This is a three-part series on the physical symptoms, metaphysical causes and nutritional treatments regarding the prostate gland and its functions. Although I tried to keep this section ‘physical’, the dividing line between the workings of the mind and the working of the body is much too thin. Our active minds can have an incredible impact on our spirit, health, metabolism and endocrine system.
“Our physical body is where all the other levels—the spiritual, mental and emotional aspects of our being—reside in this life. Our bodies mirror and express our state of well-being or lack thereof on all the levels. A block or imbalance on the spiritual, mental or emotional level eventually shows up in the physical body. So not only is the body constantly communicating its own needs, it is frequently trying to communicate the needs of the other three levels as well.
If we have unmet needs on any level that we are unconscious of or ignoring, eventually our bodies try to let us know about it. For example, if you are pushing yourself to work so hard that your spiritual and emotional needs are going unmet, your body may get sick as a way of forcing you to slow down and go inside.” THE FOUR LEVELS OF HEALING ~ Shakti Gawain
Our body’s health reflects how much we honor our values and abilities as well as our deepest feelings. If, for whatever reason we resist change or our true calling, our hormones, affected by every thought, feeling, attitude etc., can change in an instant. Even negative feedback from others or in the environment can cause the whole endocrine system to go haywire and run amok!
“All sex hormones, including progesterone, estrogens, androgens, can affect mood, memory, and cognition in complex and interrelated ways. Receptor sites for these hormones are found throughout the brain and nervous system, and nerve tissue itself has been found to produce them”. Christiane Northrup
Male sex hormones are called androgens and the most important of these is testosterone. Male hormones take a much more linear approach then the constant ebb and flow of females. They rise in adolescence, level out at maturity and fall after middle age. The prostate is the weak link at middle age, also known as andropause, as it reacts to the many stresses and changes man goes through after reaching his fifties. Hormones form a closely interconnected web where a change in one affects them all.
“The gonads, located in the male and female sex organs, release the sex hormones testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. These hormones influence, among other things, sex drive and secondary sexual characteristics, including the ratio of muscle to body fat. One of the reasons men tend to gain weight as they age is that their declining testosterone levels allow fat storage to increase, and lean muscle mass to decrease. This decline of testosterone appears to be reversible, however.
Sex hormones also have a powerful influence on the mind. They influence how efficiently we think, how well we remember, how well we perform physical tasks, and how we feel emotionally.” BRAIN LONGEVITY ~ Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. with Cameron Stauth
HOW THE PROSTATE WORKS
The prostate is a spongy male sex gland shaped similar to the texture of the fruit of a plum and located just under the bladder. It actually wraps itself like a doughnut around the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder out through the penis. Through several ducts, the prostate secretes fluid that passes into the urethra to nourish and increase the speed of the sperm. The prostate actually has muscles that contract, squeezing out fluid that makes up the bulk of semen in the urethra.
“…the prostate contains a network of internal piping (ducts) and supporting muscle and fibrous cells (stroma). When ejaculation occurs the muscular stroma contracts like a pumping fist, deploying the seminal fluid out through the penis, along with the sperm it is charged to preserve and defend.
[I’d like to interject for just a moment and mention that biologically, sperm are manufactured in the testicles, each of which contains a maze of narrow tubes where sperm grow and develop for 8 to 9 weeks. The sperm then move into a wider, coiled tube (the epididymis) where they spend another two weeks maturing. Interestingly this tube where sperm mature (epididymis) would be about 20 feet (6 m) long if it was stretched out, but instead the tubes are coiled on top of each testicle, fitting into a space the size of a bean!]
“In young boys, the prostate is miniscule. It lies dormant until puberty, when, stimulated by a surge of male hormones, the gland grows and begins its lifelong task of churning out seminal fluid (semen). The seminal vesicles (attached just above the prostate) and Cowper’s glands (along the urethra just below the prostate) also add to the seminal fluid that is released during ejaculation. Within the prostate, fluid manufacturing occurs in the epithelial cells that line the microscopic glands and ducts.” DR. PETER SCARDINO’S PROSTATE BOOK, Revised Edition by Peter T. Scardino, M.D., Judith Kelmen
PROSTATE GLAND PROBLEMS
The prostate is, as mentioned earlier, very hormone-dependent and reacts very strongly to any imbalance (hormonal or otherwise). Your brain plays a major role in regulating your hormones and the development of your sperm. It is the hypothalamus and the pituitary that start the process….
If there are problems with the prostate it will directly affect the bladder. If you’ve found yourself scurrying to the washroom in the middle of the night and during the day at the most inconvenient of times, you could blame your bladder but in all probability, the prostate is the problem. Other symptoms of prostate ailments could include blood in the urine, trouble starting the flow, a weak flow and even when you’re done or think your are, it feels like you’ve still got to go.
“Men have urinary-tract problems, too—they could be suffering from an enlarged prostrate gland, which presses on the urethra, thus affecting their urine flow or stream.” THE BODY KNOWS…HOW TO STAY YOUNG Caroline Sutherland, Louise Hay
*Some of the most uncomfortable symptoms of a prostate problem are:
1) An unpleasant feeling in the lower abdomen.
2) Low back pain
3) A frequent need to urinate
4) Difficulties in urinating and emptying the bladder
5) Difficulties ejaculating
6) Problems keeping an erection
7) A decrease in libido (low sex drive)
*See the “great links” below that go into these symptoms in great detail.
PROSTATIC HYPERTHROPHY (BPH)
“The prostate gland grows rapidly during puberty and is essentially fully formed in most men by about the age of twenty five. However, at this stage it does not stop growing as you might imagine but continues growing very slowly throughout the remainder of your life. Later in life however, and typically at some point after the age of about forty-five, hormonal changes which are part of the normal ageing process can result in a slight ‘speeding up’ in the growth of the prostate gland.
As a result, once you pass the age of forty-five you begin to run the risk of your now enlarging prostate beginning to cause a series of problems. For most men sufficient enlargement to cause symptoms does not occur until after the age of sixty and some men will never experience a problem at all. Nevertheless, all men are at risk of developing problems after the age of about forty-five. http://www.disabled-world.com/health/cancer/prostate/prostate-gland.php
The prostate gland is the only organ in men that continues to grow after twenty-five. This growth can put pressure on and affect the outflow of urine, a condition called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). When the prostate puts too much pressure on the urethra, the muscular walls of the bladder have to work harder to help the body urinate. The stronger the contractions, the thicker the bladder wall becomes actually decreasing the size of the bladder and the amount of urine it can hold. If the prostate continues to squeeze the urethra, it may cause the bladder to work harder and harder, holding smaller and smaller amounts of urine until working harder and harder will hold smaller and smaller amounts of urine and possibly causing urinary retention.
“What triggers BPH is not well understood, but aging and testosterone (the predominant male sex hormone) are believed to be the primary influences on its development. Animal studies suggest that the female sex hormone estrogen (produced in small amounts in men) may also play a role, perhaps when a man’s testosterone production declines and the balance of the two hormones is altered.” PROSTATE DISORDERS H. Ballentine Carter (John Hopkins Health)
Usually an enlarged prostate occurs in half of men over 60 and even more (75%) in men over 70. Although the enlarged prostate is not cancerous, it can interfere with urination by obstructing the urethral canal, putting pressure on the kidneys, encouraging bladder infections, and creating frequent burning urination and incontinence.
“There has also been some research done on the effects of cycling, where there are extended periods of sitting on a hard, narrow bicycle seat. Numbness and pressure on the testicles, prostate and urethra have resulted in prostate problems, impotence or tumors…..the recommendation is that hard bicycle saddles should be avoided, padded cycling shorts should be worn, the saddle should be correctly adjusted—either horizontal or pointing downwards at the front—and men should make sure to get off the saddle regularly.” Zita West
In middle-aged men, sitting on the tailbone in a recliner for hours watching television can affect the prostate enough to make it hard to urinate. Nearby muscles can also aggravate prostate trouble. Heavy lifting also affects the prostate by adversely affecting muscles in the area.
“….although some prostatitis may be caused by Chlamydia or other organisms, most of these cases involve muscle tension.” Dr. Ira Sharlip
Many of our joints, muscles and ligaments are connected to thousands of tiny nerves that flow to different glands and organs. In particular, the intrapelvic muscles are hidden deep within the floor of the pelvis and not at all that easy to get at. Pain in this area can affect the genitals, perineum, bladder, urethra, anus, tailbone, and on the upper back of your thighs. When these muscles have been stressed, they can pull the bones of the sacroiliac joint out of position, resulting in pain in the lower back and groin. (The sacroiliac joints are where the wings of the pelvis—the hip bones—attach to the sacrum, the large bone at the base of the spine.
“The pelvis is the pivot of the body, aligning the upward movement of the chest and head that is most exposed to the world, and the movement that goes out and down into the feet giving direction and grounding. It is from here that we go out to meet the world, and it is here that we meet the reaction of the world to us.” Deb Shapiro THE BODY/MIND WORKBOOK
“Chronic prostatitis is one of the most common chronic infections in men of the middle and later years. On examination, the prostate gland feels enlarged, soft, and extremely tender and its surface out-line is irregular. This disease frequently produces no symptoms, but the prostate is believed to harbor infectious microorganisms responsible for some allergic conditions, arthritis, and inflammation of the nerves (neuritis), muscle [soreness] (myositis) and the iris [eye inflammation] (iritis).” SARUP’S DICTIONARY OF ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY, by Poly Mary
Prostatitis is caused by bacteria or hormonal changes, which cause inflammation of the prostate gland. Bacteria prostatitis can affect men of all ages. It’s usually caused by the spread of infection in the bladder or urethra. Doctors aren’t quite sure how the infection enters the urinary tract but some suspect an obstruction in the urethra or unprotected anal sex could be the cause. This inflammation can cause urine retention, bladder infection, or kidney infection.
“Bacteria prostatitis is often an uncomplicated illness, but if an infected prostate clamps down on the urethra and prevents the bladder from completely empyting, the infection can spread to the bladder and cause cystitis. The symptoms of cystitis and prostatitis are similar—pain and/or burning on urination, urinary urgency and hesitancy with scant urine flow. With cystitis, however, a urinalysis shows the presence of bacteria. If left untreated, cystitis can progress to a kidney infection, which is considerably more serious and often requires hospitalization” Dr. Ira Sharlip
Acute prostatitis symptoms can cause pain between the rectum and scrotum, frequent burning urination, fullness of the bladder, fever, chills, back pain and blood in the urine. Chronic prostatitis symptoms can also cause burning urination, blood in the urine and lower back pain but the symptoms are milder than acute prostatitis.
Prostate congestion can also be caused when the prostatic fluid (low or no ejaculation) backs up in the prostate causing some calcium deposits almost small little stones in the prostate which can cause inflammation. There is the possibility that there is some correlation between chronic prostate problems and prostate cancer.
PROSTATE PROBLEMS = AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE?
“Another theory under investigation is that prostatitis is an auto-immune disorder, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy prostate tissue and promotes inflammation—not unlike the way the immune system targets the joints in rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, researchers recently found that men with chronic prostatitis had increased levels of the same inflammation-related substances that are elevated in the joint tissue of people with rheumatoid arthritis.” PROSTATE DISORDERS H. Ballentine Carter
When an infection causes inflammation in the body, it can quickly spread through and affect other parts of the body. Any inflammation is seen as a dangerous predator and puts the immune system on high alert to attack and release white blood cells to protect your physical body. White blood cells are extremely important in attacking infections and thus begin the process of healing. But if the inflammation is constant and on-going, the stressed-out immune system will begin to fatigue/burnout losing its purpose and momentum. Feeling the pressure to make things right it can overextend itself and start attacking things it normally wouldn’t.
“This immune hypersensitivity can lead to a gut of problems ranging from simple allergies and weight gain to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, prostate problems, and autoimmune diseases.
Many of these happen because as the immune stays on higher alert longer than it should, its agents begin to fatigue and make bad decisions, possibly leading to autoimmune disease or not destroying mutated cells, leading to cancer formation with more frequency. This can easily give way to cancer, getting a foothold it won’t relinquish.” REVERSING DIABETES – Don Colbert
“The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test, widely used to screen for prostate cancer in men, illustrates another kind of deficiency. It often gives false positives, but even when it does detect cancers, it gives no information about their nature—specifically, how aggressive they are and how likely they are to metastasize. That is really what we need to know, because most older men develop prostate cancer, and in most cases, the risk of spread is low. A man can live to be a ripe old age, enjoy good general health, and die with cancer contained in his prostate. The problem here is that a positive PSA test is often the first step down the road ending in radical prostatectomy, an operation that has many risks and may be completely unnecessary. Until we have a reliable follow-up test that can clearly distinguish aggressive from non-aggressive tumors, I have doubts about the wisdom of using the PSA as a general screening tool, except for those at high risk on the basis of family history and lifestyle.” Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to your Well-being ~ Andrew Weil, M.D.
There is mounting evidence that prostate infections and prostate cancer can follow after prolonged periods of severe stress. The stress hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol are being looked at as the major players in the progression of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men over 50 and the second leading killer among cancers in men in North America. Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 45 but it can happen, especially to those with a family history of this disease. It is curable if detected early. Often this cancer grows silently within the gland without any symptoms until it has spread to the surrounding bone and tissue. This is why it is so important for men over 50 to get a digital rectal exam that lets the doctor feel for lumps on the prostate and a prostate antigen blood test that detects a protein that seeps out of the prostate when there is a tumor present. A urine test can point to problems in the prostate too.
“These prostate problems are to men what breast cancer is to women, as there is a strong relationship of the prostate to the flow of semen and therefore to a man’s sense of personal power, sexuality and fertility. All these issues become more pertinent as the body ages. After retirement it is not unusual to find a man feeling worthless and powerless; financial pressures can be worrisome and stressful, and relationships habitual and boring. If you find it hard to connect to your emotions and have used sex as a means to communicate, you may become even more emotionally isolated at this time.
An enlarged prostate or prostate cancer is indicative of these issues of expression and worthiness. The increase in the desire to urinate, even if there is nothing to pass, indicates a difficulty with expressing the inner conflicts and longings. Deb Shapiro YOU BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND
Animation—testosterone and prostate cancer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg3j5Ig4dJY
Bacteria, environmental chemicals (e.g., pesticides), tight underwear and diet are other possible physical causes of an enlarged prostate. A high fat, high sugar, high sodium diet can also affect the prostate, causing an anti-inflammatory response. High levels of cholesterol not only increase your risk of heart disease it has also been linked to prostate cancer. As well, body fat in a man or woman is a major producer of a hormone called estrogen. This hormone can interfere with the action of insulin which can cause excess sugar in the blood, and it has been well documented that cancer is a “sugar feeder”.
“Approximately every ninety minutes a specialized area in the brain (hypothalamus) secretes GnRH (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone). GnRH signals the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, to produce LH (Luteinsizing hormone) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). The LH tells the testes to secrete the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone stimulates the sexual desires and develops and maintains male secondary sex characteristics such as hair growth and deep voice. Together, testosterone and FSH stimulate the testes to produce sperm (spermatogenesis). The body’s ability to make and regulate these hormones is vital for maintaining virility and sperm production.” Textbook of Medical Laboratory Technology ~ Sood
During puberty LH is secreted only at night but as a boy matures later on in adolescence, the LH levels start rising during the day causing secretions of testosterone to be secreted 24 hours a day. It’s around this time that boys usually go girl-crazy and start to produce sperm.
Skin changes during puberty occur at this time too and male sex hormones called androgens can stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin to secrete an oily, waxy substance called sebum. If the glands secrete too much sebum, the skin will react by breaking out in acne or pimples.
We know now that testosterone is produced by the male testes and is known to give men their maleness: It makes hair grow on their face and bodies, it makes their voices deepen at puberty and it is instrumental in the production of sperm.
“Testosterone causes the larynx to enlarge and the vocal cords to increase in length and thickness. These changes cause a boy’s voice to break and become deeper. At around the same time a beard begins to appear, with a growth of chest, underarm and pubic hair. The amount of body hair also increases over the whole body. All androgens have what is called an anabolic effect, that is, they raise the rate of protein synthesis and lower the rate at which protein is broken down. The effect is to increase muscle bulk, especially in the chest and shoulders, and to accelerate growth of the long bones (in the arms and legs), especially during early puberty. When puberty is finished testosterone stops the growth of the long bones by ossifying the cartilage plates (epiphyses) at the end of the bones.” Encyclopedia of Family Health ~ David B. Jacoby, R.M. Youngson
But too much testosterone produced in the body can potentially cause reckless behavior, liver damage, acne, cholesterol problems, create tumors in the body and also cause the production of a liver protein that cause clusters of cholesterol to attach in the arterial walls. And as seen below, testosterone can cause prostate and circulatory problems.
“According to a Journal of Behavioral Medicine study, men with higher than normal amounts of testosterone were much more likely to engage in risky behaviors. Those slightly above normal levels were 24% more likely to have had an injury, 32% more likely to drink heavily, 35% more likely to have an STD, and 151% more likely to smoke. As the amount of testosterone increased above that point, so did the men’s chances of risky behaviors. Decision making abilities can also be negatively impacted by higher than normal levels of testosterone.
Other symptoms men may face as result of elevated testosterone levels include aggressiveness and mood swings, acne, and testicular shrinkage. It can also cause hair loss and lowered fertility. Too high levels of testosterone maintained over a longer period of time can lead to an enlarged prostate and problems with the circulatory system.” http://blog.americanlongevitycenter.com/tag/high-testosterone/
Low testosterone symptoms – dry and/or thinning skin, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, andropause, loss of morning erection, fatigue, poor tolerance of exercise, lack of exercise, heart palpitations, loss of muscle tone in arms and legs, poor memory or concentration, loss of libido, depression or anxiety, loss of motivation or competitive edge, low self-esteem, difficulty making decisions, headaches or migraines, gaining fat around abdomen, difficulty building or maintaining muscle, loss of bone density or osteoporosis, sleep apnea, use of corticosteroids
Excessive testosterone levels – testicular shrinkage, acne, hair loss, infertility, hardening of the arteries, prostate enlargement, intense mood swings, irritability, aggression, agitation, an overpowering, controlling personality.
“The relationship between testosterone and prostate cancer isn’t as clear as we would like it to be. It is true, however, that patients with existing prostate cancer should not receive testosterone replacement therapy, as it could make matters worse. Scientists are beginning to consider the possibility that estrogen plays a role in the hormonal regulation of the prostate. If that proves true, there could a connection between prostate cancer and high dietary and environmental estrogen levels.” THE PROSTATE HEALTH PROGRAM – Daniel Nixen, Max Gemex, The Reference Works
ESTROGEN AND XENOESTROGENS
In men, the testicles produce testosterone and very small quantities of estrogen. Unfortunately estrogen-like substances in hormone-fed meats and poultry, plastic bottles, detergents and petroleum-like chemicals, are creating toxins in the body. Our bodies were not designed to cope with and be exposed to these hazardous substances. These estrogen-like substances are interfering with the absorption, metabolism and transportation of nutrients in the body. Xenoestrogens are known as potent carcinogens and are causing many health problems to erupt, especially prostrate problems.
Scientists and other medical media have emphasized the dangers of these estrogens and their relation to low sperms counts as well as prostate and breast cancer in men. Men, like women have a tendency to gain weight and as they age these xenoestrogens are known to attach themselves to the fatty tissues of the body causing an array of hormonal problems. The reason being, we are unable to excrete them and so they are accumulating in our bodies, disrupting enzyme function and throwing our bio-chemistry out of balance.
As well, too much estrogen can produce an excessive amount of serotonin, raising stress levels and sugar levels in the blood and depleting an important hormone created from the pineal gland known as melatonin.
(Part III of this series goes into depth about the benefits of melatonin and its ability to strengthen the immune system and inhibit prostate cancer.)
Andropause, is another of saying ‘male menopause’. And similar to menopause in women, it’s a turning point in a man’s life. It’s literally where we take ourselves apart and put ourselves together again…but in a different way.
“Personality changes which take place in middle age generally involve what are known in psychology as ‘cross-sex issues. This means that men start exploring qualities in themselves which are traditionally associated with ‘feminine’ urges’ and women turn to spheres and issues which are more conventionally classed under ‘masculine’ drives. Exactly what this entails is worth exploring in a little more detail.” Howard Sasportas
Physically andropause is a term used when a man’s production of testosterone begins to fall and his sexual urges diminish. It’s a time when his muscles start losing their mass, skin starts to lose its tightness, and crows-feet may start appearing. In some men, it may feel like their power is draining away and they may try to regain their youth by being overly active and seductive to remain young. This is their way of reassuring themselves their still in the race.
Retirement is supposed to be a time of doing what we want rather than what we think or what others think we should be doing. It’s not a time of being obsessed with the past, or mourning over lost opportunities.
Stress is more prevalent today than it has ever been before. Some stress is good, because it helps us to grow and motivates us to keep moving forward. In fact, every action or reaction we experience comes from stress. But too much stress can impair every cell, tissue and organ in your body—it can affect your sexual expression and stifle your creativity. Stress can affect normal everyday mental processes, causing either an overactive or inactive mind. Your outer behavior may express these by overdoing or underdoing things—creating clutter in your life—or by avoiding situations or becoming too aggressive. Mental stress can increase muscular tension, leading to stiffness, clumsiness and aching limbs and joints. It can cause inflammation in the body, emotional breakdowns, depression and illness.
Stresses that impact the prostate are related to middle-age fears and insecurities, relationship crisis, competitiveness, jealousy—and of course the ‘old age’ concept. It’s a time when you may lose confidence in yourself or feel that somehow you have failed. Prostate problems can arise from, giving up, nailing the lid on the coffin so-to-speak and resigning into the mode ‘I’ll just make do’.
Competition and jealousy can lead to fear and insecurity, which in turn adds more stress as you feel pressured to work more efficiently at a job your spirit just doesn’t feel invested in. OR you may be an addictive workaholic—which means you need the constant roar of adrenaline and cortisol racing through your bloodstream. But if that project stops or suddenly ends, you’re faced with exhaustion, depression and a sense it was all a worthless production.
“Men’s Prostrate problems have a lot to do with self-worth and also believing that as he gets older he becomes less of a man. IMPOTENCE adds fear and is sometimes even related to spite against a previous mate”. YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE ~ Louise Hay
It is in this part of the body that we fear losing control and fear of losing our power. These fears could manifest as chronic pain in the lower back and in the pelvic area, arthritic conditions, prostate cancer, impotency and bladder problems. Problems with the prostate can also be associated with financial difficulties or losses and the fear of losing control of our sense of security and independence. There has been a tremendous increase in prostate cancer in the last 20 years, because we have unknowingly, unconsciously, connected the energies of sexuality and power with money.
Join me in Part II of this series, where we really dive into the psychological and metaphysical causes of prostate ailments.
to be continued….
Ejaculation frequency http://cure-erectile-dysfunction.org/ejaculation-frequency
Histamine and sexual exhaustion http://cure-erectile-dysfunction.org/histamine-and-sexual-exhaustion%20
Antidepressants and sexual function http://cure-erectile-dysfunction.org/antidepressants-and-sexual-function
Premature ejaculation http://cure-erectile-dysfunction.org/premature-ejaculation%20
High levels of testosterone http://blog.americanlongevitycenter.com/tag/high-testosterone/
Animation – Testosterone and prostate cancer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg3j5Ig4dJY