The worst myths about the prostate debunked by urologists

The prostate is a gland of the walnut size what is found below the bladder and in front of the rectum; Its function is to secrete seminal fluid and produce the ejaculation spasms. This anatomical note is of no interest to the vast majority of men until it is ‘rebels’ and gets noticed. How? Well, in different ways, but mostly as disturbances in urination (frequency, quantity, force of the jet, etc) or pain.

At that time, the man takes awareness of your prostate – her partner should too, urologists suggest – and she realizes the clichés surrounding her. To inform the importance of paying attention to this part of the male reproductive system and do not underestimate any symptoms, today the European Prostate Health Day. But to suspect that there may be a problem, the first thing to do is to know what is true and dismantle the ‘fake news’ related to the prostate.

At Alimente we talk to the doctor Jose Manuel Cozar, president of the Foundation for Research in Urology (FIU), which clears up widespread misconceptions

The prostate is an ‘old man’s problem’

This is the most accepted myth, but the reality is that all men are exposed to prostate conditions, since each age corresponds to a disease.

Young men (20 to 45 years old) can suffer from prostatitis that complicates their quality of life

Prostatitis. It is the most common pathology in young men, between 20 and 45 years of age. “All men have a prostate from birth and it is essential for fertility. The prostate develops in adolescence and, from the second decade, the infectious and inflammatory pathology is the most frequent “, summarizes Cózar, who clarifies:” There are many variables around prostatitis, and Spanish Association of Urology has created a section for patients in which he answers all the doubts ”. But one thing is clear: “When the process is repeated, the quality of life decreases, that’s why do not trivialize it and consult with the urologist, which has the necessary tests to make the diagnosis ”.

Photo: iStock.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is what is commonly called an enlarged prostate, and it appears from 50 years, when the body of man begins to change. “It’s a natural process, and from 70 or 80 years all males have prostate hyperplasia ”. It is comparable to the changes associated with menopause in women, although, to be precise, “in men there is no hormonal withdrawal, but there are changes.”

The most frequent symptoms are: decreased force of the voiding stream -is the first sign that the prostate has enlarged-, urgency miccional, getting up more than once at night to urinate or itching when urinating, among others, and increase with age.

However, the HPB “not always symptomatic. By age 50, 10% of men have prostate symptoms; at 60 years, 20% and at 80 years, 60% of those affected ”.

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Cancer. It is the most common neoplasm in men, and the one more deaths cause after lung and colorectal tumors, according to the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM). 90% of cases are diagnosed after 65 years of age, although the average age of those affected is 75 years. “The big problem is that prostate cancer many times it does not give symptoms and, when it does, they can be confused with those of hyperplasia. That’s why you have to do blood test to determine the PSA (prostate specific antigen), which provides guidance on the presence or absence of cancer and the need to go to the urologist ”.

PSA is not very reliable

Exists controversy about the reliability of this biological marker to determine whether or not there really is a malignant tumor in the prostate, a debate what ditch Dr. Cózar: “There is a black legend about this parameter, but what happens is that it has to interpret it by a specialist”.

The American Urological Association recognizes the usefulness of PSA and, when it is high, “a biopsy, which is the definitive test to confirm if there is a cancer or it is a benign hyperplasia ”.

The tests that must be done in a patient with urinary symptoms are: digital rectal examination, ultrasound and determination of PSA

When a patient comes to a urology consultation with urinary symptoms, the procedure is always the same: digital rectal examination, ultrasound and PSA determination. The next steps will depend on the findings obtained with those tests. “PSA is the only organ-specific marker we have. No cancer has a marker so good like this one and, despite this, we vilify him ”, he laments.

Cycling increases the size of the prostate

This is another of the great legends that the president of FIU dismantles: “It is a sport like any other and it does not increase the risk of developing a disease. What happens is that if you have prostatitis, the continuous pounding over the area, as occurs when cycling, makes symptoms worse, but it does not provoke them ”.

Photo: iStock.

Intense sexual activity prevents prostate cancer

They are myths based on isolated studies lacking scientific rigor, but “they find an echo in the press and they end up believing”.

Cózar insists that he they do not know many aspects triggers of prostate cancer, although there is a genetic relationship (the direct relatives of a patient are at high risk), but it is clear that “sedentary life, diets abundant in saturated fat and obesity they go against prostate health ”.

Foods and habits that help

There is scientific evidence that diet is a factor that influences prostate health. The Harvard University target these foods:

  • Café: a study conducted on about 48,000 men found that those who took more than 3 cups per day reduced the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer by 30%. The effect may respond to the content of coffee in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
  • Tomato and watermelon: lycopene (a carotenoid present in these vegetables) inhibits the ability to form new blood vessels that feed the tumor. A study he found reductions of up to 25% of the risk of developing prostate cancer in men who had high levels of lycopene in their blood.
Photo: Photo: Unsplash / @ markuswinkler.
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  • Mediterranean diet: different investigations have pointed to the protective effect of the Mediterranean pattern. One of the latest works points directly to olive oil as a protective agent against this male cancer.

And aside from the diet, another relevant factor is sleep well: a epidemiological work Harvard University has found that men who sleep longer hours in a row have higher melatonin levels that are associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer by 75%.

Without fear of the urologist

The prognosis for most diseases depends on the speed in detecting and treating them. This is also valid for prostate pathology, and that is why doctors recommend routine check-ups with the specialist. from 50 years, sooner if there is a family history of prostate cancer or other individual conditions. “Many men they don’t want to go to the urologist because they don’t want a rectal exam. Many jokes are made about this matter, but jokes can kill”, Laments the specialist. “Urologists want to reproduce the successful model early detection of breast pathology in women, and that goes through do not joke“, Add.

And it sends a message to men: “The prostate is often associated with aging, and that is scary. We live off social pressure, and nobody wants to be old”. Although, worse than being it is not arriving as a consequence of ignorance and erroneous beliefs.

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