Tips for Maintaining Prostate Health

Approximately from the age of 50 onwards, a series of hormonal changes take place in men that cause the prostate to start growing gradually between that age and 55. In most cases the growth is benign, giving rise to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), but in others, it evolves into prostate cancer.

At present, prostate cancer is the third leading cause of mortality from tumors in men in Spain, behind lung and colon cancer, according to data from the report Cancer in Spain 2016, produced by the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), and therefore prostate health care is essential; care that encompasses knowledge, prevention, and treatment of these two well-differentiated diseases.

“BPH is the most frequent pathology of the genitourinary system in the male, affecting more than 50 percent of men aged 50 and may reach a prevalence of 88 percent by the age of 90,” says Luis San José, a specialist in Urology at the Hospital Universitario La Princesa, in Madrid. “On the other hand, we cannot forget about prostate cancer. It is cancer that is rarely diagnosed before the age of 50, with 9 out of 10 cases being at a localized stage at diagnosis and therefore asymptomatic. According to WHO data updated in 2012, prostate cancer accounted for 15 percent of new cancer diagnoses in Europe.

The problem with these conditions is that as José Manuel Cózar, president of the Spanish Association of Urology and head of the Urology Service at the Virgen de las Nieves Hospital in Granada points out, problems with the prostate are associated with aging, so men mask the symptoms and do not want to acknowledge that something is happening. “If a woman notices a nodule in her chest she will go immediately to the gynecologist, she has no problem with a consultation, but in men, even sometimes when they are having a few beers with friends and go several times to the service people mock with comments as you are already old, you are of the prostate It’s blamed on aging in a society like ours where no one wants to grow old,” explains Cózar, who warns that it’s important to go to the doctor when symptoms start because what may seem like a one-time problem can actually be an everyday one.

Knowing the symptoms

Both to prevent and to diagnose pathologies early, from the age of 50 men should know and be more attentive to these manifestations:

Men start to urinate more times than normal, that is, they can no longer go 5 or 6 hours without urinating, they have to go every two or two and a half hours to the bathroom.

Notice that instead of getting up once in the morning, he now starts getting up two or three times or he didn’t get up at all and now he does.

Urination loses strength.

“There’s always a chance. These are all symptoms of prostatism. Other more serious symptoms are the presence of itching when urinating or blood in the urine,” notes Cózar, who indicates that modifiable factors such as leading a sedentary life or eating large meals are related to the appearance of the symptoms, but not to prostate cancer. In view of this, San José stresses the importance of maintaining regular physical activity, avoiding constipation, as well as restricting fluid intake at night and scheduled urination.

prostacet prostate health

Healthy eating

So how do you take care of your prostate? The first step is to take care of your diet, stop smoking and reduce obesity by increasing physical exercise.

“If we talk about BPH, it is recommended to avoid spicy foods and moderate or avoid the intake of alcoholic beverages due to the diuretic and irritating effect they have at the bladder level, negatively influencing the frequency and urgency of urination, as well as nocturia”, specifies San José.

With regard to prostate cancer, both point out that there is no scientific evidence to support a change in diet, although it is known (based on the few studies that have been carried out on the subject) that prostate cancer is more linked to the consumption of saturated fats. “That is why in the United States there are many more cancers than in Spain, where the Mediterranean diet and olive oil make the risk of prostate cancer lower than in other countries that opt for fast food. Logically, it already depends on each man. If you follow a diet rich in hamburgers, too much fat, bacon, and saturated fats will favor the growth of carcinogens that influence the prostate”, explains Cózar.

Thus, although there is no solid evidence that can support a significant benefit of dietary modifications and their impact on prostate health, San José indicates some general non-specific recommendations, which may have an indirect impact on the evolution of the prostate disease.

“Diets high in animal fats, red meat, omega-3 acid, zinc supplements and low in vegetables, particularly broccoli and cauliflower, may be associated with the development of prostate cancer,” describes San José. “The intake of soy and soy products, lycopene, an antioxidant-rich in tomatoes, and the consumption of more than 6 cups of coffee per day could be protective factors against prostate cancer.

Do you have to have annual check-ups?

Just as women have internalized their annual visit to the gynecologist, should men adopt this habit and go to the urologist periodically from the age of 50? The president of the Spanish Association of Urology indicates that after the first visit to the specialist when they notice the symptoms described above, the return to the urologist will depend on the symptoms and the markers that the family doctor will make in consultation.

The combination of the results of a seven-question test known as IPSS, of the urine test, of the blood test, of the presence or not of infection and of the levels of the PSA marker, will determine that the family doctor will refer the patient to the urologist. “We recommend patients to have the PSA test done when they have symptoms; if they do not have symptoms, no, as it has been shown not to be helpful in improving survival in these patients.

All of this will help improve early detection in patients with symptoms and find out if those signs have appeared because there is BPH or because a small prostate cancer tumor is growing. “Today we have the necessary tools so that if there is something, it can be treated in time, and if there is nothing, we can congratulate you and continue to be calm and happy,” concludes Cózar.