The prostate – what is it?
While every man has a prostate, very few know what it is or what it does. The prostate is a gland that forms part of the male reproductive system. Its main function is to produce fluid that protects and nourishes sperm, which is stored in a seminal vesicle until the time of ejaculation. The prostate surrounds the tube called the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder out of the body. In younger men the prostate is about the size of a walnut but it gradually grows larger with age.1
What about prostate problems?
As men grow older, many will experience a condition known as benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH. This condition refers to an enlargement of the prostate gland and may lead to urinary problems such as:2
- A hesitant, interrupted weak stream
- Urgency and leaking or dribbling
- More frequent urination, especially at night
These symptoms occur because as the prostate enlarges, it presses on the urethra and pushes up on the bladder. It’s estimated that more than half of men in their 60’s, and as many as 90% in their 70’s and 80’s, experience symptoms of BPH.2
How can I support my prostate health and help manage the symptoms of BPH?
To maintain prostate health:
- Ensure adequate dietary intake of zinc or consider a zinc supplement. Zinc is more abundant in the prostate than any other tissue and supports healthy prostate function.
- Minimize the intake of caffeine, caffeinated soft drinks and alcohol before bedtime if urinary symptoms are disturbing your sleep.3
- Learn pelvic floor and bladder retraining exercises to alleviate urinary problems. Consult your healthcare professional for advice.
- Consider taking Saw palmetto, a herb that helps relieve the symptoms of medically diagnosed BPH such as weak urine flow, incomplete bladder emptying, and frequent daytime and night time urination, so you can feel and function at your best.
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Published May 10, 2014
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