How to Prevent Future Prostate Problems and Avoid Cancer
Unchecked, chronic symptomatic prostatitis makes you more susceptible to developing prostate cancer.
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Annoying prostate inflammation called prostatitis, with or without low-grade infection, affects between 64-86% of men at some time in their lives. In fact, nearly half of all men will have symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), enlargement of the prostate gland. Symptoms can be mild to bothersome and tend to worsen with age. Men who live with unchecked, chronic symptomatic prostatitis are more susceptible to developing prostate cancer.
Symptoms Associated with Prostate Problems:
- Frequent urination
- Urinary urgency
- Burning or painful urination or ejaculation
- Difficulty starting or stopping urination
- Bloody urine or semen
- Getting up at night to urinate
- Dribbling before and after urination
- Low back pain
- Pelvic pain in the sacroiliac and perinea regions
- Muscle spasms of the hips and thighs, tight muscles, cramping, trigger points
Irritating prostate problems don’t always cause trouble urinating. Low back pain and pelvic discomfort are the most common atypical symptoms of chronic prostatitis.
A Case Study
Evan, a six-foot-one Californian with sun-bleached blond hair, was an avid surfer, expert skateboarded, and accomplished photographer. But, at 29-years-old he suffered from severe low back pain that he thought was caused by a surfing accident. He also had sacral and pelvic pain. In 1984, every Californian went to a local chiropractor for their health care. So did Evan, who got his back cracked three times a week for over a month, but his back pain was no better.
When Evan came to see me, he was bedraggled with stooped shoulders as if defeated, and still in pain. He wanted acupuncture. I provided treatments every other day for one week, but he was only in slightly less pain. So, I ordered tests. X-rays showed images of a perfectly healthy spine. But, his PSA blood test was very elevated, and his urine analysis showed a trace of bacterial infection. As I suspected, he had chronic prostatitis. Therefore, I referred him to a urologist who prescribed a course of antibiotics that fixed him in less than two weeks. I also followed up with additional acupuncture treatments and recommended supplements for prostate health. Evan was lucky. With an accurate diagnosis and correct treatments, he got better.
Without Prostate Problem Prevention
Unfortunately, another patient fared worse than Evan. Paul was a 54-year-old successful small business owner who suffered from BPH. Most of the time, he was asymptomatic, but when his prostate became congested, it swelled to the size of an egg, big enough to block off his ability to urinate. This painful condition required inserting a sterile catheter into his penis at the ER to let urine out.
Like many men, Paul silently suffered his nagging, often embarrassing, prostate condition. Yet, his urologist was reluctant to prescribe a long-term course of low-dose antibiotics because his urine cultures did not show bacterial growth. Paul had severe BPH, not an infection. Nor did he have prostate cancer.
When he came to see me, I recommended an intensive, integrative program including acupuncture to relax pelvic muscle spasms, supplements to reduce prostate swelling, and an anti-inflammatory diet. In six months, Paul’s prostate gland was smaller, less congested, and his urinary flow improved.
Active Monitoring for Prostate Cancer Versus Aggressive Intervention
Prostate cancer is the most dangerous of prostate conditions. It is the third most common type of malignancy after breast cancer in women and lung cancer. The average age for men to develop prostate cancer is 66. However, due to aggressive screening with the PSA blood test, it has been over-diagnosed and over-treated in the last two decades by more than 50 percent.
A new study found that men with prostate cancer actually do equally as well with or without aggressive treatment. Surprisingly, between 40 to 50 percent of males in the US with early-stage prostate cancer choose active monitoring over aggressive treatments like surgery. Prostate care involves proactive involvement. This includes regular checkups, dietary and lifestyle changes, and nutritional supplements to support prostate health.
Is the PSA Test Still Useful?
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is used as a screening test for prostate inflammation, enlargement, and can indicate cancer. However, PSA results are not the exclusive test for prostate cancer. Because doctors over-diagnosed prostate cancer solely based on PSA level, it is no longer considered necessary to do an annual screening. So, don’t be surprised if your family practice doctor doesn’t include PSA in a wellness blood test panel.
Prostate conditions can range from mildly annoying to painful and debilitating. But, PSA test results don’t always match to symptoms.
Though clinical practice guidelines for doctors suggest PSA screening at 45, for my patients, I recommend that men over 30 have a baseline PSA blood test. A second baseline PSA is useful between 40 and 45. I recommend a PSA test annually for all men using testosterone replacement therapy.
Guidelines for PSA Results (in ng/mL):
- 0 – 2.5 is normal
- 6 – 4.0 is safe, but start a prostate health plan to lower your number
- 1 – 10.0 is suspicious. See your doctor.
- 0 and higher is dangerous. See your doctor immediately.
However, prostate infection and inflammation can push PSA to over 30. Therefore, not all high PSA levels mean that you have cancer. You can order your PSA test from Life Extension Foundation or Personalabs, or other online lab services.
The Benefits of Prostate Supplements
Prostate supplements work. A 2016 study noted that prostate supplements have major inhibitory effects on prostate cancer. For maximum benefit, take pharmaceutical grade prostate supplements regularly over time. But, an effective dose is typically 2-3 times higher than recommended on the label.
10 Natural Prostate Herbal Supplements:
- Saw Palmetto Berry Extract (Serenoa repens)
- Rye Flower Pollen Extract (Graminex G63)
- Stinging Nettle Root Extract (Urtica dioica)
- Pygeum Bark Extract (Pygeum africanum)
- Achyranthes bidentate
- Alpinia oxyphylla
- Cistanches deserticola
- Plantago asiatica
- Ursolic Acid found in apple peel and rosemary extract (Rosmarinus officinales)
- Cyclopamine found in genistein (soy), resveratrol, curcumin, and EGCG (green tea)
For my male patients, I recommend prostate formulas containing saw palmetto extract standardized to contain 85% fatty acids and phytosterols. The amino acids L-glycine, L-alanine, and L-glutamic acid help nourish prostate tissue. Zinc picolinate 30-90 mg is also helpful for preventing chronic prostate conditions.
Foods Can Affect Prostate Symptoms
A healthy plant-based diet helps prevent prostatitis and prostate cancer. Drinking too much coffee or alcohol actually makes prostate symptoms worse. Spicy foods like chili peppers and hot sauces can irritate the bladder. Allergies to nightshade foods like peppers and eggplant also increase inflammation and may worsen prostate symptoms.
Avoid Prostate Irritating Foods:
- Hot spicy foods
- Acidic foods
Men with unchecked, chronic symptomatic prostatitis are more susceptible to developing prostate cancer. Therefore, if you have symptoms of a prostate or urinary infection, see your doctor for a urine analysis to check for the presence of bacteria. For men experiencing a weak urinary stream, get both a PSA test and urine analysis, plus a prostate “finger” examination from a urologist. If necessary, your doctor may order a prostate ultrasound. And, if you are concerned about prostate cancer, get a prostate MRI.
Integrating diet and exercise along with taking supplements for prostate health provides added benefits. Deep tissue massage to the low back and gluteal muscles releases tension and improves prostatic pressure. Acupuncture also helps chronic prostatitis and male pelvic pain syndrome. In a 2016 study, researchers found that regular acupuncture relieves pain and other symptoms associated with a congested prostate gland.