The prostate is an integral component of the male reproductive system responsible for making most of the fluid that makes up semen. The muscular actions of the prostate also propel semen through the urethra to be expelled during ejaculation.
The prostate continues to grow with age, increasing the risk of urinary symptoms commonly experienced with normal aging. The enlargement of the prostate is caused when the cells of the prostate gland multiply. Additional cells cause expansion that increases pressure on the urethra.
As a result, urination and ejaculation can be affected. In many men, the enlargement of this important gland can result in unpleasant symptoms, and over time, serious complications. However, proper doctor evaluation, leading to a targeted treatment protocol, can promote quality of life for older men, even with a growing prostate.
The prostate increases in size as men age, which can have a negative impact on prostate function and health. Regular screening and tests can help identify poor prostate function so that you can identify any issues early enough for effective treatment. Prostate exams are often used to:
♦ Assess the size of the prostate
♦ Check for changes in prostate texture
♦ Check for signs of infection
♦ Diagnose abnormalities on the prostate (such as asymmetry, nodules, etc.)
When it comes to prostate screening, there are no set guidelines, but it is recommended that all men between the ages of 50-69 consider getting prostate exams done regularly. Prostate problems are not uncommon among men under the age of 50, so digital rectal exams can be a regular part of prostate health routines as early as 40 years of age, depending on your risk factors. You should start discussing prostate exams with your doctor from the following ages:
♦ Age 40, for those with more than one close relative who has experienced prostate health issues at an early age
♦ Age 45, for those with a high risk for prostate problems
♦ Age 50, for those with average risk and a life expectancy of more than 10 years.
Risk factors for poor prostate health can include:
♦ Ethnicity: Men of African descent experience higher rates of prostate problems associated with aging.
♦ Family history: Poor prostate health and the risk of serious prostate complications can run in families.
♦ Diet: Diets rich in meats and dairy products can affect male hormones and increase the risk of prostate enlargement.
♦ Smoking: Cigarette smoking affects hormone circulation, increasing the risk of prostate enlargement, and functionality issues.
♦ STDs: Bacteria from sexually transmitted diseases that can irritate the urinary tract can also negatively affect prostate health.
Evaluation of prostate function is important if you notice any symptoms of deteriorating prostate health. Symptoms will vary for individuals, and for some, there may be no symptoms at all. The most common symptoms that are indicative of poor prostate health involve the urinary tract, but there may also be others. The general symptoms doctors look for in evaluating prostate health include:
♦ Urinary retention (the inability to empty the bladder completely)
♦ Urinary frequency (urinating more often during the day, therefore causing disruption to daily routine)
♦ Urinary urgency (the inability to delay urination)
♦ Urinary incontinence (accidental loss of urine)
♦ Nocturia (frequent urination at night)
♦ Hesitancy (trouble beginning a urine stream)
♦ Intermittency (weak or interrupted urine stream)
♦ Weak urinary stream
♦ Urine that has an unusual color or odor
♦ Pain after ejaculation or during urination
Early identification of these symptoms and proper doctor evaluation can reduce the risk of complications. The most effective treatment outcomes will come from an early diagnosis of any prostate problems. Men over the age of 50 and anyone showing these symptoms or who have any known risk factors need to seek testing to help maintain proper urinary tract and prostate health.
Prostate tests allow doctors to identify prostate function issues and evaluate any enlargement that occurs naturally with age. Because prostate enlargement can increase the risk of problems, it is important to identify them as soon as possible. The following tests are most commonly done to evaluate the health of the prostate.
♦ Digital rectal exam (DRE): This is a simple test to check the prostate, which is situated directly in front of the rectum. By inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum, the doctor can evaluate the size and position of the prostate. The prostate should feel smooth, so a hard or bumpy surface can indicate potential problems. The doctor will also determine if the prostate size is as expected for your current age.
♦ Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: PSA is a protein that both normal and abnormal prostate cells produce. In general, higher levels of PSA indicate possible prostate issues. Abnormal DRE and PSA tests typically require additional testing and screening, such as a multi-parametric MRI and/or prostate biopsy.
♦ Urinalysis: Testing urine can help identify bacteria that may be causing problems in the urinary tract and prostate. Often, urinalysis allows doctors to evaluate if further testing is needed.
♦ Cystoscopy: This procedure allows your doctor to examine your bladder and urethra. Your urethra passes through the prostate, and if narrowed, can indicate that the prostate is enlarged.
♦ Ultrasound: This imaging test allows your doctor to check the size of the prostate and any abnormalities that may be present.
Your doctor may also inquire about the following factors:
♦ when the problem began and how often it occurs
♦ what symptoms are present
♦ whether you have a history of recurrent urinary tract infections
♦ what medications and supplements you take, both prescription and those bought over the counter
♦ the amount of fluid you typically drink each day
♦ whether you consume caffeine and alcohol, and how often
♦ your general medical history, including any major illnesses or surgeries
Most treatments are designed to alleviate discomfort associated with poor prostate health. Although prostate enlargement is a natural part of the aging process, when it becomes too large it can affect urinary function. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat any infections; otherwise, the most commonly used treatments for prostate health include:
♦ Alpha-blockers: These will not reduce the size of the prostate, but they will relax the muscles of the bladder, neck, and prostate so that urine can flow more easily. A common symptom of an enlarged prostate is increased pressure on the bladder, and alpha-blockers can help maintain a nominal urination schedule and reduce bathroom breaks during the day.
♦ 5-alpha reductase inhibitors: These medications help to address any changes in hormone levels that may be affecting prostate function and size. By inhibiting the activity of the hormones that influence prostate growth, cell growth can be slowed to help relieve the occasional urinary symptoms associated with normal aging.
♦ Surgery: In some cases, when less invasive options are not working, surgery may be required. Part or all of the prostate may be removed depending on the size and severity of the symptoms.
Scientific research has discovered several natural ingredients that help support prostate health. The right formula of these clinically effective ingredients can slow prostate growth and support a healthy prostate and urinary tract. A natural approach to treatment will also reduce the risk of side effects that are, at times, as unpleasant as the symptoms you are trying to treat.
The healing ingredients you should look to for prostate health can be found in one clinically studied formula. ProstateMD®️ uses patented ingredients that are chosen based on their targeted effectiveness for prostate and urinary tract health. ProstateMD® includes a superior extract, USPlus®️ saw palmetto, which is the highest quality on the market and strongly recommended for prostate health.
Many supplement companies produce adulterated products to compensate for the low supply and high demand, as saw palmetto is difficult to get. Unlike these adulterated formulas, only pure saw palmetto with proper extraction has the ability to improve prostate health. USPlus®️ saw palmetto is verified as pure and certified by US Pharmacopeia and Consumer Labs to provide optimal support for prostate and urinary tract health.
1MD’s superior USPlus®️ saw palmetto extract works to support the prostate by acting on specific enzymes that inhibit the activity of hormones that affect prostate cell growth. The slowing of prostate cell growth can help minimize further prostate enlargement and help with occasional urinary symptoms associated with normal aging to support or promote quality of life for older men.
In addition to USPlus®️ saw palmetto, ProstateMD® contains other beneficial natural ingredients clinically studied to support prostate health.
Pumpkin seed oil
Pumpkin seeds are a powerful phytotherapeutic agent that works in a similar way to saw palmetto. By inhibiting enzyme activity, hormones that can contribute to prostate cell growth are reduced. Reducing prostate enlargement can help maintain a normal urination schedule. Pumpkin seed oil is also high in zinc, a known mineral with many benefits for healthy prostate and urinary tract function.
Pygeum is a herbal extract that can support healthy prostate cell function. Without this, excessive prostatic cell growth can occur, which increases the results of prostate and urinary tract problems. Pygeum has also been shown to prevent bacterial spread through the urinary tract to help with occasional urinary symptoms associated with normal aging.
Pine bark extract
Pine bark has been linked to supporting kidney function, prostate health, and urinary tract function. This extract not only promotes healthy prostate cell growth but has been shown to reduce the proliferation of potentially harmful cells. The prevention of prostate enlargement helps to reduce common urinary tract problems, such as trouble emptying the bladder.
Studies have found that by disrupting the production of the enzyme that produces a hormone responsible for causing prostate cell growth, stinging nettle can help slow prostate enlargement. Stinging nettle also increases the production of nitric oxide in the body. This molecule plays an important role in urinary tract health.
Prostate health is important. The anatomical location of the prostate predisposes men to develop urinary problems when it becomes too enlarged. Both the urinary tract and reproductive function can be affected, causing numerous unpleasant symptoms and health problems.
Prostate enlargement is a natural part of the aging process, but this does not mean you have to live with unpleasant symptoms and taking frequent bathroom breaks. Regular prostate exams should be done to identify any issues that may develop as a result of the growing prostate. When identified early, treatment will be more effective.
ProstateMD®️ is the best available prostate supplement, using the only certified saw palmetto extract, USPlus®️. It also includes a supporting cast of natural ingredients that complement the activity of USPlus®️. With prompt diagnosis and 1MD’s natural prostate health supplement, you can support healthy prostate function and promote quality of life with aging.
Dr. Daniel Brison
Dr. Daniel Brison is a board certified urologist who completed medical school at the State University of New York, and residency at the prestigious Endourology fellowship program at UCLA.