Posts Tagged ‘prostate enlargement’

PSA Testing-What Every Man Needs to Know

January 18, 2016

Prostate specific antigen is a simple blood test that can be a metric for prostate health.  It is a good screening test for prostate cancer.  This blog will discuss the PSA test and what you need to know to make a decision to obtain this common test.

Let’s start by reassuring men that having an elevated PSA level does not necessarily mean you have prostate cancer.

PSA is also likely to be increased with benign enlargement of the prostate gland as well as prostate infections or prostatitis.

It is important to emphasize that the PSA test is not a specific prostate cancer test, but it is a vital first step in screening for the potential presence of cancer.

The other factors that can cause PSA levels to rise:

  • Age: PSA levels can increase gradually as you age
  • Prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate gland, due to infection or some unknown cause
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): This condition refers to an enlarged prostate.  More prostate means more cells making prostate specific antigen, increasing the potential for an elevated PSA.
  • Urinary tract infection: can irritate and inflame prostate cells and cause PSA to go up
  • Medications: Some medications like Proscar, Avodart, or Propecia can falsely lower your PSA.  This too is important to remember.  If you are on any of these medications, talk to your doctor.  The general rule of thumb is to double your PSA for an accurate score.
  • Sex/ejaculation:  This can cause a mild elevation in the PSA, but should return to normal after a few days. That is why I usually recommend that men refrain from sexual intimacy for 48 hours prior to PSA testing
  • Prostate trauma: Anything that causes direct trauma to the prostate such as riding a bike, having a catheter inserted into the blader, a prostate biopsy, or a cystoscopy which is a look using a lighted tube through the urethra (tube in the penis that transports semen and urine) can increase the PSA temporarily.

A PSA level of less than 4.0 ng/mL is normal, while changes of more than 2.0 ng/mL over the course of a year could be an indicator of the presence of prostate cancer.

I point out that there is a familial or inherited basis of prostate cancer and also an increased risk of prostate cancer in African-American men.  In these men who are are at a greater risk of prostate cancer, I suggest annual testing with a digital rectal examination and a PSA test after age 40.  For all others, I suggest testing begin at age 50.

For men who have an elevated PSA test, then a discussion with the doctor about repeating the test in a few weeks or proceeding to an ultrasound examination and a prostate biopsy is in order.

Bottom Line: PSA testing is a non-specific test used to screen for prostate cancer.  Not all elevations of the PSA test indicate cancer.  Further testing and close monitoring as well as a prostate biopsy is in order.  For more information, speak to your doctor.

Alternative Treatments of the Enlarged Prostate Gland

November 13, 2011

Most men will have symptoms of prostate gland enlargement after age 50 Those symptoms include frequency of urination, getting up at night to urinate, urgency of urination, and dribbling after urination. There are numerous medications that are effective in reducing the symptoms of the enlarged prostate gland. There are large numbers of men who find that their symptoms are not of significance that require treatment or they are using so many medications that the men don’t want to add any additional medications to their already lengthy list of drugs. There are supplements and vitamins that can be used that may have a role for men who do not want to take additional medications.

Beta-sitosterol

Beta-sitosterol is the main active ingredient in the herbs saw palmetto and pygeum. Both of these herbs do not have enough beta-sitosterol to be of real value in giving you prostate health. Now, beta-sitosterol, which can be obtained from sugar cane pulp, can be purchased in capsule doses of 300 – 600 mg, which gives you an effective dose to eliminate your enlarged prostate. Pygeum can only provide around 30 mg and you need upwards of 600 mg daily.

Flax Seed or Fish Oil

The nutrient to use for the best prostate health diet is flaxseed oil.
Flax seed oil contains more omega-3 than omega-6 and so it makes it a good source of omega-3. The more omega-6 use, from olive oil and other vegetables oils, the more prone you will be to prostate cancer. This is not the case with omega-3 oil and this has been verified through clinical studies.

Omega-3 protects the prostates cells and has anti-inflammatory properties. Using fish oil can also be a better choice than flax seed oil since your body digests it better.

Use 1 – 2 grams of flax seed or fish oil per day.

Soy Isoflavones

Soy Isoflavones have been shown in clinical studies to have good effects on your prostate and should be added to your prostate health diet. These isoflavones are flavones and contain no photoestrogen so the have no estrogen effects in the body.

The active ingredients in the isoflavones are genestein and daidzein.Buy a brand that has up to 40 mg of isoflavones Use this quantity daily.

Ionic Minerals

The prostate needs minerals. Adding these to your prostate health diet is critical. You cannot have good prostate health without plenty of minerals and your regular diet cannot supply what you need.

In addition to these ionic minerals, you need to make sure you get plenty of zinc and selenium. The prostate has more zinc than any other part of the body. So take 15 – 20 mg per day and not to exceed 40 mg.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another critical vitamin that you want to make sure you get plenty of. If you are out in the sun a lot, then you will not need to supplement with this vitamin. Otherwise, use up to 800 IU of this vitamin.

Vitamin E

This is the next most important vitamin you should supplement with. Use up to 400 mg per day of the natural mixed tocopherols. Clinical studies have shown that vitamin E can reduce and suppress prostate cancer cells.

Bottom Line: Use, beta sitosterol, isoflavones, minerals, vitamin D, and vitamin E in your prostate health diet and see improvements in your prostate symptoms and health.

Up All Night? Help For The Enlarged Prostate Gland

November 9, 2011

Most men over the age of 50 have symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland. I will discuss the treatment options for this condition on 11\15\11 at St. Charles Surgical Hospital at 5:30. Please join me for a program that will help you make a decision for this common medical problem.

Can’t Pee? It May Be Your Medications

May 25, 2011

Having the urge to urinate — and not being able to do so — is painful, as many men know.  Certain medications may make the emergency form of this condition, known as acute urinary retention, more likely.

Painful urination or difficulty urinating are listed as possible side effects of the drugs studied – sold under the names Atrovent, Combivent and Spiriva.

An article published in the prestigious Archives of Internal Medicine reported that men with chronic pulmonary or lung diseases who had just started taking inhaled anticholinergic medications, a common treatment for the breathing diseases, had 42% greater odds of developing the urinary problem than men who were not on anticholinergics.

Bottom Line: There is an association between respiratory inhaler use and urinary symptoms especially urinary retention.  This is particularly important issue in men who have enlarged prostate glands as they are at an increased risk of having the complication of urinary retention.

Living With Prostate Gland Enlargement-Lifestyle Changes

April 26, 2010

Prostate enlargement or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) is a common, non-cancerous condition affecting nearly 14 million men over the age of 50.

The symptoms of prostate gland enlargement include decrease in the force and caliber of the urinary stream, frequency or urination, urgency, feeling of not emptying the bladder and nocturia or the need to get up at night to urinate.

Although lifestyle changes will not cure the problem, they can alleviate some of the symptoms.

Making some lifestyle changes can often help control the symptoms of an enlarged prostate and prevent your condition from worsening. Try these measures:

Remember what goes in must come out.  Therefore don’t drink anything several hours before you go to sleep.  Especially avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee (also causes insomnia) and tea as the caffeine acts as a diuretic and causes increased urine output that may result in getting up at night to empty your bladder,

Limit your alcohol consumption especially at the dinner meal.  Again alcohol acts as a diuretic causing increased production of urine causing your bladder to fill up sooner than you would like.

Avoid spicy foods.  These appear to irritate the bladder and can result in urinary frequency and nighttime voiding.

Check your medications.  Some medications like lasix and hydrochlorothiazide are diuretics and increase urine production.  I suggest you take those medications early in the day when going to the bathroom to urinate is not such an inconvenience.  You may also speak with your doctor about lowering the dosage of the diuretic especially the evening dose if you are bothered by nighttime urination.

Avoid antihistamines and decongestants as these cause the bladder to decrease the force of contraction and results in the bladder not to empty as well.  If you have to take anti-histamines, use them earlier in the day.

Don’t hold off going to the restroom.  This habit distends the bladder and can result in a weaker muscle to expel the urine from the bladder.

Use the clock to help with urination.  If you find that you are going to the bathroom infrequently and then more at night, make an effort to urinate every 3-4 hours.  Putting your bladder on a schedule is very helpful and a good habit to have.

Go and then go again.  Double voiding is a technique to ensure adequate emptying of the bladder.  If you stand at the toilet and empty your bladder, walk away from the toilet for a minute or two and then return and try emptying the bladder again.  This helps to expel more urine from your bladder than just standing there one time and voiding.

Avoid cold seats such as at football games in the winter.  The cold temperature seems to cause the muscles around the prostate gland to contract and makes urination difficult.  Instead take a blanket or a cushion. Your prostate gland will be glad that you did.

If you bike ride, especially for long distances, stand on the pedals every 10 or 15 minutes to take the pressure off of your prostate gland.  Also consider using a seat that has a groove down the middle which alleviates the pressure on your prostate gland.

Bottom Line: These steps won’t cure the enlarged prostate but they will lessen the symptoms.  If they don’t help, see your doctor for medication one of the treatments that reduces the obstruction of your prostate gland.