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Prostate Problems
(Enlarged Prostate, Prostatitis, Prostate Cancer)
Facts, Disease Prevention, and Treatment Strategies

Prostate Problems Facts and Statistics

After a man hits puberty, his prostate gradually grows from roughly the size of a small marble to about the size of a golf ball.  Around age fifty and due to a variety of factors, it begins to grow again.The doughnut-shaped prostate gland surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine and semen through the penis) and is located below the bladder. This gland produces semen, which works to keep sperm lubricated and mobile, and aids the bladder in the flow of urine. After a man hits puberty, his prostate gradually grows from roughly the size of a small marble to about the size of a golf ball. Around age 50 and due to a variety of factors, his prostate begins to grow again. This increased growth can cause a variety of problems, most commonly Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) or an enlarged prostate, prostatitis, and even prostate cancer.

The specific cause of most of these problems is unknown although they may be related to hormonal changes brought on by aging. As a man ages an increased amount of hormones such as estrogen and prolactin decrease the rate at which testosterone and the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) into which testosterone is converted by 5-alpha-reductase are eliminated from the prostate. This excessive accumulation of DHT is thought to be responsible for the problems of the prostate gland.

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Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) or an enlarged prostate occurs when, in response to hormones such as testosterone, the cells in the inner core of the prostate gland grow and form fibrous nodules. These nodules put pressure on the urethrae causing pain and problems urinating. If left untreated BPH can lead to prostatitis, and in severe cases the bladder's inability to empty completely can cause infection to spread in the bladder and even to the kidneys, possibly causing kidney damage.

BPH will affect an astonishing 50% of men during their lifetimes. This means that if you have any symptoms of BPH you are definitely not alone; you just think you are because most men never speak of their discomfort. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate include the following:

  • A need to pass urine frequently
  • Pain, burning, difficulty in stopping and starting urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • A weak urine flow
  • Nighttime wakening to empty the bladder
  • A constant feeling that the bladder isn't completely empty

An enlarged prostate is diagnosed through a rectal examination, ultrasound, and a blood test.An enlarged prostate is diagnosed through a rectal examination, ultrasound, and a blood test. The prostate will be softer than normal and may be two to three times larger than normal. Unlike prostatitis, it will not be tender to the touch. A severe case of BPH may require the insertion of a catheter, the short-term use of an alpha-1 antagonist, or surgery (prostatectomy or removal of the prostate). To view Dr. Whiting's recommendations for a more natural and less dangerous approach to treating BPH click here.

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Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland that is usually caused by a bacterial infection that has spread from another part of the body. Prostatitis can develop suddenly as with acute prostatitis, or gradually build up over an extended period of time as with chronic prostatitis.

Acute prostatitis develops suddenly and is generally caused by a bacterial infection of the prostate brought on by e coli, certain sexually transmitted diseases or sexual contact with an infected person, a urinary tract infection, urethritis, epididymitis, urethral instrumentation, trauma, bladder outlet obstruction, or an infection elsewhere in the body. Acute prostatitis is more common in men aged 20-35, men with multiple sex partners and men who engage in high-risk sexual behaviors.

Symptoms of acute prostatitis may include:

  • Chills
  • Fever associated with lower abdominal discomfort or perineal pain
  • Pain and/or burning with urination, ejaculation, or a bowel movement
  • Urinary retention
  • Blood in the urine and/or semen
  • An increased need to urinate
  • Testicle pain

Unlike acute prostatitis, chronic prostatitis develops gradually, continues for a prolonged period of time, and may have subtler symptoms. Chronic prostatitis will develop from an acute prostatitis bacterial infection that keeps recurring or from a urinary tract infection, urethritis, or epididymitis. Chronic prostatitis is more common in men aged 30 to 50 and is thought to also be associated to hormonal changes of aging and also certain lifestyle influences (excessive alcohol drinking, perineal injury, certain sexual practices).

Symptoms of chronic prostatitis include:

  • A history of recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Lower back, perineal, pelvic floor, or testicular pain
  • Pain and/or burning with urination, ejaculation, or with a bowel movement
  • Blood in the urine
  • Incontinence
  • Abnormal urine color

Like an enlarged prostate, prostatitis is diagnosed through a rectal examination. Unlike the enlarged prostate however, the prostate infected with prostatitis is swollen, warm and very tender to any touch. Prostatitis is typically treated with antibiotics to fight the infection. If antibiotic treatment is unsuccessful, surgery (transurethral resection) may be done. This delicate surgery can cause sterility, impotence, and/or incontinence.

A more natural and less dangerous approach for treating prostatitis is contained in the book You Can Be Well At Any Age: Your Definitive Guide to Vibrant Health & Longevity by Dr. Whiting.   (click here for excerpt)

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Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer, a malignant growth in the outer zone of the prostate gland, is the most common form of cancer among men. This disease is most common in older men, with 80% of cases of prostate cancer occurring in men over age 65. African American men, men with a family history of prostate cancer or a history of venereal disease, men with recurring prostate infections, men who have taken progesterone, and men with a high-fat diet run the highest risk of developing prostate cancer.

Symptoms of prostate cancer may include:

  • Pain and/or burning with urination
  • Frequent urination
  • A decrease in the amount and power of urine flow
  • Blood in the urine
  • An inability to urinate which occurs when the urethra becomes completely blocked or when the cancer spreads to the bladder and ureters
  • Lower back, pelvic, or suprapubic pain caused by affected nerves or by the spread of the cancer to the bones

"If a man wants to stay out of the operating room and avoid cancer of the prostate, he needs to go full blast - to avoid the high-fat junk foods and environmental toxins that contribute to prostate problems and to start a wise nutritional program that includes the basic supplements that affect the prostate" [James Balch, M.D. & Urologist from "Healing with Vitamins"]
Prostate cancer may also be diagnosed by a rectal exam. Unlike with an enlarged prostate or prostatitis, the prostate diseased with cancer feels hard and knobby. An ultrasound scan of the prostate can also help with diagnosis.

Most men over 40 should have a blood test to detect elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). A PSA of 0 to 4 is considered normal. A PSA of 10 or higher is considered a possible indicator of prostate cancer, but the test should always be repeated since a variety of non-cancerous factors can influence the PSA level. Furthermore, the PSA test fails to detect almost one third of all prostate cancers, so other investigative tests should be considered.

If cancer is suspected after these tests, a tissue sample will be taken for further analysis. Once prostate cancer is definitely diagnosed a patient may have to undergo painful, dehabilitating, and costly surgery (where the entire prostate is removed or the cancerous segment is removed), radiation therapy, and/or hormone therapy to decrease testosterone levels in the body. To view Dr. Whiting's recommendations for a more natural and less dangerous way to prevent and treat prostate cancer click here. To view more general information and nutritional protocols for treating cancer click here.

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Prostate Problems Prevention and Treatment Strategies

Our Prostate Problems Disease Self-management Program will give you nutrient association information as well as other helpful lifestyle changes for managing the disease.

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