What is the prostate?
The prostate is a small gland, situated close to the bladder, the urethra, and major blood vessels, which can cause a lot of trouble if it becomes enlarged, usually due to infection, inflammation, and in severe cases even cancer.
The enlarged gland causes difficulties with urination, and often an inability to completely empty the bladder.
The risks of prostate disease increases with age, but no matter what your age may be, one of the first symptoms is the urge to urinate frequently, and a weak urine stream.
If your urinating habits suddenly change, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor – it could save your life!
Why erectile dysfunction may result from prostate disease
- It is not the enlarged prostate that actually causes ED, because studies have shown that certain medications used to relieve an enlarged prostate, can result in erectile dysfunction, and other sexual side effects like low libido. These drugs relax the bladder and prostate muscles to such an extent that it may cause difficulty maintaining an erection, or result in a decreased ejaculation.
- Treatment may include surgery known as transurethral resection of the prostate, (TURP) which in layman’s terms, is a partial removal of the prostate gland. About 60% of men who undergo this procedure may experience retrograde ejaculation which means that semen enters the bladder, instead of going out through the penis. Sometimes called “dry orgasm” this is not harmful, but can have a negative impact on male fertility.
- Surgery to remove a cancerous prostate poses risks that nerves or arteries which are needed for erections, could be damaged. This can seriously affect sexual function, and research has shown that where there has been nerve damage, only up to 50% of men may regain the ability to achieve an erection.
- Radiation treatment for cancer can also harm erectile tissues, which may lead to ED, but this only occurs in about 50% of men who opt for this treatment.
The good news is that prostate disease need not necessarily be the death-knell for your libido and sexual function. Early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment, is key to managing your sexual concerns, especially if you have benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or a non-malignant prostate enlargement, as it is better known.
Bear in mind that it is not BPH that causes the ED problems, but rather some of the medications used to treat it.
Some men who take medication on a daily basis for BPH have reported an improvement in symptoms, and consequently an improvement in the ED problems. However some BPH meds, while improving the symptoms or BPH, actually worsen erectile dysfunction and low libido. Find out from your doctor which meds will be best for you to take that will help BPH, but not impact on ED. There some available, according to reliable research.
Natural ways to keep your prostate healthy
A healthy diet will help keep your prostate in good nick, and prevent any related sexual problems. Cutting down on processed foods, as well as refined items like bread, rolls, and other sugary things, will be a good start, as will exercise and losing weight.
Opt for natural foods such as fruit and veggies, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna, which are high in anti-inflammatories. Avoid animal fats and choose lean cuts of meat and chicken.
Excessive smoking and alcohol intake have the potential to be major risks for prostate disease.
We can help
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