Here’s what you can do to keep your prostate as healthy as possible.
Many men secretly worry about their prostate and how to keep it healthy. That’s because the prostate is a key driver of urinary control and erectile function. If anything happens that affects the health of the prostate, these two vital functions may be in jeopardy.
One of the biggest concerns men have regarding their prostate is getting prostate cancer—and with good reason. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men behind skin cancer and is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men after lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Other issues related to the prostate include benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is an enlarged prostate, and prostatitis, which is associated with inflammation of the prostate gland and often causes pain.
Although there is no way to guarantee you won’t get prostate cancer or another issue related to your prostate, the steps below may improve the health of your prostate and lower your cancer risk. As an added bonus, many of the tips will also make you healthier overall.
- Maintain a healthy diet. You may wonder what your diet has to do with your prostate, but the fact is that what you eat may affect the health of all parts of your body, your prostate included. Aim for a healthy eating pattern that includes at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Filling your plate with antioxidant-rich leafy greens is a bonus. Also eat red fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes and watermelon, which contain lycopene. This antioxidant may slow the growth of prostate cancer. Choose whole grains over refined white grains and limit your consumption of red meat, especially charred meats which may contain a chemical compound that increases cancer risk. Additionally, limit saturated fats from meat and dairy, don’t eat too much sugar or salt, and watch portion sizes.
- Exercise regularly. Although an exact link between exercise and prostate cancer hasn’t been established, regular physical activity has been shown to help people lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is linked to an increase in several types of cancer, so lowering your body mass index (BMI) may keep you protected from prostate, as well as other types of cancer. Regular exercise is also good for your heart, which is something men can benefit from at all ages.
- Get screened. There are differences of opinion about prostate cancer screenings in relation to when they should happen, how often, and how effective they are. The best way to determine if and when you should be screened for prostate cancer is to talk to your doctor. Together you can weigh the pros and cons of screening and decide if it’s right for you.
- Know the warning signs. You should see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms that may indicate a health issue related to your prostate: urinating frequently; needing to get up many times during the night to urinate; painful urination; dribbling of urine; blood in urine or semen; painful ejaculation; or frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area.
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Date Last Reviewed: July 19, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD