While women know that they will have to go through the menopause sooner or later, men do not know what is in store for them. They do not know that they will definitely be victims of a slow and progressive swelling of their prostate. They do not know that, if nothing is done, they will have to tell their doctor that they are becoming “impotent”, that they are losing their masculinity, and that urinary disorders are increasingly blighting their lives. It is therefore high time that men were informed and became proactive in dealing with this “disease”, which affects a very private aspect of their health.
The inexorable aging of the prostate
The prostate gland is the centre of the male reproductive system both anatomically and functionally. Made up of 20% muscle tissue and 30% cavities, the prostate plays a key role in the creation of semen, and is the centre of the hormonal system.
Its aging is the result of genetic and environmental factors to which the body is subject. This aging takes quite an unusual twist: the more years pass, the more the prostate grows. This enlargement is what medical literature calls benign prostatic hyperplasia
, formerly known as prostate adenoma. It is considered a benign disease and raises the question of normality: at what point does a set of symptoms become an illness rather than a normal situation related to the process of aging? After all, the statistics are very clear4
- At 40, you have about a 20% chance of being affected.
- At 60, this percentage increases to 70%.
- At 90, researchers agree that all men are affected by the “pathology”.
In other words, this supposed “illness” is an inevitable phenomenon in a man’s life. Whatever happens, and provided you live to be old, you will suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia. However, determining the age at which the symptoms of this disease and this “normal” process of aging will start to appear less clear. The above statistics show that some prostates age better than others
. If no one seems able to escape the disease, it still seems clear that we have certain room for manoeuvre when it comes to postponing its onset; to slow down the aging of the prostate and to protect it against the attacks it suffers throughout life. This time saving is very important because what matters when you live longer is being able to make use of your intellectual and physical faculties. We talk about life expectancy in good health, which has incidentally been decreasing for several years unlike simple life expectancy. And the least we can say is that benign prostatic hyperplasia contributes to this.
The uncomfortable symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy
The pathophysiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia is not yet well known, but we know it causes a number of uncomfortable symptoms6
- An unusually high frequency of urination, especially at night.
- Urinary incontinence due to urge incontinence (sudden urgent need to pass urine).
- Difficulty in starting to urinate.
- Weak urine stream.
- A urinary stream that stops and starts (straining while urinating).
- Dribbling at the end of urination.
- A sense that you cannot completely empty your bladder.
Symptoms related to erectile dysfunction
are also included. Semen accumulates under pressure inside the prostate just before ejaculation. This is why, in particular, an enlarged prostate causes sexual problems in men. Correlated with the gradual fall of testosterone (the level of testosterone produced by the testicles steadily declines with age, from 1 to 2% per year from the age of 401
), an enlarged prostate contributes to the appearance of the following symptoms:
• A decrease in muscle strength and muscle mass (the estimated loss is 40% between the ages of 20 and 80)2.
• A decrease in pubic and armpit hair.
• Increased sweating and hot flushes.
• A reduction in the size of the testicles.
• Impairment in all phases of sexual intercourse3:
- Obtaining an erection takes longer and requires greater stimulus.
- Reduced secretions that precede ejaculation (so-called pre-ejaculate).
- Shorter orgasms.
- The ejaculation of sperm is less voluminous and less forceful.
- The penis returns to normal size more quickly and the refractory period – the period following ejaculation during which an orgasm is impossible – is longer.
The first changes in the prostate occur at the age of 30
. However, these changes will not cause symptoms until the age of 50 in 1 in 2 men
. In people over the age of 60, voiding disorders account for almost 50% of health problems. Moreover, after this age, the most common intervention is prostatectomy (the removal of the prostate).
Alternative treatments that are not talked about
Ten years ago, there were essentially only two official treatments: monitoring and surgical treatment. Specifically, the usual procedure was to wait until the symptoms became unbearable before opting for surgical intervention, which was effective but burdened with side effects. Two drug therapies have now emerged. They reduce symptoms linked to benign prostatic hyperplasia... but cause others! Side effects include retrograde ejaculation
(into the bladder), loss of virility, and decreased semen volume
Herbal preparations are obviously the oldest form of “medication”, but their use remains controversial. Despite the publication of numerous articles that are recognised internationally, herbal treatments are not always included in the therapeutic arsenal offered by doctors. Who knows why?
The informed reader, however, knows that these herbal preparations are incredibly effective and have few side effects. Unfortunately, this type of reader is rare. The vast majority of men are content to listen passively to the media and to the advice of their family doctor. Protecting their independence and masculinity is not at all one of their priorities... until strange symptoms occur; the same symptoms we listed earlier. In the time it takes to acknowledge that there really is a problem and to decide finally to tell the doctor everything, the prostate will have grown even bigger and the symptoms will have become worse.
The doctor will examine you, and confirm that you have all the signs of benign prostatic hyperplasia. After some further examinations, which include the infamous rectal examination, he will know if you should be treated medically or surgically, or if you should wait until your symptoms worsen before they can do something for you. Some doctors, rare free thinkers in a medical profession that is turned in on itself, will tell you about a range of natural products. However, for the vast majority of people who will not have the benefit of receiving this advice, we feel we have a duty to tell you about them, with some scientific studies to support our case. Here is a selection of the top five herbal remedies for counteracting prostate enlargement and reducing the symptoms related to this aspect of aging.
- Saw palmetto berries. Dozens of studies have shown that saw palmetto significantly reduces the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. The berries are as effective as a number of drugs, but devoid of their side effects (and there are many!), and are therefore indispensable8-14.
- Pygeum. Pygeum, which is also known as African plum, is also indicated for relieving symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia. Since the 1970s, the scientific community has been awash with studies confirming this finding15.
- Beta-sitosterol. This type of phytosterol serves primarily to improve urine flow, thereby providing some relief16.
- Nettle root. Many studies have shown that nettle root, when taken as a standardised extract, relieves urinary problems linked to benign prostatic hyperplasia17-20.
If you have mild to moderate symptoms, or if you just want to take precautionary measures, you can benefit from any one of these of these natural products, or you can opt for a synergistic formula that contains them all, such as ProstaNatural Formula. To delay the onset of symptoms, you can also take a number of preventive measures:
- Ensure that you keep physically active
in a way that is in keeping with your condition. Physical inactivity contributes undeniably to benign prostatic hypertrophy21,22
- Adopt a responsible diet
. As you already know, diet plays a key role in the aging of the body and this also applies to the prostate. Eat an abundance of antioxidant-rich foods
(fruits, vegetables, nuts etc.) that are free of pesticides, and avoid excessive animal protein, sugar and saturated fats, which are known to accelerate aging.
- Take the time to empty your bladder completely every time you pass urine and opt for a sitting position if this does not make you feel uncomfortable. Establish a routine by giving yourself times in the day when you pass urine, for example at more or less fixed times (after waking up, after meals, etc.) or every four hours.
- Do not reduce your daily intake of water. However, you can spread your intake better by drinking less in the evening if you already have symptoms. Moderate your consumption of alcohol, which reduces the urge to pass urine, and coffee, which tends to inflate the prostate.
“You age as you have lived”
Prostate problems are particularly difficult for men over the age of 50. Most of these men regret not having taken the time to take care of this very discreet organ. When asked, they all say they thought that prostate problems affected only part of the male population, the unlucky few. If only they had known... And now that you know, are you going to look after your prostate?
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