MOVEMBER EDITION: ABC's OF PROSTATE HEALTH!

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This blog post is dedicated to the most wonderful human being that I lost this year, my father-in-law Mr. Madhav Nadkarni, who left us this June for heavenly abode, one of the reasons being his long battle with prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canadian men and 1 in 7 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.( Ref: Canadian Cancer Society 2017).

You can find more information about Prostate Cancer in the video below. 

So how do you know, something is wrong with your prostate?

If your prostate is enlarged you could have 3 or more of the following symptoms. It should be noted that  not all enlargements of prostate mean that you have prostate cancer.

  •  Weak, dribbling urine stream that starts and stops

  •  Unable to fully empty your bladder when you urinate

  •  It is difficult to start urinating

  •  Urgency- overwhelming urge to urinate

  •  Get up each night to urinate

  •  Urine stream is weaker- trickle or dribble

  •  Need to strain to urinate

What are some causes of Prostate Enlargement?

Prostate enlargement could be a result of BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy), Prostatitis or Prostate Cancer.

DNA mutation causes the prostate cells to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells. The abnormal cells fail to die a programmed cell death or 'apoptosis' that is nothing but body's normal mechanism to protect itself from any abnormalities. Of the various theories why the cells proliferate to such an extent that it creates a growth, I am sharing the three most common ones below. 

1. Excessive formation of DHT

DHT or dihydrotestosterone is a potent androgen formed by the action of 5α-reductase on testosterone. While normal amounts of DHT is critical to the development of the penis and prostate in men, in excess DHT is seen to cause both prostatic hypertrophy and prostate cancer

2. Xenoestrogens

Xenoestrogens (xeno= foreign) are foreign substances that act like estrogen. These xenoestrogens are found in 3 P's -plastics like BPA, parabens found in cosmetics and pesticides; and are known to proliferate the prostate cells causing both BPH & prostate cancer.

3. Infections

Infections mainly from viruses like HPV, EB virus and other sexually transmitted diseases can cause prostatitis and also prostrate cancer

AYURVEDIC ASPECT:

In various ancient Ayurveda texts, gulma, granthi and arbuda are terms used to denote different growths due to both hypertrophy and hyperplasia.  This tumor formation from an Ayurvedic perspective, is a result of Vata-Kapha disorder. Vata dosha is responsible for the abnormal division of cells, whereas Kapha dosha is responsible for their growth of the cells. In malignancies, Pitta vitiation is common leading to involvement of all three doshas. 

Causes of Prostate enlargement according to Ayurveda:

In various ancient Ayurveda texts, gulma, granthi and arbuda are terms used to denote different growths due to both hypertrophy and hyperplasia.  All forms of prostrate enlargement from an Ayurvedic perspective, are a result of Vata-Kapha disorder. Vata dosha is responsible for the abnormal division of cells, whereas Kapha dosha is responsible for their growth of the cells. In malignancies, Pitta vitiation is common leading to involvement of all three doshas.

Vega dharan or with holding natural urges especially of flatulence, urination and semen can cause vitiation of Apana Vayu which is located in the pelvis. Other Vata aggravating conditions like eating excessively dry, cold or light foods, excessive coffee intake, over exercising, bumpy rides etc can play a role in prostrate enlargement. Apana is the Vayu with the down ward movement and is seen to be the main dosha involved in the pathology of Prostate enlargement. Vata pacification should be considered at all times in all cases of prostrate enlaergements as prostrate is a Vata site and this condition occurs in Vata dominant phase of life...the old age. 

I will be talking about Ayurvedic herbs and supplements used in management of prostate enlargement in the next blog post so stay tuned!