Everything You Need to Know About The Prostate
Prostate? Does it send chills down your spine? You shouldn't feel alarmed. The prostate gland is an essential body organ that helps in the male reproductive system. It is normal and healthy to have a prostate gland.
What should worry you is whether your prostate is healthy. The confusion most men have regarding the prostate as a health problem is understandable. Many men do not have proper information about the prostate as on organ and its vital functions in the body.
You need to be well informed about the prostate gland, its structure, functions, and any other vital information. Avoid being a victim of ignorance of what is happening to your body and especially your prostate gland.
Prostate health issues such as prostate cancer are prevalent among men in old age compared to other ages. Prostate cancer, on the other hand, is a more common type of cancer compared to different types of cancers.
One study of April 2019 on men prostate cancer statistics reported an estimate of 1,276,106 new prostate cancer cases in 2018. The study further indicated that developing countries ranked the highest among prostate cancer cases.
What is the Prostate?
The Prostate gland is a man's organ essential for the function of the urinary and reproductive system. It is the size of walnut while in the body of a young man. The gland later starts growing more significant at a man's age of late '40s to early '50s. The prostate gland has several functions in the reproductive system of a man.
The prostate gland is made up of 70% of epithelial tissues and 30% of stromal or fibromuscular tissue. It also provides 30% of the fluid in the seminal fluid volume.Prostate Gland - Function
The prostate gland is responsible for secreting some fluid known as prostatic fluid to protect and keep the sperm active. The fluid contains some minerals, proteins, and enzymes to nourish and set ready the sperms for the fertilization process.
In a man's sexual arousal, the prostate releases its prostatic fluid into the urethra to mix with the oncoming sperms and seminal vesicles fluids to make semen for ejaculation.
The prostatic fluid also assists the millions of sperms to travel comfortably and quickly through the urethra to the penis to be released out.
Another function of the prostate is to close off the urethra opening to prevent urination during ejaculation.
For proper functioning, the prostate gland involves hormones, testosterone, pituitary, and adrenal gland hormones.Prostate Gland Structure (Prostate Anatomy)
The prostate gland sits near the rectum at the penis's base next to the bladder. On the other side, it is next to the seminal vesicles.
The urethra transverses through the prostate to join the penile urethra.
Different kinds of tissues cover the prostate gland and the muscle fibers, making it feel like a sponge. A thin layer of some connective tissues called capsule spreads around the prostate.
The prostate has four zones which are:The Anterior Fibromuscular Stroma
The anterior fibromuscular stroma is at the apex of the prostate gland. The part has smooth muscle fibers with fibrous and dense connective tissue but without being glandular.The Transition Zone
The transition zone surrounds the urethra or prostatic urethra, and it is the smallest part of the prostate. The transition zone is the only part of the prostate that continues to grow as a man gets older. The area where the urethra passes through the prostate gland at the transition zone is called prostatic urethra.The Central Zone
The wedge-shaped part of the prostate is the called central zone. It sits next to the transition zone. The ejaculatory ducts start from seminal vesicles and pass through the central zone to join prostatic urethra.Peripheral Zone
The cup-shape and the large part of the prostate is the peripheral zone. It is the part the doctor feels when doing a digital rectal exam – DRE. The section contains most of the glandular tissue.Ejaculation Duct and the Urethra
The ejaculation duct from the seminal vesicle and the urethra both pass through the prostate gland to receive prostate gland fluid.The Capsule
The connective tissue in the form of a thin layer covers the prostate gland on the outer side of the anterior fibromuscular stroma.Prostatic Fluid
The prostatic fluid from the prostate contains some enzymes, minerals such as zinc, proteins, fructose, and citric acid. The content in the fluid nourishes and energizes the sperm to travel and reach the egg. The semen fluid contains some alkaline for pH balancing to protect sperms from acidic damage.
The enzymes and specifically prostate-specific antigen – PSA make the semen runnier to ease sperms movement towards the female eggs for fertilization.
Prostatic Health Issues
A prostate gland, just like any other body organ, is prone to diseases. Three most common prostate diseases are:
Prostatitis is an infection that causes inflammation to the prostate gland and the surrounding area, causing severe pain. The disease can also affect sexual activity due to painful ejaculation.
In the US alone, the prostatitis prevalence is approximately 2 million cases of people seeking outpatient services in a year.
Four types of prostatitis:
- Acute bacterial prostatitis – An infection caused by bacteria. The severe disease is sudden and only lasts for a short time if you seek proper treatment. The bacteria can start from the urethra to infect your prostate gland
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis – An infection caused by bacteria. It develops slowly to last for a long time, often taking years before showing symptoms.
- Chronic prostatitis –Chronic prostatitis is a severe prostate inflammation that can go for three months or slightly longer than that. The painful condition affects urination and sexual activity. The exact cause is unknown. It's an assumption that microorganisms and bacterial infection may be the cause.
- The damage of the pelvic muscles or pelvic nerves from urinary tract infection (UTI) can also cause chronic prostatitis. The effects of the immune system due to the aftermath of UTI (urinary tract infection) or urine inhabited by some chemicals from medication are other suspected causes.
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis – This type of prostatitis may not have any symptoms. Your doctor may stumble on the disease while running other tests. Little is known about its cause as well.
Some people may refer to enlarged prostate using other names such as benign prostate hyperplasia, prostate enlargement, or simply just BPH.
To most men, it's an 'annoying' sign of aging. The condition is prevalent in older men of '50s and above. One source of statistics reports that global BPH prevalence in men in their '50s falls between 20 and 62 percent.
The 'annoying' part of the disease is frequent urination. It can be more severe than that. It can block urine to dribble instead of free-flowing. In the worst cases, it can completely prevent the urine from flowing out.
BPH can also cause urinary tract, bladder, or kidney health problems.What Causes BPH or Prostate Gland Enlargement?
BPH can occur when the prostate gland cells multiply and increase. The increase of the cells enlarges the prostate gland by swelling. The prostate gland then pushes against the urethra. The pressure from the prostate gland to the urethra partly blocks it, affecting the urine flow.
What triggers the cell multiplication is suspected to be partly because of male aging conditions and male hormonal changes.What are the Symptoms of BPH?
The symptoms vary with the severity of the disease. At the onset, BPH symptoms are mild only to get serious if untreated. Some of the symptoms are during the mild stage are:
● Frequent urge to urinate at night (nocturia)
● Urine leakage or incontinence
● Painful urination
Some of the symptoms during the severity of the disease are:
● Dribbling urination
● Frequent urge to urinate at night (nocturia)
● Urine leakage or incontinence
● Painful urination3. Prostate Cancer
The worst that can happen to any man is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the prevalent form of cancer in men compared to any other cancer.
The good news is, prostate cancer is treatable!
The prostate cancer case that is easy to treat is the one that has been detected early while still in the prostate gland stage.
When prostate cancer is confined within the gland, it might not have severe symptoms compared to when it spreads outside the prostate gland. The rate of prostate cancer growth varies with each individual.
Some prostate cancer cases grow slowly, which may not require intense treatment. Others can be aggressive and hence spread quickly. For such a case, you may need urgent consultation and treatment.What is the Cause of Prostate Cancer?
Prostate gland cells can begin to change to abnormal cancer cells. The DNA sequence change in the prostate to abnormal cells can cause the rapid growth of these cells compared to the healthy cells. Such a happening can be the onset of prostate cancer.
We, Island Healthworks Clinic do DNA health testing which could help detect this potential health condition and many others. If you are concerned that you might have the possibility, then give us a call and we can arrange a DNA health assessment test.
There are two Genes associated with possible prostate problems among other health issues.
#1 - The CRP gene. This Gene is also an Antibody that Reacts and works with the Immune System and identifies anything which Threatens Health. It circulates in the Blood during Acute conditions including Cancer.
#2 – The TNF-a gene. This Gene is a cell-signaling chemical messenger called a Cytokine. It monitors the actions between Cells and the Immune System. It watches the production and control of inflammation, the inducing of fevers and it decides who will Live or Die! TNF-a signals the WBC's against Infections and Injuries. This Cytokine is the CEO in Knocking out bad cells, arresting Tumor growth and Maintaining Balance. If you have a weakness in either one or both genes then you are at risk. The best advice is to have your health DNA tested for peace of mind and/or follow a personalized constructive program to strengthen the weak genes.
The abnormal cells soon overtake the healthy once to form a tumor, which may invade any tissues surrounding the prostate gland. In extreme and worse cases, the abnormal cells metastasize or break off and spread to other body parts.Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
The common symptoms of prostate cancer are:
● Erectile dysfunction
● Abdominal, pelvis, lower back or severe hip pain
● Urine or semen with blood
● Passing urine frequently and especially at night
● Strain, interrupted, or weak urination
Although the symptoms are similar to the other prostate diseases, seek medical advice for tests to rule out cancer.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Cancer screening is a procedure for checking cancer even before there are any signs or symptoms. It's a way to detect any cancer in its early stages.
Cancer screening has, in recent times, attracted mixed reactions. However, one study of 2017 recommends PSA screening procedure to detect prostate cancer in its initial stage for timely treatment. The recommendation includes elderly patients with suspected symptoms, patients at risk due to a family history of prostate cancer, and any other person with high-risk factors.
If you are at a high risk of prostate cancer, discuss with your doctor the necessary steps to manage your health situation.Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
An estimated figure of prostate cancer diagnosis of 2019 in the United States stands at 174,650. The risk factors for such a staggering figure are:
Family history – If you come from a family with a history of prostate cancer, then you are at risk of having it as well.
- Race – For no known reasons, African American men are at a high risk than Hispanic men. Asian men have the lowest risk of prostate cancer. 2019 Statistics show that the risk of African men in having prostate cancer stands at 60% in the United States.
- Age – 50 years old men are at a higher risk of prostate cancer due to the aging factor and hormonal changes.
- Diet – High-fat diet is a prostate cancer high-risk factor.
- Obesity – Obesity has a link to prostate cancer. A healthy diet and exercise can lower the risk of prostate cancer.
Before ensuing any cancer therapy, your doctor may choose to walk you through the different therapies in the market. In the case of a new treatment in the market, your doctor can suggest taking a clinical treatment trial.Factors to Consider Before Treatment
To come up with a treatment plan, your oncologist, alongside his team of doctors, would consider several factors. Some of the factors your team of doctors would carefully consider are:
- Health history
- PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) level and the rate of progression
- The extent of cancer spread to other parts of the body
- Other medical condition if any
- Your preference
Very Important: Please note that the information given below on cancer treatment is on informational purposes only. It is to enlighten you on what to expect and what to discuss with your doctor. At no time does the information substitute any of your oncological advice and treatment. Always adhere to the professional advice given by any of your medical experts.Prostate Cancer Treatment Procedures
The standard treatment of prostate cancer can involve the following procedures.
Active Surveillance or Watchful Waiting
Some prostate cancer cases take years to cause any symptoms. Your doctor may consider using active surveillance or watchful waiting kind of therapy in such a situation. With this option, your doctor would closely monitor your case to be more alert on the progression of the cancer cells and hence performing regular cancer tests.
Your doctor may suggest radiation therapy if cancer cells are still contained in your prostate or to accompany surgery treatment to kill any cells left behind. Just like an X-ray, the radiation is a high-energy beam therapy. Radiation treatment aims to get rid of all cancer cells in your prostate.
Your treatment plan can involve surgical treatment. It is the option your doctor may consider if your cancer is contained in your prostate and that you are healthy. You can have the surgery to remove the prostate gland with or without the tissue that surrounds it. Your doctor may discuss with you the procedure and what it entails before performing it.
Also referred to ADT (androgen deprivation therapy) is a therapy to starve cancer cells of sex hormones, which help them to thrive. Your doctor can take you through the procedure and how best to perform it.
Your treatment may involve chemotherapy by mouth or IV if the cancer cells have spread beyond your prostate gland.
The procedure consists of freezing to death the cancer cells. Freezing gas is inserted by needles inside your prostate gland to freeze and destroy the cancer cells.
For various reasons, your doctor may choose to use immunotherapy as your treatment plan. The treatment involves your immune system to help fight off cancer.
The treatment plans are many. Your doctor may have other options other than what we have discussed. Researchers are also working day and night to come up with more advanced therapies that might revolutionize the entire prostate cancer treatment.Are There Any Side Effects?
Could be the question is your concern. Depending on an individual, prostate cancer therapies may have either slight or severe side effects. Some of the side effects of most prostate cancer therapies can be:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low libido
- Low fertility
- Low bladder control
- Frequent urination
When choosing your treatment plan, your doctor may discuss with you the side effects involved in your therapy and how to manage them.
Complementary and Alternative Prostate Therapies
There are various alternative treatments for prostate health issues. However, you may require consulting your health practitioner for the best therapy and advice. The following are some of the recommendations from our natural health practitioner, Yvonne Dollar Perc.
Saw Palmetto Concentrate Saw palmetto has been used traditionally in North American as herbal medicines for over 200 years. Its primary use has been in treating disorders of the urinary tract. The herb was once called the "plant catheter" due to its effect on the urinary system
Men's Formula Men's Formula is a unique blend of nutrients and herbs specifically designed for men over age 40.
Live Blood Analysis
We do Live Blood Analysis and look at dry blood samples specifically the Reproductive Organ Pattern.
Observed in Layer(s):
One or two round white holes right in the middle of the sample. This represents a reproductive organ challenge. In men possible prostate problems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Prostate
What are the first signs of a prostate problem?
● Urine dribbling
● Frequent need to pass urine
● Getting up at night regularly to pass urine
● Burning pain when passing urine
● Blood in semen or urine
● Pain when ejaculating
● Persistent pain in the rectal area, lower back, or pelvisWhat causes prostate cancer?
The exact cause of prostate cancer is not exactly known. However, there is a link to some risk factors to cause prostate cancer. Healthy cells of the prostate gland may change their DNA to become cancerous.Is an enlarged prostate serious?
An enlarged prostate is a normal aging process in men. Cell growth and men's sex hormones imbalances contribute to the cause of BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia). However, if untreated, the condition can cause severe symptoms complications. Some of the complications are problems in the urinary tract, bladder, or kidney.Conclusion
As tiny as it is, the prostate gland in your body can remain unnoticed, but it is a very vital organ. It is responsible for reproduction activities. A healthy prostate gland can contribute to a quality lifestyle and relationship.
Whatever you do, take care of your prostate health by eating well and keeping clean. Eat a well-balanced diet, and keep well by exercising regularly. Remember to avoid non-organic foods to prevent getting toxins and bacterial infections.
What is your biggest concern on prostate health? Please engage us in conversation by sharing your concerns with us. We shall try to answer all your queries in return.
Your concern is our priority!
Editor: Yvonne Dollard Perc
Research Assistant: Elizabeth Njuguna
Designer: Sherry Robb
To learn more, contact Yvonne Dollard Perc at Island Healthworks. Yvonne offers phone consultations where she will develop an individualized health care program and lifestyle plan tailored to your specific needs through a personal health and lifestyle analysis.
Call 250-468-7685 to speak with Yvonne and set up a phone consultation!
Yvonne offers in-person consultations with assessment of your specific needs, health and lifestyle coaching, and the best of integrative natural health care. To book your in person consultation, please call 250-468-7685!
This article is intended for educational purposes and the information contained within is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem. Please seek appropriate medical attention for any health complaints. We cannot take responsibility for your health care decisions. Our intent is only to offer health information to help you with your search for better health.