Did you know that prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for men in the U.S.? It’s estimated that one out of every seven American men will get prostate cancer during his lifetime and one in every 38 American men will die of this disease.
Your prostate is an essential part of your body—it’s the gland that is part of the reproductive system. It’s small (similar in size to a walnut) and sits below the bladder, in front of the rectum area. The prostate assists in making semen when a man ejaculates.
Risk Factors of Developing Prostate Cancer
Although we don’t know what specifically causes prostate cancer, there are a number of risk factors that can contribute to it:
1. Genes/family history: Research has suggested that family history can increase your chances of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. In most cases, this is only relevant if an immediate family member is the one who was diagnosed.
2. Race: Research shows that African American males have a 60% higher chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, compared to Caucasian men. This could be attributed to a variety of factors, including nutritional behaviors, medical care, lifestyle variances, etc.
3. Age: Men over the age of 50 have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer.
4. Diets with high fat and dairy products: Research shows that consuming high-fat foods and high-fat dairy products can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
5. Diet high in red meat: Eating beef or pork cooked at a high temperature can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. It’s best to consume white meat.
6. Obesity: Research shows that men who are obese or overweight have a greater chance of developing aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
7. Inflammation: Also called prostatitis, this occurs when there is long-term inflammation in the prostate; it increases your chances of developing prostate cancer.
8. Exposure to high levels of testosterone: Did you know that your body naturally metabolizes testosterone? It creates dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This androgen is a type of male hormone and is responsible for the growth of the male reproductive system. If too much testosterone floods into the body, it can force the prostate to release hormones at a rapid rate—this could increase your chances of developing prostate cancer.
9. Exposure to pesticides: Research shows that farmers who spray pesticides over their crops have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, compared to farmers who don’t. In addition, this means that the genetically modified food we consume could potentially put us at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
• Early signs of prostate cancer include a burning sensation when you urinate, the constant need to urinate, an inability to urinate, and/or a feeling of incompleteness after urinating.
• Latter symptoms of prostate cancer include severe bone pain in your back and neck, drastic weight loss, a low red blood cell count, and weakness in the legs and feet.
Natural Remedies to Treat Prostate Problems
Here are some helpful natural remedies that can help treat the symptoms associated with prostate problems:
1. Herbs: Medicinal herbs and anti-inflammatory foods can reduce the inflammation of the prostate gland; try garlic, Echinacea, or the goldenseal herb.
2. Cranberry juice: A prostate infection generally occurs when bacteria clog the bladder; research shows that drinking cranberry juice can limit the bacteria’s ability to spread (although it may not kill the bacteria all together).
3. Take vitamins and minerals: Consuming daily doses of vitamins A, C, and E, along with antioxidant-rich fruits can help improve your immune system and cure the infection.
4. Avoid stress: If you are constantly suffering from anxiety, your prostate problem symptoms can worsen or be irritated. Incorporate stress relief techniques, such as deep breathing, prayer, and meditation to relax.
5. Avoid alcohol: Consuming alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods can irritate the inflammation.
6. Eat high-fiber foods: Eating foods rich in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, will keep the digestive system healthy, reduce inflammation, and help flush out the bacteria.
7. Drink water: Drink a lot of water to help detox your body and flush out the bacteria.
8. Pumpkin and watermelon seeds: These seeds contain diuretic properties, which help with urine flow. They also contain high levels of zinc, which is essential for building and repairing the immune system. If you want the full flavor and nutrients from these seeds, remove the shell and eat them plain. You can also make a beverage using these seeds—fill a jar with crushed pumpkin or watermelon seeds, add boiling water, and let it steep.
9. Healthy diet: Consume at least two servings of fish per week; ensure that the fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporate soy food into your diet as well, as soy contains phytoestrogens, which can reduce testosterone production and limit the growth of blood capillaries—these are found around tumors, especially in the prostate area.
10. Saw palmetto: Research shows that saw palmetto can alter hormone levels, which can gradually reduce the inflammation in the prostate. This herb comes from the berries that grow on the American dwarf palm tree and has been used to treat the prostate since the early 1800s. In today’s society, saw palmetto is extremely popular for men who experience weak urine flows or frequent urination. A Consumer Reports survey reported that over half of the men who have used this herb have seen their prostate infection symptoms reduced significantly. In a 2001 study published in the journal Urology, researchers discovered that men who took saw palmetto saw their prostate infection symptoms reduced over a six-month period; the men who simply took a placebo saw no reduction in symptoms.
11. Quercetin: Studies have confirmed that the flavonoid quercetin can actually aid in blocking the growth of prostate cancer cells and significantly reduce prostate infection symptoms. Quercetin is typically found in fruits and vegetables; you can purchase quercetin supplements at your local health food store as well.
Finally, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with prostate cancer or a prostate infection, contact your doctor immediately to schedule an appointment.
“5 Home Remedies for Prostate Problems,” HowStuffWorks web site; http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-prostate-problems.htm#page=5, last accessed June 5, 2015.
Hrenchir, T., “10 Natural Remedies for Men to Treat a Prostate Infection,” Newsmax web site, March 18, 2015; http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/Men-Prostate-Remedies-Health-Prostatitis/2015/03/18/id/630866/.
Woolston, C., “Herbal Treatments for Prostate Problems,” HealthDay web site, March 11, 2015; http://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/holistic-medicine-25/herbal-medicine-news-374/herbal-treatments-for-prostate-problems-647467.html.
“Risk factors for prostate cancer,” Canadian Cancer Society web site; http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/prostate/risks/?region=on, last accessed June 5, 2015.
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