How often do you think about your prostate gland? Hopefully, at least once a year, when you schedule an annual exam. That exam should include a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). Other than that, chances are that you go through every day without once thinking about that small gland tucked away beneath your bladder. You never give it a thought—unless it makes you aware of its presence through urinary symptoms or pelvic floor pain. Are these signs that your prostate gland wants to get your attention?
Ignoring symptoms is not a good idea. In most cases, the problem is not life-threatening and there is a simple solution. However, if your prostate gland could speak to you in words, it would tell you to take steps to keep it and its neighbors in good working order. After all, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
5 easy ways to care for your prostate
Even though the walnut-sized gland is sheltered in a place that’s rather mysterious to most guys, there’s no great mystery about how to keep it in good shape. The same principles that keep your entire body running as smoothly as a well-tuned car apply equally to your prostate. Whether you see your physical self as a practical Toyota, a luxurious Rolls Royce, or a fast-lane Porsche, you want to preserve the health of the walnut-sized gland that keeps a man’s sexual and reproductive functions in great working order.
Here are our 5 top tips for prostate care—and it’s no secret that they are the same top 5 tips for overall well-being:
- Eat a non-inflammatory, heart-healthy diet. Experts recommend the Mediterranean diet or the DASH eating plan. We have also posted on how anti-inflammatory diets reduce prostate cancer risk.
- Develop an exercise program and stick with it. Not only does intense exercise offer cancer protection, there is evidence that men who work out (for fun or work) 3-5 hours per week are less likely to develop BPH than men who exercise less than 2 hours per week.
- Practice good stress management. The Prostate Cancer Foundation suggests there’s an interrelationship between prostate cancer and stress whereby each of them can make the other worse. Techniques such as mindfulness, breathing exercises and relaxation may also help make BPH more manageable.
- As long as you’re taking time to relax and practice mindfulness, brew yourself a cup of green tea and sip it. The organic compounds in green tea cut down the changes of prostate cancer.
- Commit to an annual wellness exam that includes a blood draw for PSA and its variants, as well as a DRE. If either or both are suspicious, run—don’t walk—to the nearest facility where you can have a multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) performed on a 3T magnet. This advanced imaging isn’t just for prostate cancer. When done on state-of-the-art equipment, and interpreted by an expert reader, it provides a visual 3-D portrait of your prostate anatomy and details regarding both healthy and abnormal conditions. This means BPH, inflammation, infection or other unusual tissues in and around the gland can be identified, and next steps can be taken as needed. Just as important, 3T mpMRI helps avoid unnecessary prostate biopsies, and if a biopsy is indicated, real-time MRI-guided targeted biopsies use fewer needles yet offer the most accurate diagnosis.
The bottom line: Don’t neglect your prostate health. Incorporating the above 5 tips into your life not only contribute to longevity, it also improves your quality of life. Don’t wait. Start today, and experience better health.
NOTE: This content is solely for purposes of information and does not substitute for diagnostic or medical advice. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing pelvic pain, or have any other health concerns or questions of a personal medical nature.