In men, the urinary tract is designed in such a way that urine flows from the bladder through the urethra. However, when a man has an enlarged prostate which is otherwise known as benign prostate hyperplasia, the flow of urine from the bladder to the urethra is blocked, with prostate cells multiplying and putting pressure on the urethra through which urine leaves the body.
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The blocking and subsequent narrowing of the urethra would then make the bladder have to contract more forcefully to push urine from the body. This, in turn, would, over time, make the bladder muscle gradually become stronger, thicker and sensitive, to the extent that it would contract even when there are only small amounts of urine in it.
This would then lead to frequent urination and eventually, the bladder muscle would be unable to overcome the effect of the narrowed urethra, thus making urine remain in the bladder. All that has been described above is how prostate enlargement operates in men and the effect it has on them and their overall health.
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However, before it often gets to the advanced stage, prostate enlargement often leaves certain symptoms that can help to announce its development and help in seeking early treatment. Knowing these early symptoms can help you identify if you are having an enlarged prostate or not, to seek medical attention. Some of the early symptoms include:
1. A weak or slow urinary stream – When urinating, your urine should move fast thanks to the chute i.e urethra through which it leaves the body. However, if when urinating, you often notice that your urinary stream is weak or slow, this may be one of the best early indicators that you may have prostate enlargement.
2. A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying – this is another symptom of prostate enlargement that often occurs in the early days of prostate enlargement in men. An affected individual may feel like his bladder still contains urine, even after just leaving the toilet.
3. Difficulty starting urination – due to the multiplication of prostate cells, as well as the need for the bladder to contract more forcefully to push urine from the body, a man with an enlarged prostate may start finding it difficult to start urination anytime he feels the urge to urinate.
4. Frequent urination – another sign of prostate enlargement would be the need to frequently visit the toilet to urinate by affected men. For instance, men who can sleep like a stone at night will suddenly start seeing their sleep disrupted by a constant need to urinate at night, while other men may urinate more during the day.
Other symptoms that may help to signal the development of prostate enlargement in men include having an urgency to urinate, getting up frequently at night to urinate, a urinary stream that starts and stops, straining to urinate, continued dribbling of urine, and having to return to urinate again minutes after finishing urinating.
With the damning statistics by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, that 50% of men over the age of 50 have an enlarged prostate, finding ways to keep the prostate healthy and lower the risk for prostate enlargement is a must. With that in mind, below are a few foods that can help keep the prostate healthy and prevent prostate enlargement:
Salmon, like other fatty fish, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to have several health benefits. A few of those health benefits include protection from cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, inflammation, and weight gain, which is one of the risk factors for an enlarged prostate.
2. Bell peppers
The rich vitamin C content of bell peppers makes it a healthy food item, with the vitamin C linked to the fighting of benign prostate hyperplasia or prostate enlargement. Other food items that are excellent sources of vitamin C include broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale.
Tomatoes are red thanks to lycopene, the bright carotenoid that gives it its characteristics red colour. But beyond that, lycopene is known to lower the risk of developing prostate cancer, as well as having corrective ability on those with an enlarged prostate. Lycopene can slow down the progression of prostate enlargement and can be found in papaya, watermelon, grapefruit and apricots.
Increased intake of vegetables; both green leafy vegetables such as spinach and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli can help to significantly lower the risk of prostate enlargement thanks to their rich antioxidant properties. Regularly consuming onions and garlic can also help prevent an enlarged prostate as both are known to fight infection and help strengthen the immune system.
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