Approx half of Aussie men over 50, & most men over age 70 will have some degree of prostate enlargement, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) which causes many of the symptoms listed below. Prostate cancer is also very common & will mean similar symptoms – so it is important to get any prostate symptoms checked early! It’s a great idea to proactively implement some ‘general prostate support’ for all men aged 45+ as well.
Note: while approx 1 in every 6 Aussie men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85, many prostate cancers don’t grow aggressively or metastasise. Having an enlarged prostate does not increase risk of cancer, they just cause similar initial symptoms.
Family History & Risk:
– you have 2x the average risk of developing prostate cancer if your father or brother has been diagnosed
– if you have 2+ close relatives diagnosed, your prostate cancer risk increases by 5x
– your risk will be higher if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, esp if BRCA1 or 2 gene mutation was involved.
Signs & symptoms that your prostate is enlarged:
Do not ignore these signs & symptoms or pass them off as ‘normal’ for older blokes. You want to know if there are malignant cells or if your prostate is just swollen / enlarged. It’s important to get a diagnosis early when you notice symptoms, so you can be best equipped to treat either the benign enlargement or potentially cancerous tissue.
Get your prostate checked ASAP if you notice any of the following symptoms of enlarged prostate:
– Frequent urination
– Sudden urge to urinate
– Needing to urinate at night
– Weak urine flow
– Incomplete bladder emptying
– Straining to urinate
– Urine stream which starts and stops
– Dribbling of urine
– Blood in the urine
– Painful ejaculation
– Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area, or upper thighs
– Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
– Tiredness, shortness of breath, dizziness, fast heartbeat or pale skin
Medical Testing (expect that the following may be part of reaching a diagnosis’ get all this done with your Dr even if your preference is to treat naturally if possible):
– urine sample
– blood test (PSA ‘prostate specific antigen’ levels – these can be high in men with an enlarged prostate gland or with prostate cancer.)
– rectal exam (gloved finger into the rectum to feel the state of the prostate).
– ultrasound exam (pics of the prostate).
– referral to a urologist for a prostate biopsy (small tissue samples from the prostate gland to check for cancer cells).
Medical Treatment For BPH Can Include:
– medication and surgery (from radical to minimally invasive, there are many procedures used) & will depend on:
a) size of your prostate
b) your age
c) your general health
d) how much discomfort you have
Many men choose to avoid medication & procedures for BPH, particularly if their discomfort is mild. They will instead opt to monitor symptoms, & often they’ll improve with diet & lifestyle modifications, or supplementation / herbs etc.
Medical Treatment For Prostate Cancer Can Include:
– active surveillance (watch & wait as with BPH, if the cancer is not aggressive).
– hormone therapy
– radiation therapy
Because of the delicate area in the body, prostate treatment can be tricky, & as prostate cancers tend to be slow growing / non-aggressive there’s often a ‘watch & wait’ approach taken. In most cases men can make huge improvements to prostate health using diet, lifestyle modifications, some complementary therapies & keep up regular monitoring by their urologist (ie 6 monthly).
Surgery outcomes frequently include loss of erectile capacity & / or urinary incontinence which can be devastating, depending on the man & on his age (it can be very different for a virile man in his 50’s vs a man in his 80’s who may be less attached to this). If erectile dysfunction is an ongoing side effect, many men can regain ability to have erections – there are sex therapists who specialise in this area with many tools at their disposal. It will take time & patience though. Urinary continence can also often be improved with support / various procedures. So prostate surgery can have side effects, & is not something to be taken lightly. Many men choose to avoid surgery in favour of managing the cancer (depending on type). It’s advisable to seek more than 1 opinion, & definitely speak to an integrative oncology practitioner for their input on your individual case.
Prostate Support From A Naturopathic Perspective.
– low carb diet
– low animal fats
– high fibre / lots of plants / diverse fermentable fibre for a healthy bowel
– essiac tea
– nettle tea
– epilobium tea
– prostate ‘pesto’
– broccoli sprouts
– turmeric-pumpkin seed / oil (styrian)
– soy (organic)
-linseed (soaked seeds or meal)
– cooked tomato / tomato paste
– brazil nuts, 6 a day-seaweed with iodine
– high antioxidant diet (lots of brightly / deeply coloured plants, eat the rainbow, add extras by juicing / powders etc)
Minimise / avoid:
– sugar, all forms
– refined carbohydrates
– alcohol, esp beer
– red meat & dairy-artificial / fake / junk foods
– trans fats
– lift weights to improve insulin sensitivity, increase muscle mass & decrease abdominal fat
– moderate sun exposure, & supplement with vitamin D when not possible
– regular sauna to assist in detoxification / aid in fat-burning
– ice baths / cold showers to assist with circulation & immunity, mental health, hormonal & metabolic benefits
Other natural factors for prostate health that can be useful:
Meditation / stress management (every health issue benefits from this!)
Deep muscle release of perineum
Alternating heat & cold packs to decrease swelling & improve circulation, also hot & cold sitz baths
Herbs – There are many to consider (a practitioner will prescribe based on your case), some of the most well known prostate herbs are:
Specific Supplements that may be relevant (ask your practitioner):
– zinc (such a common deficiency, & so important for prostate health)
– boron (trace element, common deficiency)
– selenium (eat Brazil nuts = easiest option)
– Nat Sulph tissue salt
Mental Emotional Stuff to Explore:
– loss of / weakening masculinity
– fear of / giving into one’s belief in ageing
– fears draining masculinity
– sexual pressure
– sexual guilt
Affirmations for general prostate health:
‘I accept & rejoice in my masculinity’
‘I love & approve of myself’
‘I accept my own power’
‘I am forever young in spirit’
Books / websites / resources that may be worth a look (some are prostate cancer specific, others are relevant for all cancer, some for health & disease in general):
Solaris Cancer Care – useful support organisation https://solariscancercare.org.au
‘Thriving After Cancer’ https://www.amazon.com.au/Definitive-Guide-Thriving-After-Cancer-ebook/dp/B00CCPIL7K
‘How to Fight Prostate Cancer and Win’ (by NSW Naturopath Ron Gellatley who was diagnosed)
‘Shattering The Cancer Myth’ by Qld Naturopath Katrina Ellis
‘Cancer-Free (4th Edition) — Your Guide to Gentle, Non-toxic Healing.’ Bill Hendersen
‘Radical Remission’ https://radicalremission.com
‘Mind over Medicine’ by Lissa Rankin MD
‘The Biology of Belief’ by Bruce Lipton.
Books by Dr Joe Dispenza
The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani – HayHouse | Hay HouseAwakening the Sacred Body: The Tibetan Yogas of Breath and Movement (online workshop)
You Tube Info on Sulforophane: Sulforaphane and Its Effects on Cancer, Mortality, Aging, Brain
More books / websites sharing first-person cancer experiences:
Petrea King Petrea King – Quest for Life Foundationhttps://questforlife.org.au › About
Ian Gawler About Us – gawler.orghttps://gawler.org › about-us
Cathy Brown ’https://www.amazon.com.au/My-Answer-Cancer-Inspirational-Story/dp/1504304942