As a man ages, the prostate can grow larger. When a man reaches the age of 40, the prostate gland might have increased from the size of a walnut to that of an apricot. By the time he reaches the age of 60, it might be the size of a lemon.
Because it surrounds part of the urethra, the enlarged prostate can squeeze the urethra. This causes problems in the passing of urine. Typically, these problems passing urine occur in men age 50 or older. They can though, occur earlier.
The Prostate Gland
The prostate is a small gland in men that is part of the reproductive system. It’s about the shape and size of a walnut. The prostate rests below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. The prostate helps make semen, which carries sperm from the testicles when a man ejaculates.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
An enlarged prostate is also called benign (noncancerous) prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. It is common and cannot be prevented. Age and a family history of BPH are risk factors.
Eight out of every ten men eventually develop an enlarged prostate. About 90% of men over the age of 85 will have BPH. About 30% of men will find their symptoms bothersome. Prostrate cancer is the second common cause of death in men.
Enlarged Prostate Symptoms
Symptoms of an enlarged prostate may include:
- Trouble starting to urinate or urinating freely.
- Having to urinate frequently, particularly at night.
- Feeling that the bladder is not empty after urinating.
- Feeling a sudden urge to urinate.
- Having to stop and start repeatedly while urinating.
- Having to strain to urinate.
If symptoms persist for a longer duration, Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) and PSA (Prostrate Specific Antigen) need to be checked. The normal value is 4ng. Higher values increase the risk of prostrate cancer and may require a biopsy to rule it out.
What Ayurveda Has To Say
According to Ayurveda, one main factor for unhealthy prostate is ama. Ama refers to the sticky impurities that are created when digestion is weak and food is not digested completely. Now, aging itself can create some weakening of the digestion, but most ama is created by poor dietary and lifestyle habits, eating foods that are old and heavy or eating meals at irregular times of the day.
Ama may get eventually mix with Rasa dhatu and rakta dhatu, and may affect the mootra vaha srotas resulting in an enlarged prostate.
The prostate is located in the area of the body that is governed by Apana Vata, which includes the colon, lower abdomen, elimination and reproductive areas. Because the prostate is governed by Apana Vata, anything that aggravates Apana Vata creates pressure on the prostate.
Diet For A Healthy Prostate
Food which does not aggravate ama and is easily digested can be used for a healthy prostate.
- Warm, cooked food
- Organic vegetables cooked in mild spices
- Cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower
- Black pepper
- Light dairy products like milk and lassi
- Grains like quinoa with zinc supplement
- More fiber in the diet
- Low glycemic legumes, fresh juices
Lifestyle For A Healthy Prostate
Practicing certain yogasanas (yoga poses) helps in a healthy prostate. Try Sarvangasana, Garudasana, Shirshasana and Simhasana. Also Kapalabhati pranayama and the art of yogic breathing might help. Get proper guidance from an experienced yoga expert.
Herbal formulas like Kanchanara, Guggulu, Trikatu, Ashwagandha, Punarnava and Gokshura can be used following the advice of a qualified practitioner. Routine check ups and a healthy diet and lifestyle will definitely help in maintaining a healthy prostate.