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HEALTH CONCERN? BioHealth Health Concerns

Prostate Health: Answers Your Doctor May Have Overlooked

Contributing Author: Grisanti, Ronald D.C.

Dr. GrisantiRonald Grisanti, DC, DABCO, MS, is a board-certified chiropractic orthopedist with a master's degree in nutritional science. He and his partner, Dr. Dicken Weatherby presently teach an innovative seven month online Functional Medicine program. The program is co-sponsored by Southern California University of Health Sciences (formerly LACC) and has been approved for up to 21 CEU hours for most states 

» Website: www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com

 

Prostate problems have been estimated to afflict approximately 50 percent of men during their lifetime. Even men in their 30's have a 5 to 10 percent chance of experiencing prostate problems with men over the age of 85 running an alarming 90+%.
The most common disorder of the prostate is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH for short. This condition commonly afflicts men over the age of 50. The beginning stages of BPH are asymptomatic.
As the condition worsens, the enlarged prostate obstructs the urethra, leading to painful and difficult urination.

The primary symptoms include the frequent urge to urinate, nocturia, difficulty starting urination, reduced force of the stream, dribbling after urination, and incomplete emptying of the bladder. The stagnation of urine in the bladder predisposes those with BPH to persistent bladder infections.

Prostate Cancer

Early stages of prostate cancer are asymptomatic. Obstructive symptoms occur later in the disease. Difficulty urinating, frequency, urinary retention, and diminished force of the urine stream are characteristic symptoms. If the cancer has spread, symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, weakness, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, discomfort in the perineum, hip pain, or weight loss. Blood may be present in the urine.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. It is primarily diagnosed in men over 65, although it may begin much earlier. It is a very slow growing form of cancer. Prostate cancer often metastasizes to other tissue, including the brain, lungs, lymph nodes, and bones.

Early detection is critical in order to increase the chances for survival. The cancer can be palpated upon digital rectal examinations. These examinations are recommended routinely for all men over the age of 40.

Diagnosis

Considering the symptoms of BPH and prostate cancer can be quite similar, it is best to have a test called Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA). This test measures the levels of protein that is produced in the prostate. It is a highly significant and sensitive marker for prostate cancer. The normal value for PSA is less than 4 nanograms per milliliter. A level above 10 ng/ml is highly indicative of prostate cancer.

Some researchers have questioned the reliability of the PSA test, however, PSA screening has been endorsed by the American Cancer Society and the American Urological Association

Prostate problems have been estimated to afflict approximately 50 percent of men during their lifetime. Even men in their 30's have a 5 to 10 percent chance of experiencing prostate problems with men over the age of 85 running an alarming 90+%.

Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone Tests

It appears that BHP is largely the result of hormonal changes associated with aging. As men age levels of the main male sex hormone testosterone will decrease. On the other hand levels of estrogen, prolactin, LH and FSH all tend to increase. Unfortunately testosterone will become concentrated within the prostate causing a conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

High levels of dihydrotestosterone may accumulate and cause hyperplasia within the prostate gland, which ultimately result in enlargement of the prostate.Although it has been thought that checking the levels of estrogen and progesterone are only for women, it is now wise for men to also be checked.

As discussed above, measuring your levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can provide valuable information in identifying the possible cause of BPH.

Conventional Medical Approach

1: Antibiotics are frequently prescribed whether an identifiable pathogen is present or not.

2: In terms of drugs, Proscar, a a-reductase inhibitor, blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.Available for only the last few years, it slows down the formation of dihydrotestosterone, the "bad" hormone that increases cell growth in the prostate.

Clinically speaking, Proscar shrinks enlarged prostatic tissue, but its effects are sometimes slow-- from 3 to 12 months for a change in urinary symptoms. Proscar is an expensive medication, with annual costs of approximately $600 to $700. And it must be taken for life, even though the full range of its side-effects will not be known for some time.

Possible Side Effects of Proscar:

Decreased amount of semen per ejaculation, decreased sex drive, impotence

3: Alpha-adrenergic blocking agents relax the smooth muscle of the urethra and bladder, making urination easier. Terasozin (Hytrin), doxasozin (Cardura), and prazosin (Minipress) are examples of drugs in this class. Alpha-blockers are also used to treat high blood pressure.The newest alpha-blocking agent is called tamsulosin (Flomax) and works in a similar fashion to the other drugs of this class.

Possible Side Effects of Hytrin, Cardura, Minipress and Flomax:

Difficult or labored breathing, dizziness, headache, heart palpitations, light-headedness upon standing, nausea, pain in the arms and legs, sleepiness, stuffy nose, swollen wrists and ankles, weakness, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, abdominal pain, abnormal vision, arthritis, constipation, depression, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, dry mouth, eye pain, fluid retention, flu-like symptoms, flushing, gas, increased sweating, inability to hold urine or other urination problems, indigestion, inflammation of conjunctiva (pinkeye), itching, joint pain, lack of muscle coordination, low blood pressure, motion disorders, muscle cramps, muscle pain, muscle weakness, nervousness, nosebleeds, rash, ringing in ears, shortness of breath, thirst, tingling or pins and needles, lack of energy, palpitations (pounding heartbeat), weakness. Blurred vision, fainting, frequent urination, nervousness, shortness of breath, vertigo, vomiting, abnormal ejaculation, back pain, chest pain, cough, infection, sore throat, decreased sex drive, dental problems.

If symptoms do not respond to pharmacotherapy, or if urination is completely obstructed, surgery may be indicated.

Alternative Medical Approach

The primary objective in the treatment and prevention of prostate should include a clear understanding of the underlying factors that may have caused the problem in the first place. Although conventional medical treatment may provide a reduction in the common symptoms associated with BHP, it only makes sense to investigate the possible causes of this condition, preventing more serious complications to develop.

Some of the more common factors linked to BHP include:

Decreased levels of male hormones specifically testosterone. As discussed earlier in this report, low levels of testosterone cause an increase in estrogen, prolactin, LH and FSH levels resulting in the conversion of testosterone to DHT. DHT is toxic to the body.

Deficiencies of essential minerals such as zinc, selenium and copper. Zinc has been shown to prevent the conversion of testosterone to DHT.

Deficiencies of essential fatty acids: Correcting an omega 3 vs. omega 6 imbalance has been shown to have a positive impact on the health of the prostate.

Deficiencies of the amino acids lysine, alanine and glutamic acid.

Pesticide and environmental toxicities such as dioxin, benzene, etc; these toxins have been linked to an increase of the conversion of testosterone to DHT.

Heavy metal toxins such as cadmium has been linked to an increase in the conversion of testosterone to DHT

The above possible causes of BHP should be ruled out. Treating the symptoms via pharmaceutical intervention may prove to be short-lived leading to probable moderate to severe side-effects and eventually a return of the prostate symptoms. Identifying the primary contributing factors of BHP should be a top priority for men serious about improving prostate function.

References:

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