Maintaining a healthy prostate is essential as you head into your 50s and beyond. The three most common prostate problems are prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer.
Prostatitis is common in men of all ages, and afflicts 35% of men above age 50. Symptoms of prostatitis include burning sensation during urination, frequent urination and/or fever and fatigue.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common prostate problem for men over 50. It is estimated that over 50% of men in their 60s and 90% of men in their 70s and beyond will have symptoms of BPH.
With BPH, your prostate is enlarged and puts too much pressure on the urethra. This causes problems such as difficulty urinating, leaking or dribbling urine and small amounts of blood in your urine.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men, occurring mostly in men age 65 and older. About 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.
With statistics like these, you can see that prostate health is not to be taken lightly. There may be an increasing number of medications for treating these problems, but there are also many ways to support your prostate health naturally. Here are just a few key ones:
1. Increase your fresh fruit and vegetable intake. Studies show that produce contains many nutrients that support prostate and overall health. In particular, foods that are high in lycopene like tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruit may reduce risk of prostate cancer. Foods that are high in zinc such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and pomegranates are helpful to avoid prostate enlargement.
2. Get a yearly exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) detecting blood test, which could (but does not necessarily) indicate prostate cancer.
3. Lose weight. Find a diet and exercise plan that helps you achieve an ideal weight and fitness. This will help keep your prostate healthy and lower your risks of prostate cancer.
4. Do some Kegels. That’s right, Kegel exercises aren’t just for women. They can help strengthen and improve bladder and sexual function and support your prostate health. To do a Kegel, tighten the muscles around your scrotum and anus for a few seconds, then release. Repeat 50 times a day in 10 repetitions. Kegels can be done anywhere, anytime.
5. Avoid caffeine and antihistamines. Both substances can cause your prostate to enlarge. So look for soda and coffee alternatives, and the next time you have a cold, skip the cold medicines and find natural ways to get through it.