The prostate gland is an important part of the male sexual reproductive system. It is located between the penis and the bladder and it surrounds the urethra. The urethra, part of both the urinary and reproductive systems, provides the pathway for urine and seminal fluid to exit the body. Components of seminal fluid are secreted by the prostate gland during male ejaculation. The purpose of these secreted fluids is to protect and nurture sperm as it is pushed through the urethra and out of the body.
A healthy prostate is roughly the size of a walnut. However, over time, the vast majority of men will experience an enlargement of the gland. Some men may also begin to experience discomfort and symptoms manifesting in diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or prostate cancer.
BPH and prostate cancer produce similar symptoms despite their causes being different. These symptoms include painful urination, dysuria (difficult urination), nocturia (nighttime urination), hematuria (blood in the urine), dribbling or incomplete urination, urinary tract infections (UTI), lower abdominal pain, painful ejaculation and even erectile dysfunction.
BPH happens due to naturally occurring hormonal changes in a man’s life and may never cause any problems. By the time the average male is 40, the prostate may be as large as an apricot and by 60, it might reach the size of a lemon. While this is common, it is not a guarantee that all men will experience an enlarged prostate.
Another common issue for men is prostatitis. Prostatitis is a disorder of the prostate gland usually associated with inflammation. Bacterial infections are frequently the cause of prostatitis. The symptoms of prostatitis can be the same as those associated with BPH or prostate cancer, but there are a few differences. With prostatitis, there is also a good chance that the man is running a fever and experiencing pain throughout the groin, as well as other flu-like symptoms.
Very often in East Asian Medicine (EAM), symptoms of prostate diseases are diagnosed as a kidney deficiency. According to EAM, the kidneys represent the foundation from which all of life exists. Kidney qi, the energy associated with the kidneys, is the gauge that determines the state of health for the whole body. For example, if kidney qi is deficient, this indicates that an imbalance exists and may require treatment to help fortify the energy of the kidneys.
It is natural for kidney strength to decline as we age. According to East Asian Medicine, there are certain foods that can help to fortify kidney qi / energy. Foods such as root vegetables, bone marrow soups, seeds (especially black sesame), blueberries, blackberries and kidney or black beans are all beneficial for prostate health, as well as kidney health. Foods that are especially helpful for men suffering symptoms of an enlarged prostate are cruciferous vegetables, pumpkin, mushrooms and berries.
Whether you are looking to reduce your risk of prostate disease or treat an existing condition, acupuncture may be able to help. Because of its holistic approach, acupuncture can help relieve symptoms associated with many prostate problems.
A report titled Traditional Chinese Medicine and Prostate Health published by Pacific College found EAM to be effective in the treatment of prostatitis, urinary tract infections and symptoms associated with prostate cancer supportive care. There have also been multiple studies that have proven acupuncture to be helpful as a stand alone treatment. A Chinese study published in 2008 found that electroacupuncture, a form of acupuncture, had a 96.4 percent rate of effectiveness for treatment of certain prostate issues.
If you are suffering from prostate issues or just want a safe and effective way to keep your prostate healthy, consider acupuncture and EAM. Regular acupuncture treatments can be very beneficial and might just keep you off medications and off the surgical table. And June is the perfect time to get started as it is Men’s Health Month. So guys, what are you waiting for? Contact us today.