The importance of the prostate
If you know nothing about your prostate, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, according to a recent survey, 70% of men aged 45 and over, knew nothing about their prostate or what can go wrong with it.1
The prostate gland plays an important role in a man’s sex life and is essential for reproduction. It sits under the bladder and wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. While scientists are not entirely clear on all of the prostate’s functions, one of its main roles is to squeeze specialized fluid into the urethra as sperm move through during a sexual climax.2 This fluid helps make up semen and supplies substances that protect, energise and nourish sperm and facilitate fertilization.
Prostate health with age
As men get older, the prostate is prone to a condition called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), or prostate enlargement. More than half of men in their sixties will have this condition and as many as 90% of men in their seventies and eighties will have associated symptoms.2 Because of the prostate’s location in the body, when it enlarges it presses against the urethra and irritates the bladder, often causing problems with urination such as:3
- An urgent need to urinate, then hesitation before urine flow starts
- A weak urine stream
- Leaking or dribbling
- A sense that the bladder has not emptied completely
- More frequent urination
While some degree of enlargement is inevitable, you can keep your prostate in good condition and reduce uncomfortable symptoms by:
- Exercising – A questionnaire completed by more than 30,000 men found that those who were more physically active were less likely to suffer from symptoms of BPH4.
- Minimizing alcohol and caffeine, especially at night.
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight as being overweight can increase the risk of lower urinary symptoms3.
- Practicing pelvic floor muscle training3 .
- Consuming fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin C and beta‐carotene, which may help reduce BPH risk3.
- Considering a prostate health supplement with saw palmetto, a herb that may assist in the management of medically diagnosed BPH.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
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Published June 5, 2014
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