal fluid. The alkalinity of the semen enhances the life of the sperm cells in the acidic vaginal tract, and hence improves the chances of fertilization. The prostate gland is partly muscular, which helps in discharging semen during ejaculation. These muscles also help control the flow of urine, and prevent urination during sexual intercourse. It also plays an important role in male sexual response.
Prostate massage can be performed on your own, but it can also be performed by your health practitioner, or your sexual partner. Although the procedure may seem awkward to some men, prostate massage can be really helpful to those suffering from any type of prostate related complications. There are three ways of performing a prostate massage – external, internal, and using a prostate massage device.
External Prostate Massage
The prostate gland can be massaged externally by massaging the strip called the perineum, that lies between the root of the penis and the anus. The prostate gland is situated right above the perineum. To begin the process, make sure your nails are clean and trimmed. Using the pads of your fingers, run through the entire length of the perineum to find a slight depression on its surface. This depression is the area you need to massage in order to stimulate the prostate. Run your fingers back and forth over this area to stimulate the prostate gland. This method may result into an ejaculation. If you experience any pain during the massage, know that you are doing it wrong, and stop immediately.
Internal Prostate Massage
Before you begin the internal prostate massage, make sure your hands are clean and your fingernails are trimmed. If required, perform a bowel movement before you begin. Now wear a sterile latex glove and apply a water-based lubricant to your fingers. Slowly insert your finger into your rectum through your anus, and move it gradually upwards for about two to three inches in the direction of the navel. You should be able to reach your prostate gland, which will feel like a soft mass of round tissue. Gently stroke the gland along its sides in a wave-like motion, and make sure to avoid the central part of the prostate gland. The central part contains sensitive nerves that may get damaged due to a vigorous massage or due to the tip of the nails. Again, this massage may result in an ejaculation, and if there is any pain experienced, stop immediately.
Using Prostate Massage Devices
There are several products available in the market for performing a prostate massage. These devices allow for a hands-free experience, and are usually easier to use. Internal prostate massage devices works on the sphincter muscles to massage the prostate. External prostate massage devices massage the prostate externally by working on the perineum.
Benefits of a Prostate Massage
➤ Prostate massage has been found to be helpful in diagnosis as well as treatment of many diseases related to sexual health.
➤ It has been widely accepted and used as an alternative therapy for curing prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate gland.
➤ Prostate massage can help cure impotence and erectile dysfunction, by promoting the flow of seminal fluid and improving blood circulation.
➤ This massage can help in preventing or curing prostate enlargement caused due to pressure buildup of seminal fluid in the prostate gland.
➤ It can improve the flow of urine that gets hampered due to the enlargement of the prostate gland.
➤ Prostate massage releases the congestion in the prostate gland, thereby reducing the chances of infections.
➤ Prostate massage leads to higher levels of testosterone, and may result in enhanced sexual experience.
The prostate gland is a soft internal organ in the body. Massaging it vigorously or damaging the sensitive nerves of the gland can have serious consequences. Vigorous prostate massage can lead to a blood poisoning condition called septicaemia. In those individuals suffering from prostate cancer, it can lead to the spread of the cancerous cells to other parts of the body. It may also lead to hemorrhoid problems like periprostatic hemorrhage. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that one seeks the advice and approval of a doctor before going in for this type of massage.