Category Archives: Mens Health

Testicular Cancer

What to look for…

The earliest warning signs of testicular cancer usually include:

  • a change in their size or shape.

  • swelling or thickening of the testicles.

  • a firm, smooth, painless, slow-growing lump in a testicle.

  • a feeling of testicular heaviness.

Other symptoms of testicular cancer may include:

  • urinary problems.

  • an abdominal mass or abdominal pain.

  • persistent coughing, possibly with blood-tinged sputum.

  • shortness of breath.

  • loss of weight or appetite

  • fatigue

  • lower-back pain

  • tenderness in the nipples or breast enlargement.

  • very rarely, infertility.

The two testicles, or testes, are glands on a man that produce his hormones and sperm. They hang behind a man’s penis in the scrotum. Although Testicular cancer is rare, it is the most common type of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35.

Almost all testicular cancers begin in the testicles themselves rather than spread there from another organ. Testicular cancer can spread slowly or rapidly but can easily spread throughout the body to the lungs, the liver, bones, and possibly the brain.

Fortunately, most cases of this type of cancer are treatable, highly curable and are not fatal.

Causes

It is not known exactly what causes testicular cancer. Some men who develop this type of cancer have been born with an undescended testicle. Some researchers believe this type of cancer is hereditary. It is said that men with fertility problems are more likely to develop benign testicular tumours. There are other possible risk factors…

  • a sedentary lifestyle

  • early puberty

  • previous mumps

  • testicular injury

  • overexposure to pesticides or radiation

It is a very good idea to go through the process of self-examination at least once per month. If you do not know what to look for, go to your doctor to have him explain to you how to examine yourself. If you do have testicular cancer, the affected testicle will be removed and analysed to see what type of cancer it is. There will also be examinations to see if the other testicle is affected.

Traditional Treatments

Because it is required for diagnosis, surgical removal of a testicle is unavoidable. If cancer is found, a second operation is performed, and these two operations are often enough to cure limited testicular cancer. Very severe cases are treated with chemotherapy as well. Nearly all testicular cancer patients are cured, but they are urged to have frequent follow-up examinations.

(See Cancer for more information on treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.)

Complementary Therapies

Although conventional medicine is highly successful at curing testicular cancer, simply learning that you have cancer can be emotionally traumatic and stressful. Many patients find counselling helpful.

Prevention

Regular exercise is said to help prevent testicular cancer. Other research suggests that correcting an undescended testicle surgically before a boy turns 10 reduces the cancer risk.

Most important, however, is regular testicle self-examination.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you detect any sort of unusual lump or swelling in the scrotum

     

Sexual Dysfunction

This is the inability of either or both partners to fully enjoy sexual intercourse.

What to look for

For men, you may have a sexual problem if you:

  • ejaculate prematurely

  • do not ejaculate.

  • are unable to have sustain an erection; see Impotence.

  • feel pain during intercourse.

  • lack sexual desire consistently

For women, you may have a sexual problem if you:

  • lack sexual desire consistently.

  • have difficulty achieving orgasm.

  • feel anxiety or pain during intercourse.

  • feel vaginal or other muscles contract involuntarily before or during sex.

  • have inadequate lubrication.

It can be traumatic for couples who are unable to fully enjoy sexual intercourse. The affects this can have upon the relationship itself can be distressing as well as the implications it may have for the conception of children.

This type of problem is common. And while it is not often fatal, it can drain both partners emotionally and cause stress and anxiety. It is wise to seek professional help for this problem.

Men are often anxious and feel under pressure to perform and to ‘give’ their partner an orgasm. If this does not happen, he may feel inadequate.

Another common sexual problem for men is premature ejaculation, in which orgasm occurs before or immediately after the penis enters the vagina.

Although quite rare, it is possible for men to consistently ejaculate too late.

The inability to experience pleasure from sex is a common problem for a woman. This should be talked over with a therapist and your partner.

Another similar problem is when woman can become aroused but does not achieve an orgasm. But the common fact is that women often find it difficult to orgasm particularly without stimulation of the clitoris.

Occasionally a woman will experience pain during intercourse. This may be a physical problem, an infection, or psychological.

Causes

There are many things which can affect sexual performance and functioning. Physical illnesses, drugs, alcohol are common culprits. Other more deep-rooted causes include a poor self-image, past traumatic events, guilt, depression,fatigue, certain religious beliefs, or being in a dysfunctional relationship or even problems within the relationship.

The causes of premature ejaculation are usually psychological. And this area needs to be explored to uncover the underlying fears.

Painful intercourse for men is usually physical – an infection, or an allergic reaction to something.

Problems with female arousal and orgasm may have either physical or psychological causes. Among the most common are day-to-day friction towards one’s partner and inadequate stimulation.

Pain during intercourse can occur for any number of reasons and should be investigated by your doctor to rule out any possible illness or disease.

Traditional Treatment

Communication is vital when there is a sexual dysfunction in the relationship. Both are involved and both need to know exactly what is happening with the other partner.

A procedure for halting premature ejaculation has been very successful with a considerable number of couples. When you are about to ejaculate, withdraw from your partner’s vagina or ask her to stop stimulating you and gently squeeze the head of your penis to curb the orgasm. Keep going after about half a minute.

You may also wish to speak with a therapist about this problem to rule out any psychological reasons for ejaculating early.

When a man lacks sexual desire, the cause may be physical illness, fatigue, hormonal abnormality, or medications. There may also be psychological causes which a therapist may help identify.

A therapist can help women who do not feel any sexual desire. This involves both partners. It is vital to speak with a qualified and experienced therapist who you feel rapport with.

For painful intercourse in postmenopausal women, reduced lubrication can easily be corrected with over-the-counter creams.

For pain during intercourse in pre-menopausal women, first make sure there is adequate stimulation and lubrication. Also consult your doctor is pain persists after this.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Some problems with sexual function are normal. Others are not and do require assistance from either a doctor or a sex therapist or counsellor.

Aromatherapy  –  For relaxation, soak in a warm bath; add 5 drops of essential oil of lavender or sweet orange, lime and ylang ylang. (See our section on Aromatherapy).For relaxation, soak in a warm bath; add 5 drops of essential oil of lavender or sweet orange, lime and ylang ylang. (See our section on Aromatherapy).

Yoga and meditation provide relaxation and can relieve anxiety. Massage is extremely helpful and sensual.

Herbal  –  A lack of iodine in the system can cause a lack of desire for sex as well as impotence – this is available in kelp. Carotene (the natural derivative of vitamin A) is also an important substance for sexual desire. A lack of iodine in the system can cause a lack of desire for sex as well as impotence – this is available in kelp. Carotene (the natural derivative of vitamin A) is also an important substance for sexual desire.

Chinese Herbs  –  The Chinese have used Ginseng for thousands of years as a general tonic for anything related to sexual functioning. It is available in tablet, fluid or extract form. It is also available in teas but it is of doubt how much genuine ginseng would be in the tea. You should be very careful how much of this herb is taken.The Chinese have used Ginseng for thousands of years as a general tonic for anything related to sexual functioning. It is available in tablet, fluid or extract form. It is also available in teas but it is of doubt how much genuine ginseng would be in the tea. You should be very careful how much of this herb is taken.

When to seek further professional advice

You or your partner has:

  • concerns about your sexual life.

  • pain during intercourse.

  • been exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.

  • been sexually abused.

  • a prolonged erection unaccompanied by sexual desire

     

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

These are a wide range of different disease which are all acquired as a result of having sexual intercourse with a person who has already contracted the infection.

What to look for

 

 

  • a white, yellow, green, grey, or blood-streaked discharge that may have a strong smell.

  • genital and/or anal itching.

  • a rash, blisters, sores, lumps, bumps, warts on or around the genitals.

  • burning during urination.

  • swollen lymph glands in the groin.

  • pain in the groin or lower abdomen.

  • vaginal bleeding.

  • testicular swelling.

  • flu like symptoms.

  • painful intercourse.

See also AIDSChlamydiaGenital HerpesGenital WartsGonorrhoeaSyphilis, Trichomoniasis.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common and contagious diseases.

As the name of this group of diseases implies, these infections can be contracted by means of vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You are at high risk if:

  • you have more than one sex partner.

  • you don’t use protection while having sex.

  • you share needles if injecting drugs.

Most sexually transmitted diseases can be cured or controlled if they are treated early. But you may not realise you have an STD until it has damaged your reproductive system, vision, heart, or other organs. Also, having an STD weakens the immune system and leaves you more vulnerable to other infections.

CAUSES

Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, and syphilis are caused by bacteria, while AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts, and hepatitis B are caused by a virus. The pathogens that cause STDs are found in bodily secretions such as semen, blood, vaginal fluids, and sometimes saliva. Most of the organisms are spread by either sexual or personal contact.

If you are in a risky group always have regular tests.

Traditional Treatment

Never attempt to treat an STD yourself. These diseases are contagious and dangerous. You must see a doctor.

Bacterial STDs can be cured with antibiotics if treatment begins early enough. Viral STDs cannot be cured, but you can manage symptoms with medications. There is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B, but it will not help if you have already contracted the disease.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

See entries for specific sexually transmitted diseases for information on alternative therapies. But remember always seek conventional medical help first.

Personal Care

  • Douche with vinegar, yogurt, or lemon juice solutions to relieve vaginal distress.

  • Take zinc and vitamins AC, and E to boost your immune system.

  • Practice relaxation techniques to ease stress.

  • Take warm baths and analgesics.

  • Ask your doctor or Pharmacist about other over-the-counter remedies.

PREVENTION

Always avoid sex with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, a discharge, or other disease symptoms. If you are in a high-risk group you should:

  • Use condoms and water-based lubricants. Remember that condoms are not 100 percent effective at preventing disease.

  • Wash before and after intercourse.

  • Get a vaccination for hepatitis B.

  • Avoid sharing towels or items of clothing.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the symptoms listed in the description section

     

Snoring

This can be described as heavy breathing which sounds like snorting when asleep.

What to look for

  • Unusual breathing patterns during sleep.

Snoring is usually harmless although very annoying for the person who has to hear it. It can be loud and continuous throughout the whole time a person is asleep. Or it can occur only in certain positions. It can vary in pitch and intensity or be the same every night. Each case is individual. However, sometimes snoring can be a dangerous medical condition called obstructive sleep apnoea.

If you have this condition, you stop breathing during the time you are asleep. There is not enough oxygen getting in the blood this can cause tiredness or if prolonged can cause death. Go to your doctor if you think you have this problem.

Causes

Snoring is involuntary. It happens when the snorer breathes through their mouth and the muscles of the soft palate relax. The passages are narrowed and as the air is drawn into the lungs, the soft palate vibrates.

Usually this happens when the muscles that allow breathing become too relaxed. This can be due to too much alcohol, medications, an overly soft or large pillow; sleeping on your back, poor muscle tone or obesity.

It can also be a physical problem you may have been born with.

Asthma and smoking can also lead to obstruction and snoring.

Traditional Treatments

It is always wise to visit your doctor to rule out any possible major disorders. However, normally snoring is something that you can fix at home by eating well, losing weight if you need to and giving up smoking. Drinking less alcohol will help as well.

Surgery is a possibility but only when the obstruction is severe.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

If you have allergic reactionsasthma, or any other respiratory problems, refer to the appropriate entries for alternative treatments which have proven to be quite successful.

Herbal Treatments  –  If sinusitis is the cause, try horseradish and garlic tablets everyday. Do not exceed the recommended doses.If sinusitis is the cause, try horseradish and garlic tablets everyday. Do not exceed the recommended doses.

Aromatherapy  –  Steam inhalation may open up the airways a little and enable you to sleep better at night. Put 3-4 drops of your favourite Aromatherapy essential oil. Otherwise try cedarwoodRosemary or lavender. Steam inhalation may open up the airways a little and enable you to sleep better at night. Put 3-4 drops of your favourite Aromatherapy essential oil. Otherwise try cedarwoodRosemary or lavender.

Prevention

  • Keep to your ideal weight

  • Make sure you eat early in the night and do not drink alcohol before going to sleep.

  • Stop smoking.

  • Sleep on your side.

When to seek further advice from a professional

  • you live with a snorer and you notice there are times when his breathing actually stops

     

Stomach Ulcers

These are holes or loss of tissue in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum.

What to look for

  • burning upper abdominal pain.

  • black, or bloody stools.

The most common type are duodenal. The second most common are gastric ulcers, which develop in the stomach.

Duodenal ulcers, whose typical symptoms are recurrent upper abdominal pain and a bloated feeling after eating are fairly common in people as they become older.

Fortunately, stomach ulcers are relatively easy to treat; in many cases they are cured with antibiotics. They should however, always be monitored and controlled.

Causes

It is not known exactly why the lining of the stomach area is unable to withstand the acidic digestive juices which make ulcers occur. Doctors debate whether ulcers occur as a result of stress, hereditary, and poor dietary habits. It is believed that such influences contribute to a build up of these stomach acids that erode the protective lining of the stomach, duodenum, or oesophagus.

Some doctors and researchers believe that bacteria cause stomach ulcers. This is still being debated.

There are certain triggers which need to be controlled in order to avoid ulcers. They are – heavy use of alcohol, analgesics and smoking.

Your doctor will perform tests on you before diagnosis is possible.

Traditional Treatment

Medications are usually used to treat mild to moderate ulcers. If the cause is bacterial, antibiotics can cure the ulcer. For recurrent, severe cases that do not respond to medication, surgery may be necessary. Your doctor will attempt to control the digestive juices and strengthen the lining of the stomach. Surgical procedures are less of an ordeal these days.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Firstly you should go to your doctor for a diagnosis and medical treatment. Alternative remedies will, however help with the persistent symptoms.

Herbal Therapies  –  Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), which stimulates mucus secretion by the stomach, is frequently used in herbal treatments of ulcers. This treatment should be supervised.Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), which stimulates mucus secretion by the stomach, is frequently used in herbal treatments of ulcers. This treatment should be supervised.

Dietary Considerations

Supplements of A, B6, E, Zinc, Magnesium may help the condition. However always speak to us before taking supplements.  

Personal Care

  • Cut down on milk.

  • Not all antacids and pain relievers will help your condition – ask our pharmacist which ones will suit.

  • Don’t overdose on iron supplements.

  • Learn how to handle stress.

Prevention

  • Avoid foods that irritate your stomach.

  • Eat foods with high fibre content.

  • Stop smoking.

  • Practice moderation in food and alcohol consumption.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have symptoms of a stomach ulcer and you develop a severe back pain, vomit blood or become cold and clammy

     

Stress

Stress can be said to be our physical or emotional reactions to outside stimuli that is beyond what is normally experienced by us.

What to look for

  • Physical symptoms may include headachefatigueinsomnia, digestive changes, neck or backache, loss of appetite, or overeating, increased use of tobacco or alcohol, tics or twitches.

  • Psychological symptoms may include tension or anxiety, anger, being reclusive, pessimism, lack of concentration, resentment, increased irritability, feelings of cynicism, performance problems.

We need to have a certain level of stress in our lives, as it inspires us to move ahead, to accomplish tasks and it motivates us to action. However, when there is more stress in our lives that we are able to cope with, the negative symptoms of stress may become apparent.

When we feel intense stress or fear, a hormone called adrenalin secretes from the adrenal glands above the kidneys. This hormone gets us ready to take action against the ‘enemy’. Our heart beats faster, our blood pressure rises, and our muscles will tense up.

Different people have different levels of stress that they can cope with. The stress may not even be apparent to us.

If we allow the stress to continue, it can eventually cause numerous problems within our body such as ulcers, fatigue, skin diseases and it puts stress on our immune system.

Causes

When life throws more things at us than we are able to cope with at a certain time, we are under stress. It could be related to our occupation, family life, a loss of someone close, money problems, conflict or even positive events. Other causes are internal: illness, loneliness, pain, or emotional conflict. The different stresses in our life accumulate and we reach a point when we show the effects of not coping with it.

You should be able to identify the triggers of stress in your life so as to teach yourself to be prepared and to learn how to best handle it.

Traditional Treatment

Often talking your problems over with someone helps you to see things from a different slant. This can be helpful in finding a solution which you did not think of before.

Otherwise, your doctor may be able to prescribe certain forms of medication for you. Remember, some are addictive and you should beware.

Your doctor may suggest a counsellor to pinpoint events or conditions that are stressful to you, and to devise ways of reducing the stress they cause.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Any therapy that promotes relaxation and clarity are helpful with this condition.

Aromatherapy  – Essential oil of lavendersandalwood, and tangerine can help reduce stress: Try 5 drops of each in a bath. Essential oil of lavendersandalwood, and tangerine can help reduce stress: Try 5 drops of each in a bath.

Massage  –  This helps relax your whole body and mind. Use the following essential oils – lavender, sandalwood, tangerine, bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, Frankincense or grapefruit.This helps relax your whole body and mind. Use the following essential oils – lavender, sandalwood, tangerine, bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, Frankincense or grapefruit.

See Our Aromatherapy Section for a complete listing and information on oils

Herbal Therapies  –  A traditional response to stress is to drink a cup of hot tea. Some herbalists suggestchamomilepassionflowervalerian, or ginseng tea. A traditional response to stress is to drink a cup of hot tea. Some herbalists suggest chamomilepassionflowervalerian, or ginseng tea.

Lifestyle –  If you feel stressed, try exercising to use up the hormones released.

Dietary Considerations

Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and filtered water. Less caffeine drinks such as coffee and tea. Plenty of sleep and exercise.

Personal Care

  • Exercise

  • Breathe deeply and fully.

  • Try yoga to learn to relax and refocus.

  • Meditation creates relaxation.

Prevention

  • Get an enjoyable hobby or interest.

  • Get plenty of exercise that you enjoy, and rest.

  • Watch a funny movie, listen when people tell funny jokes.

  • Count to 10 and take a deep breath before reacting to a potentially stressful event. This old wives tale can actually help you keep your calm.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your stress is unbearable and persistent

     

Pain Chronic

Pain that tends to last longer than 6 months can be termed chronic.

What to look for

The condition may include weakness, numbness, tingling, or other sensations, along with sleeping difficulties, a lack of energy, and depression. Some common forms of chronic pain are:

  • this type of pain can include headaches, muscle, back or joint pain that is enduring and debilitating or uncomfortable.

This type of pain can be sporadic, continuous, uncomfortable or Chronic pain can be mild or agonising.

The areas described above are the most common, however chronic pain can also include Achilles problems, sinus, other forms of degenerative joint disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, and localised pain.

The state of your mind has a lot to do with your perception of pain. And your state of mind is influenced by the surroundings you find yourself in and your attitudes as well. The psychological effect pain can have on us is substantial. Persistent severe pain can erode our natural threshold to pain and cause our personality to alter as a result. We can tend to perceive the pain as worse than it actually is or that it is becoming worse and worse. The immune system may also become affected adversely from persistent pain.

Causes

The causes of chronic pain are many and varied, some possible causes are as follows:-

  • aging (may affect bones and joints)

  • nerve damage and injuries that fail to heal properly.

  • Back pain

  • being overweight

  • curvature of the spine

  • to a traumatic injury

  • or to no obvious physical cause.

Disease can also be the underlying cause of chronic pain.

Sometimes it is a very difficult thing to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain as any possibility alludes healers and doctors. A process of elimination is then commenced to find the cause.

Traditional Treatment

People who suffer from chronic pain may need professional help.

The aim in many cases is not only to alleviate pain but also to teach the chronic sufferer how to come to terms with pain and function in spite of it. The first step in many cases is to wean the patient from a dependence on pain killing medications.

Other methods used by pain specialists include relaxation techniques to control brain-wave activity, behaviour-modification therapy to revise the way pain is perceived, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, and other forms of alternative therapy.

Over-the-counter pain killers can control milder cases of musculoskeletal pain and reduce inflammation.

Your doctor may prescribe stronger drugs if these others do not help.

Alternative Choices

A broad array of alternative options exists to address chronic pain.

Aromatherapy – Mix together the following essential oils with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, apricot kernel, or jojoba oil, and massage the blend into your skin at the site of the pain: lavender (Lavandula officinalis) to reduce inflammation and relax muscles; eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) to bring down swelling and accelerate healing; ginger (Zingiber officinale) to relieve pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other types of degenerative joint disease.   See Our Aromatherapy Section. Mix together the following essential oils with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, apricot kernel, or jojoba oil, and massage the blend into your skin at the site of the pain: lavender (Lavandula officinalis) to reduce inflammation and relax muscles; eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) to bring down swelling and accelerate healing; ginger (Zingiber officinale) to relieve pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other types of degenerative joint disease.   See Our Aromatherapy Section.

Massage – Massage therapy may provide temporary relief of muscle tension, stiffness, and spasms. Massage therapy may provide temporary relief of muscle tension, stiffness, and spasms.

Herbal Therapies – Capsicum, the active ingredient in cayenne (Capsicum frutescens), is believed to increase blood flow to joint tissues, thereby reducing inflammation. Capsicum, the active ingredient in cayenne (Capsicum frutescens), is believed to increase blood flow to joint tissues, thereby reducing inflammation.

An over-the-counter ointment made with cayenne may bring temporary relief of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, although it is very hot and should be used for only short periods.

Infusions of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) or evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) may also lessen inflammation. Rubbing a dilution of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil on the affected area may have a temporary numbing effect.

Topically applied dilutions of wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) oil, which contains a substance similar to what is found in aspirin, may have an analgesic effect. Geranium (Pelargonium odoratissimum) and white willow (Salix alba) bark are also natural painkillers. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may also be helpful.

You must take special precautions if you are pregnant.

Homoeopathy – Try Rhus toxicodendron for joint, back, and arthritic problems that feel worse when first rising in the morning and become better with warmth. Persistent pain may be relieved by Kali bichromicum. Calcarea fluorica.Sepia may be good for lower-back pain that is worsened by sitting. Try Rhus toxicodendron for joint, back, and arthritic problems that feel worse when first rising in the morning and become better with warmth. Persistent pain may be relieved by Kali bichromicum. Calcarea fluorica. Sepia may be good for lower-back pain that is worsened by sitting.

Topical homoeopathic creams that have Arnica as a main ingredient can help with muscle and joint pain.

Lifestyle

You should take some time out when you feel the pain, however too much rest in also not going to do your problem much good – it can actually make your muscles weaker and cause more pain eventually.

Research has shown that regular exercise can diminish pain in the long run by improving muscle tone, strength, and flexibility and also release the body’s natural pain killers to help you. Try low impact types of exercise.

Visualisation may be another worthwhile pain-controlling technique – seek out places in your area that teach this very worthwhile technique.

Hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis may help you block or transform pain through refocussing techniques.

Relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga are also very helpful for chronic pain sufferers.

Dietary Considerations

Certain supplements have been known to help tremendously with chronic pain. These are:- DL-Phenylalanine (amino acid), Valerian, white willow bark.

See the entry for rheumatoid arthritis and allergies for dietary considerations and foods to eat and avoid.

At-Home Remedies

 

 


Remember “RICE”

– Rest – Rest

  – Apply ice to the affected area  – Apply ice to the affected area

C  – Compress the area  – Compress the area

E  – Elevate the area.  – Elevate the area.

  • Take herbal remedies suggested by a qualified herbalist

  • Do some low-impact exercise.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your pain continues for several weeks and doesn’t respond to over-the-counter products or rest

     

Prostate Cancer

As with most cancers, early prostate cancer does not cause noticeable symptoms. If the cancer causes the prostate to swell or if the cancer spreads you will notice –

  • a frequent need to urinate.

  • difficulty starting or stopping the urinary stream and a burning sensation when urinating or ejaculating.

  • a weak or interrupted urinary stream.

  • blood in urine or semen.

Eventually, if the condition is left untreated –

  • dull pain or stiffness in the pelvis, lower back, or upper thighs.

  • loss of weight and appetite, fatigue, nausea, or vomiting.

The prostate is a gland is only found in the male reproductive system. This walnut sized gland helps produce semen, the thick fluid that carries sperm cells. It is located close to the bladder and problems in the prostate ultimately will affect the bladder as well. Prostate function is regulated by testosterone, a male sex hormone produced mainly in the testicles.

This disease is more common in men later in life. There are many men who surprisingly have cancerous cells in their prostate and that do not know it. The cancer may or may not spread. It can also lie dormant for many years, cause no obvious problems and or health threats. If however, it starts to become activated and spreads, it is a dangerous threat.

It is generally fatal if it spreads beyond the prostate gland itself.

A malignant tumour may grow through the prostate gland and spread cancer cells to surrounding tissue, including the rectum and bladder. The cancerous cells may also invade the lymphatic system or bloodstream and then spread to the bones, liver, lungs, and other organs.

Doctors have identified a certain protein that is evident in cancerous prostates. If high levels of this protein are found in cancerous tissue samples, the prostate cancer is unlikely to spread, or metastasise; if there is none of the protein, the cancer is likely to spread.

Cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate gland can usually be cured.

Causes

Prostate cancer affects mainly elderly men. Men with relatives who have prostate cancer are more likely to die of it than others. It is not known for sure what causes this disease but experts agree that diet contributes to the risk. Men who consume great amounts of fat (particularly from red meat and other sources of animal fat) are most likely to develop symptoms of advanced prostate cancer.

Fats can stimulate production of testosterone and other hormones, and testosterone speeds the growth of prostate cancer and can cause dormant prostate cancer cells into activity. Eating meat can also be detrimental to the cancerous cells if cooked at high temperatures, they can contain carcinogens. (See the entry on cancer).

There is no scientifically proven link between prostate cancer and

  • an active sex life

  • masturbation

  • use of alcohol or tobacco

  • circumcision

  • infertility

  • infection of the prostate

  • an enlarged prostate gland

Traditional Treatments

Doctors know which prostate cancers are the most in need of treatment. It is advisable to seek several opinions with regard to your condition.

Depending on many factors, your treatment may include a combination of radiation therapy, surgery, and hormone therapy.

The standard operation involves the removal of the prostate and nearby lymph nodes. Speak with your doctor about the implications and side effects that this may entail in your particular case.

All prostate cancer patients need to be examined regularly to ensure the problem does not return.

Complementary Therapies

As fat has been implicated in the development of prostate cancer, it is highly advisable that men eat a low-fat, high fibre diet. This is particularly advisable for those with family history of the disease.

Studies indicate that men with chronic deficiencies of vitamin A or selenium are prone to advanced prostate cancer. Always speak with your doctor before taking these nutrients as they can be toxic in high doses. Good natural sources of vitamin A include most green and yellow fruits and vegetables, as well as liver, lamb.

At-Home Care

Some men may experience fatigue, diarrhoea, uncomfortable urination, dry skin, nausea, and other unpleasant side effects. Ask your doctor how best to control these side effects. Rest frequently if you need to, eat light snacks throughout the day rather than having three large meals, and avoid clothes that irritate your skin. (For more information, see Cancer).

Prevention

Eat more fish, poultry, fresh vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products. Eat less red meat; remove skin from chicken before cooking; and cut down on butter, margarine, and oils.

To avoid carcinogens created when cooking meats, try poaching or roasting, not frying or barbecuing.

When to seek further professional advice

  • You have any of the symptoms listed above

     

Prostate Problems

These include problems occurring in the prostate such as cancer, prostatitis or enlargement of the prostate.

What to look for

For an enlarged prostate:

 

 

  • difficulties in urination (including a weak or intermittent stream, getting up frequently at night, straining, dribbling, or inability to empty the bladder).

For acute prostatitis:

  • frequent, difficult urination.

  • a burning sensation or pain when urinating.

  • high fever.

  • aches and pains.

  • blood in the urine.

For chronic prostatitis:

  • frequent, difficult urination.

  • dull pain in the pelvis and genital area.

  • painful ejaculation and sexual dysfunction.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland found in males that surrounds the male urethra at the bottom of the bladder. It has a dual role – to produce an exact portion of the seminal fluid that carries sperm and to control the flow of urine from the bladder. Symptoms can be urinary or sexual in nature.

Prostate problems occur in two forms: enlargement of the prostate and prostatitis which is a bacterial infection. Prostatitis can be either acute sudden and severe or chronic, milder but persistent.

The signs of prostate enlargement generally appear after the age of 45. Typically, the first indication is a need to urinate at night, with the urge gradually increasing over time. Other urination problems may develop.

Prostate enlargement is extremely common and it is safe to say that most men will experience some form of it as they grow older. But always have this checked by your doctor as it can also be a sign of prostate cancer. (see prostate cancer entry).

A less common problem is prostatitis which can occur in younger men or without symptoms of enlargement. Acute prostatitis may produce fever, chills, and lower back pain. chronic prostatitis generally brings milder versions of those symptoms and may also cause painful ejaculation, urethral discharge, or sexual dysfunction.

Causes

The enlargement condition seems to worsen with age and is a result of decreasing levels of testosterone and increasing levels of other hormones in the blood. This results in the enlargement.

Prostatitis is usually the result of an infection that has spread into the prostate gland. The infection can be sexually transmitted.

Men are hesitant to have these conditions checked out and it is this that can cause the problems to become dangerous. If symptoms indicate prostate enlargement, a doctor will want to determine whether the growth of the gland is benign or malignant (prostate cancer).

Traditional Treatment

If you suffer from prostate enlargement consult your doctor about all the different options available.

Surgery is only used as a last resort and when there is no other option.

A course of antibiotics is usually successful in eliminating prostatitis.

Always do self checks to monitor the progress and to ensure that there are not other causes for concern. If you are in doubt always speak with your doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies –  Some herbs that may help include – saw palmetto and horsetail, anise, clivers, nettle, ginseng and couch grass for benign enlargements. (See Our Herbal Section)Some herbs that may help include – saw palmetto and horsetail, anise, clivers, nettle, ginseng and couch grass for benign enlargements. (See Our Herbal Section)

Homoeopathy – Numerous medications are available to the homoeopathic practitioner for treating prostatic enlargement and prostatitis.  You will need Professional Advice for which is best for you. Numerous medications are available to the homoeopathic practitioner for treating prostatic enlargement and prostatitis.  You will need Professional Advice for which is best for you.

Dietary Considerations

Good nutrition and lifestyle may help the prostate enlargement.

  • Zinc – oysters, wheat bran, whole oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.

  • Vitamins C and E may promote prostate health.

  • The amino acids glycine, alanine, and glutamic acid

  • Essential fatty acids – ask our pharmacist for advice.

Prevention

To prevent a recurrence of chronic prostatitis and promote prostate health:

  • Take warm baths.

  • Drink more water.

  • Avoid prolonged bicycle riding, horseback riding, or other exercises that irritate the region below the prostate.

  • Take supplements of zinc and vitamin C.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your symptoms lead you to suspect an enlarged or infected prostate.

In addition, an enlarged prostate can be a sign of cancer