Everything You Need to Know About the Prostate Gland
What is a prostate?
The prostate is a small gland found only in men. It is usually around the size of a walnut or plum. The size can vary as a man ages for a range of reasons. Men are becoming more and more aware of the prostate in recent times, and paying some special attention to it can have wild benefits.
What does it do?
The prostate plays an important role in a man’s pelvic area. It acts as a valve, controlling the flow of both urine and ejaculate before it exits the body through the penis. It also does a lot of work with a man’s semen, creating fluids which help the sperm survive on their journey to a woman’s egg, and helping to control ejaculation.
Perhaps the most interesting function though, is as a pleasure centre for men during sexual activities. Sometimes called the p-spot, when stimulated the prostate can cause profound amounts of pleasure for men, much like a woman’s g-spot. Learning to properly utilise your prostate during sexual activities can lead a man to new heights of sexual pleasure.
Where is the prostate?
Unfortunately, nature may have played somewhat of a cruel trick on men with the location of the prostate. It is found just below the bladder, and in front of the rectum.
It is around two to four inches inside the anus, towards a man’s belly button, meaning the most effective and easiest way to reach it is through a man’s butt. The depth of the prostate varies from man to man, making it easier for some men to reach than others.
How do I find it?
There are two main ways you can find your prostate, internally and externally. Externally, you reach your prostate by touching the right area of the perineum (the area between your scrotum and anus).
You need to touch the middle to rear of the perineum as the front part of it contains the bulb at the bottom of the penis. External prostate stimulation can be effective for some men, but most will find a greater effect by reaching it internally.
Internally, you can make much greater contact with your prostate. This is done through entering the anus. If done with a finger, you will usually need to put the first two digits into your anus to reach the prostate.
Why would I want to find it?
You might wonder why people would want to find a gland located in such an unusual and difficult to reach place. It’s a good question. Prostates can be interacted with for two main reasons, health and pleasure.
From a health perspective, the prostate constantly produces liquids which become mixed with a man’s sperm during ejaculation.
If the man is not regularly using up these liquids, they can become a breeding ground for many kinds of bacteria. By performing a prostate massage, a man can drain these liquids out, and keep their prostate nice and healthy.
From a pleasure perspective, the prostate gland is often referred to as a male g-spot, or p-spot. If you’ve ever talked to a woman about their g-spot, you’ll know that immense pleasure can come from stimulating it.
The same is true for men, and they can experience intense and pleasurable orgasms by stimulating the prostate gland.
You might still have A LOT of questions about the prostate, especially if you’ve never thought about it before now. Luckily, we’re going to give you as much information as we can about it, as it’s an important part of the body that men used to get a lot of stigma for exploring.
Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate
An enlarged prostate is something you might hear talked about more and more. It’s one of the things that naturally can affect a man as he ages. But what exactly is the problem with an enlarged prostate?
When a man’s prostate becomes enlarged it can cause all kinds of problems in his lower body. There will usually be some signs that might tip you off that it is getting bigger though.
It’s important to watch out for these signs as they can give you an early warning to get yourself checked out before any problems become much worse.
What happens when your prostate enlarges?
An enlarged prostate can be a big problem for a man. The prostate gland is located between the bladder and penis, and is usually around the size of a walnut or small plum. It continues growing for your entire life, and in some cases can even reach the size of a small grapefruit.
When it is working correctly, it is responsible for controlling the liquids that exit your penis, switching between ejaculation and urination as necessary.
This means there are several intricate and small bits of pipework that go through and around the prostate. As a prostate grows, these pipes will become squashed, making it harder for fluid to move through them.
What symptoms are there of an enlarged prostate?
An enlarged prostate isn’t necessarily a problem for a lot of men. As it continues growing for your entire life, it is somewhat of a natural process, and some men will have no problems whatsoever. There are some key things you can look out for though as signs of trouble brewing.
Some of the most common symptoms you might experience are:
- Waking up at night to urinate
- Difficulty when urinating
- Slow or low flow of urine
- Starting and stopping during urination
- Very frequent urination
- Feeling like you aren’t finished after urinating
- Having to push harder to urinate
- Urinary infections
- Not being able to urinate at all
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Difficulty delaying urination
Getting checked up
How your doctor examines your prostate gland wil usually involve both a physical examination, and an evaluation through some simple questions.
The questions used are usually the ones designed by the American Urological Association (AUA), and you answer on a scale rating how common each scenario is to you. Based on your answers, your doctor will be able to make a judgement on how severe your situation is.
Your doctor will then usually perform one of a few types of physical examinations. The most common of these will be a Digital Rectal Examination, or to put it more simply, the doctor will insert a gloved finger and have a feel of your prostate to see what’s going on.
If this doesn’t give the answers desired, they might then choose to perform tests on either your urine or your blood to check for infections or diseases.
If you are confirmed to have an enlarged prostate, your doctor may want to run some additional tests to find the exact cause and how severe the situation is.
These tests can include: Ultrasound imaging of both your prostate and bladder, studies of your urinary flow and bladder post urination, and sometimes a cystoscopy where a small imaging tube is inserted into the urethra for a direct look at the prostate.
Treatments for Enlarged Prostate
Once your doctor has determined whether or not your enlarged prostate is a problem, and what exactly may be causing the problem, they will choose an appropriate course of treatment for you.
In some cases, a simple course of antibiotics will be enough to clear up any issues you might be having. When this doesn’t work, there are a couple of other options the doctor might want to take.
One option is Alpha-Blocker medication. These were originally designed to help with high blood pressure and work by relaxing the muscles around the prostate and bladder, making it easier to urinate. While they don’t directly treat the prostate, they are effective at relieving some of the symptoms.
The other option are drugs called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. While the name is a bit of a mouthful, the function is actually quite simple. A male hormone called dihydrotestosterone is a key part in prostate growth.
The inhibitors reduce your levels of dihydrotestosterone which in turn reduces the amount of prostate growth you experience.
Both of these treatment options aren’t without their own risks. You may experience headaches, stomach problems, dizziness, erection problems, decreased libido, or many others.
It is important that the doctor is able to properly diagnose any problems you’ve been having so they can give you the appropriate treatment, so try to be as honest and open with them as possible, even if it is an embarrassing subject.
Last treatments before surgery
When medications aren’t working on clearing up your prostate problems, there are still options the doctor can take before turning to surgery.
These can usually be done in a doctor’s office and involve shrinking the prostate to ease the problems. There are three types of therapy the doctors can perform.
TUNA (transurethreal radio frequency needle ablation) is a procedure done under local anasthetic. Needles are inserted directly into the prostate and transmit radio waves to heat up the tissue. By using heat, some of the prostate tissue is destroyed, opening up more room for the urine to pass through the prostate and out of the urethra.
ILT (insterstitial laser therapy) is also done under local anasthetic. This involves inserting a cystoscope through the urethra, and passing a laser fibre through it to puncture the prostate. Once punctured, the fibre heats the prostate to destroy some of the tissue and shrink the gland.
TUMT (transurethral microwave therapy) is probably the least painful of the three, as it doesn’t require general anasthesia but a topical anasthetic and painkillers. This therapy uses microwaves to directly target areas of the prostate that need destroying.. At the same time, certain areas are cooled to prevent uintentional damage to the surrounding tissue
Surgery for enlarged prostates
As a last resort, your doctor may recommend undergoing surgery to help deal with your prostate problems. Many of these are also not as invasive as you might think, and open surgery will generally only be a truly last resort.
Laser Surgery actually takes on many forms when used for prostate shrinking. While the actual method may differ, the intention is the same throughout. The laser acts as a high energy vaporiser, and destroys areas of the prostate, allowing urine to flow properly again. Sometimes laser surgery will require you to stay at the hospital overnight.
TUIP (transurethral incision of the prostate) is a slightly different procedure. Rather than destroying areas of the prostate to reduce the pressure, small incisions are made into the tissue. These incisions help the urethra to begin to function properly again, and patients are usually able to go home the same day.
TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) is the most common treatment patients will have if they need surgery. An electrical loop is used to cut very specific sections of the prostate that are applying pressure to the urethra. Most doctor’s will recommend this as it is the least invasive form of treatment available.
Prostatectomy (Open Prostate Surgery) is the last option when all other procedures and medictions have been tried or aren’t appropriate. It is only used in situations where the prostate is extremely enlarged, or if damage is beginning to affect other areas of the body. An incision is made into the abdomen and the inner layers or the prostate are removed, to ease pressure on the urethra.
While surgery is the last resort in prostate treatment, it isn’t without it’s own risks. All of the surgical treatments have their own potential side effects, some of which might never be recovered from.
The most common side effects tend to be urinary problems or erection problems, but these tend to pass with time. There is also a risk of retrograde ejaculation (where ejaculate moves back to into the bladder rather than out of the body).
This isn’t particularly painful but can cause fertility problems, so you should discuss this with the doctor if you intend to have children.
While there are a lot of different treatments and some of them sound a little terrifying, you should try not to worry too much about it. At the end of the day, not having your prostate treated or examined could put you in a much worse position, so if you experience any of the symptoms listed you should get checked out as soon as possible. Before you know it you’ll be back to normal with a nice healthy prostate.
How to Reduce the Size of Your Prostate
Prostate disorders affect more and more men, especially as they get older. A lot of these disorders result in, or are caused by an enlarged prostate.
To try and combat this, many men are constantly looking for ways to reduce the size of their prostate glands, turning to milking and massage, kegel exercises, and in the worst cases treatment and surgery by doctors.
While all of these measures are effective when dealing with your prostate, there are some simple and easy steps you can take in your everyday life to reduce both the size of your gland, and the chances of developing diseases later in life.
None of these steps are too drastic, so you shouldn’t feel too hard-pressed to incorporate them into your life.
It is worth noting that while an enlarged prostate can cause health problems, it’s not always a bad thing. Some men with a larger prostate will continue to function completely normally. Likewise some men with a “regular” sized prostate could have many problems with theirs.
It’s really just down to your own body, and adopting these steps aim to improve prostate health overall, not just shrink it.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Keeping your body weight and fat at healthy levels is important for almost all parts of your body, and your prostate is no different. When you carry around a lot of extra weight you put a lot of unneeded strain and stress on the various parts of your body.
The extra fat has to go somewhere, and it usually finds its way between all of your important muscles and organs, squashing everything. With the prostate this can be even more disastrous, as most prostate problems come from things getting squashed down there as your prostate grows.
As discussed in our article on Exercise and the Prostate, regularly taking part in aerobic physical activity can have massive benefits on your prostate. Many studies have shown that people who are regularly active have much lower chances of contracting prostate related illnesses.
Moving more can also help with symptoms if you already suffer from any illnesses. While not specifically studied, it is likely that the increased blood flow around an active body help the gland to grow less, and become less inflamed.
Another general lifestyle tip, but one that is again important in maintaining a healthy prostate. Certain types of food carry a much greater benefit of prostate health. These foods not only maintain the health, but can actually slow the growth of the prostate entirely.
The best kind of diet for this is one high in fresh fruits and vegetables, oily fish, nuts, eggs, and red meat (in moderation).
Plant Proteins are the Best Proteins
Studies have been done on the effects of both dairy and meat products which have shown high consumption in both can increase your risk of prostate cancer. Plant based proteins on the other hand are generally considered the best way to get your protein intake and remain healthy.
Foods such as lentils, quinoa, beans and grains give you a lot of options while maintaining your protein levels in a more healthy way.
Avoiding Caffeine or Alcohol
If you’ve ever had a heavy night out, you’ll know that once you break the seal, you just keep going to the bathroom over and over again. Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, which increase the amount of urine your body needs to expel. If you already suffer from some of the urinary symptoms of prostate disorders, cutting back on both types of fluid can help you need the bathroom a lot less.
Similarly avoiding fluids in the evening can stop you needing to get up in the night. While cutting down on liquids won’t necessarily reduce the size of your prostate, it can really help alleviate some of your symptoms.
Keep Your Hormone Levels Healthy
As men age, the amount of testosterone the body naturally produces will drop. Most of the time this will result in a higher level of dihydrotestosterone and estrogen, both of which usually stimulate prostate growth.
In order to balance hormone levels later in life, men need to take extra care with their diet and exercise levels, and if they need more help to maintain balance, some supplements are available to help.
Choose the Right Supplements
There are tons of supplements out there, many of them advertising to be miracle cures for things you didn’t even know existed. While a lot of them will be largely bogus, some supplements have been thoroughly researched and proven to be beneficial to maintaining a healthy prostate.
In order to make sure you aren’t taking anything that can make things worse, it’s always recommended to discuss things with your doctor. In some cases, a supplement may not only be no help to your situation, but also unbalance other parts of your system, making the overall picture much worse.
Keep Stress Levels Low
Another piece of sage life advice, but keeping your stress down is incredibly difficult in the modern world. It’s important not to underestimate it though, as healthy stress levels can give you massive improvements in almost all parts of your life.
This is equally true for your prostate, as high stress can reduce the amount of zinc your body produces, and zinc is very important for a healthy prostate. Stressed men are also at risk of pelvic tension, and lowered immune systems, both of which can worsen any poor prostate health symptoms you might experience.
Talk to Your Doctor or Pharmacist
As always, one of the best places to start when looking at increasing your health is with a visit to the doctor. A frank and honest conversation about your lifestyle and diet can let the doctors give you some great advice on how you can improve both your prostate and overall health.
There’s nothing to be shy about, doctors will have had these conversations a million times over, and shouldn’t have any problems running you through anything you aren’t sure of.
Prostate Exhaustion: A Tired Story
The prostate is a truly sensitive part of the male body. You might have known that not making enough use of it can cause bacteria and infections to build up and cause health problems. What you might not have known, is that overusing it can be equally bad for you, often leading to prostate exhaustion.
One of the prostate’s main functions is to assist men in ejaculation. A lot of the throbbing or spasming feeling you will experience during ejaculation comes from the tensing and releasing motion of the prostate itself, as it pushes fluids towards the outside of your body. By partaking in excessive ejaculations, you can overwork the prostate.
An exhausted prostate is characterized by a wearing away of the nerves in the area. When this happens, the brain will attempt to compensate by releasing a cocktail of chemicals into your bloodstream. This tends to aggravate the problem further, as it weakens the nervous system, making it difficult for your body to heal the damage.
Prostate exhaustion can prove very difficult for you or even doctors to diagnose. Many of the symptoms will be the same or similar to what you might experience if you suffer from other prostatic diseases or disorders. There are some symptoms you can look out for though including:
- pain and cramps in the pelvic area
- emotional instability
- fuzzy vision or eye floaters
- premature ejaculation
- weak erections
- memory loss
- muscle weakness
- hair loss
- headaches and migraines
- lowered sex drive
- insomnia or difficulty sleeping
Some of those symptoms might surprise you. The brain itself plays a large role in prostate exhaustion and recovery.
As long as you continue to excessively ejaculate it is unlikely for the chemical balance of your body to recover, so these symptoms could persist long term, and potentially get stronger or worse.
If you suffer from prostate exhaustion regularly or for a long period of time, it can lead to inflammation, swelling, and even some of the diseases caused by not making enough use of your prostate. It really is all about striking the right kind of balance between using it enough, but not too much.
If you haven’t got the balance quite right though, don’t worry. Just as prostate massage can help with problems from under using your prostate, it can equally help with exhaustion.
The main benefit is in a reduction to any swelling and inflammation by freeing up some of the fluids produced by the gland, letting your body have some time to restock it’s natural chemicals and get your prostate back to normal.