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Prostate: functions, prevention and health
Prostate: functions, prevention and health

The prostate is a gland belonging to the male genital system, located in front of the rectum and below the bladder. It has a shape similar to a chestnut and in some cases it can take the shape of a crescent or a donut. In the prostate begins the urethra, a small tube whose purpose is to carry urine and sperm outside the body through the penis.

Main functions of the prostate

The prostate is made up of two areas, one internal and one external, which have completely different characteristics, in terms of composition and function. The external area is fibro-muscular , while the internal area is made up of glandular cells, important for the production of substances that will form the seminal fluid.

The secretion fluid from the prostate is called prostatic fluid, which pours into the urethra at the moment of ejaculation, mixing with other fluids and thus giving rise to seminal fluid.

During orgasm, sperm from the spermatic duct are pushed into the posterior urethra where they mix with seminal fluid from the seminal vesicle and prostate fluid. The latter represents between 20 - 30% of the total quantity of sperm and is very important for spermatozoa, because it increases their life and motility and preserves their quality and quantity.

Prostatic diseases - what are they

The pathologies that can affect the prostate during the course of life are various, and among the most frequent we find:

  • inflammation of the prostate, also called prostatitis;
  • benign enlargement of the gland (or hypertrophy );
  • cancer, or prostate cancer.

Inflammation of the prostate, or prostatitis, is mainly caused by the stagnation of urine in the bladder and urinary tract. Symptoms are varied and you may experience burning when urinating , discharge , erectile disturbances and itchy penis . Prostatitis is usually treated through the administration of antibiotics.

Benign enlargement of the prostate, on the other hand, manifests itself in difficulty in emptying the bladder , its incomplete emptying and a reduced stream of urine . This pathology often occurs after the age of 30 and is treated through surgery or the use of drugs.

Prostate cancer is one of the most complicated pathologies to find and diagnose: this is because it often results completely asymptomatic or almost. The man, in fact, does not feel neither disturbances nor particular annoyances. But cancer prevention is possible! It is always advisable to follow a healthy lifestyle, alongside the consumption of fruit and vegetables, and to undergo periodic checks to prevent the serious complications that this type of pathology can give, especially after reaching the age of 45-50.

Prostate cancer is clearly a subject of gigantic scope, and does not fall within the objectives of this article, the purpose of which is essentially to talk about prevention and well-being, in order to be able to direct towards sustainable, healthy and conscious choices.

Much can be done on a preventive but also therapeutic level, especially in the case of prostatic hypertrophy and inflammation of the prostate.

The diagnostic process sees the development of the classic path: the execution of blood sampling to determine plasma PSA levels (or "benign prostate antigen", once a tumor marker and currently an indicator of prostatic health) to the urological examination, accompanied by bladder ultrasound and prostatic and uroflowmetry. The latter is an examination that allows to evaluate the extent of the urinary flow and therefore indirectly the obstructive component of the enlarged gland and the post-voiding residue, which when present, seems to favor inflammatory and infectious processes.

The conventional approach in case of obstructive BPH (Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy) is the classic pharmacological one: treatment with dutasteride and alpha-lytics. The first drug should reduce the volume of the prostate but in some cases at the expense of libido, precisely because of its action on the 5 alpha reductase enzyme chain, preventing the transformation of testosterone into DHT. The second drug, on the other hand, can promote bladder emptying, however asking for the lowering of pressure and often the absence of ejaculation due to a phenomenon known as retroejaculation.

Healthy prostate - practical advice

Per some time now, medicine and nutraceuticals have discovered numerous components that the urologist and physician can exploit and use with great satisfaction in the treatment of benign prostate pathology.

In general, to keep the prostate healthy and prevent the most common ailments, it is advisable from the age of 45-50 to carry out a urological check-up at least once a year. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruit and vegetables, also helps prevent and protect against oxidative stress, without neglecting the role of proper hydration (at least two liters of water a day), which helps to reduce the specific weight of urine. and prevent urinary infections.

When it comes to integration, among the molecules used we cannot fail to give pride of place to Serenoa repens, a palm native to the United States, southern Europe and North Africa and also called "dwarf palm" or "serrated palmetto", plant with confirmed and proven anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative prostatic action, whose active ingredients (triglycerides, phytosterols and flavonoids) give it anti-androgenic activities, and the African pigeo, an evergreen tree whose bark is able to inhibit the proliferation of prostate fibroblasts in response to growth factors, thus favoring the reduction of the size of the prostate. These molecules, together with the epilobium in some formulations, they have confirmed their indispensable utility in the treatment and prevention of prostatic hypertrophy.

However, we must continue to ensure an environment for our body that maintains its oxidative activities, but not so excessively as to create suffering in the respiratory chain of prostate cells. Per this specific function, science has confirmed and formalized the importance of selenium, also useful in spermatogenesis, and of lycopene, always dosed in the right concentrations. Remember that excess is often more harmful than deficiency and that therapy must always be tailored to the individual person.

 

Bibliography

Nutraceutical treatment and prevention of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.

Cicero AFG, Allkanjari O, Busetto GM, Cai T, Larganà G, Magri V, Perletti G, Robustelli Della Cuna FS, Russo GI, Stamatiou K, Trinchieri A, Vitalone A. Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2019 Oct 2; 91 (3)

Benign prostate hyperplasia and nutrition. Das K, Buchholz N. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2019 Oct;33:5-11

Selenium Supplementation and Prostate Health in a New Zealand Cohort. Karunasinghe N, Ng L, Wang A, Vaidyanathan V, Zhu S, Ferguson LR. Nutrients. 2019 Dec 18;12(1)

Potential inhibitory effect of lycopene on prostate cancer. Mirahmadi M, Azimi-Hashemi S, Saburi E, Kamali H, Pishbin M, Hadizadeh F. Biomed Pharmacother. 2020 Sep;129:1

Serenoa repens for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Tacklind J, Macdonald R, Rutks I, Stanke JU, Wilt TJ. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Dec 12;12(12)

Short-term effects of a dietary supplement on lower urinary tract symptoms. Cosentino V, Militello A, Lauria G. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2018 NOV-DEC;32(6)




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