Many men notice changes in their lower urinary tract as they grow older. Urinating and sex can become more difficult, and these geriatric changes are often the inspiration for many jokes.
Funny or not, these changes are often unpleasant and affect the quality of life for older men. And it's not just a minority of men who experience these symptoms. Nearly all men, by the age of 80, develop an enlarged prostate and the symptoms that go along with it . Twenty-five percent of men are affected as early as their 40s .
When this gland becomes enlarged, men may have difficulty urinating or emptying their bladders completely, and they may wake up often in the night to urinate.
An enlarged prostate gland is the source of the urinary tract changes that many men experience with age. When this gland becomes enlarged, men may have difficulty urinating or emptying their bladders completely, and they may wake up often in the night to urinate.
Since so many men are affected by this condition, there are some important things you need to know.
What is the prostate?
This gland sits next to the bladder and is responsible for production of semen components. The prostate makes a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which helps to liquefy semen and make it easier for sperm to move about and eventually fertilize an egg.
Your prostate is essential for your reproductive abilities and is crucial for healthy ejaculations.
Why do Prostates Become Enlarged?
Simply put, the main cause of enlarged prostate, or BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), is the overproduction of prostate cells.
With age, prostate cells become less sensitive to signals that regulate their growth. So they tend to multiply rapidly, leaving you with a larger prostate. One signal that these cells become less sensitive to is the apoptosis (cell death) signal. When cells aren’t dying when they need to, they stick around, too many cells build up, and your prostate gets too big.
Sex hormones also play a big role in BPH. The overproduction of DHT, an especially powerful form of testosterone, is one hormone that leads to enlarged prostates. DHT causes prostate cells to multiply too aggressively. It is a powerful pro-growth hormone.
Fewer people know about estrogen’s role in causing BPH. When men get older, testosterone declines but estrogen stays high . This is because of an increase in the estrogen-producing enzyme aromatase and the usual increase in fat mass (fat cells generate estrogen) .
Emerging research indicates that excessive estrogen may play a role in this overgrowth of the prostate gland . Estrogen levels inside prostate cells rise with age, and this causes rapid replication .
As men get older, increased insulin circulation can lead to a rise in prostate cell replication and BPH . Insulin causes cells to divide.
Excessive inflammation in the body can also contribute to BPH . Inflammation induces cell growth.
Prostate Cancer: Frequently Asked Questions
Prostate cancer is closely related to BPH because both affect, almost exclusively, older men, and they both produce similar symptoms.
Prostate cancer occurs when malignant prostate cells multiply. BPH occurs when normal prostate cells multiply excessively.
1.What causes prostate cancer?
If someone in your immediate family has had prostate cancer (PC), your chance of developing the disease increases two to three fold. So researchers believe that there are genetic conditions that increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Epidemiological studies show that an increased consumption of meat, dairy, refined carbohydrates, and eggs lead to a greater risk .
If you are over 50, and are of African or European descent, you are more likely to develop PC.
Lifestyle factors play a large role in the development of PC as well. Epidemiological studies show that an increased consumption of meat, dairy, refined carbohydrates, and eggs lead to a greater risk 
It is known that animal products can have a variety of inflammatory effects which increase cell division and cancer growth. High-temperature cooked meat is often full of mutagenic compounds, AGEs, endotoxins, and environmental pollution.
These can all contribute to cancer initiation through DNA damage and can also stimulate excessive cancer cell replication.
2.How is PC diagnosed?
The only way to fully confirm prostate cancer is a biopsy (the removal of small amounts of prostate tissue for microscopic examination).
Other methods can give clues as to whether PC is occurring. Blood PSA tests, testing prostate-specific-antigen, gives a clue whether the prostate is either enlarged or has cancer. When so, the prostate lets off excessive amounts of PSA. Other tumor markers can also be tested in the blood because high PSA doesn’t always occur with prostate cancer.
Imaging techniques like ultrasounds and MRIs can show the state of the prostate and give a clue to cancer status.
3.Is there a way to prevent prostate cancer?
Some health experts recommend a vegan or a calorie-restricted diet for reducing the risk and growth of prostate cancer as much as possible. These diets make sense in inhibiting cancer growth because they reduce various growth factors that help cancer spread quickly: insulin-like growth factor, insulin, VEGF, and inflammation.
4.How curable or serious is prostate cancer?
Luckily, prostate cancer is effectively treated and contained, and early detection of the disease greatly enhances the chances for successful treatment.
Prostate cancer, if isolated to the prostate, cannot kill you. The real threat from prostate cancer is if it metastasizes to other parts of the body. This spread is often to the lymph nodes or bones. When cancer spreads to more crucial organs, your life can be put in danger.
Prostate tumors, or the whole prostate, can be removed by surgery. If caught early enough, chances are the cancer has not spread, especially if a person is practicing a healthy lifestyle.
Are you concerned about your prostate health?
Would you like an easy way to maintain proper prostate health at any age?
The good news is Nutritionist Evan Burns has just released his FREE prostate health cheatsheet, which reveals everything you need to know from signs and symptoms of an unhealthy prostate to foods and natural remedies for improved prostate health, it’s got you covered.
He even provides answers to the top prostate health questions that most men are too embarrassed to ask their doctors about.