Functional Health for Men: What Is Function of the Prostate?
Up until around fifty, little thought is given to the prostate. However, as men age, the prostate grows and creates complications in urination. Sometimes complications remain benign while others lead to chronic conditions or even develop into prostate cancer.
At Doctors Studio, we believe in empowering our patients and readers with knowledge about their health so they can be proactive about creating a vital, healthy life that allows them to do the things they love. While much is discussed about different conditions connected to enlarged prostates and how to treat them, it’s important to first understand the prostate's function.
What Is The Prostate?
The prostate is a gland that’s integral to the male reproductive system. It’s roughly the size of a walnut (if it’s not enlarged) and is located just beneath the bladder, surrounding the urethra. When the prostate enlarges, it creates pressure on the urethra, contributing to the difficulty urinating that many men experience.
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What Is The Function Of The Prostate?
Though it’s a relatively small gland, prostate functionality runs a fascinating and impressive spectrum.
1. Hormone Conversion
For proper function, the prostate gland needs male sex hormones that help produce secondary sex characteristics (such as facial hair). To help with necessary male development, the prostate secretes a hormone called 5-alpha reductase that converts testosterone into a hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
This hormone conversion reduces the risk of prostate cancer and the disturbance of the urinary tract, symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Before semen ejaculates, it’s filtered through the prostate gland. This filtration process removes toxins from the sperm. Men can help their prostate gland thrive at this job by making healthy choices such as buying organic food, eating fresh vegetables, and drinking plenty of water.
3. Semen Production
As the main function of the prostate gland, semen production happens when the prostate produces an alkaline fluid that helps protect sperm when it arrives in the woman’s vagina.
4. Urine Regulation
The prostate surrounds the urethra and ensures that a man doesn’t urinate until he’s ready. The prostate gland also ensures that no urine mixes with semen when a man ejaculates. When a man has an enlarged prostate, one of the first giveaways is difficulty urinating or a constant sensation of needing to urinate. That’s because its enlargement makes it difficult to regulate urine flow correctly.
5. Sperm Attachment
The prostate creates something called prostate-specific antigen. This substance is a glue that allows sperm to attach to a woman’s cervix. Once the sperm has attached, the prostate-specific antigen dissolves, freeing the sperm to swim and potentially find and fertilize an egg.
6. Sperm Pump
Though the prostate is a gland, it is also a muscle. When a man ejaculates, the prostate helps propel sperm far enough that it will be able to reach the egg in the uterus. This also contributes to pleasure during sex.
The prostate triggers extra blood flow to the penis during sex to help it achieve and maintain erections.
How To Keep Your Prostate Healthy
The prostate is an important gland; it contributes to a healthy and enjoyable sex life, the ability to have children, and basic urinary functions that are often taken for granted. Understanding and appreciating the function of the prostate gland allows men to further understand how to keep their prostates functioning well.
Unfortunately, we see many of our patients once they’ve already started to experience symptoms of improper prostate function. We’ve helped hundreds of men identify the root cause of their enlarged prostate so that we can treat and eliminate the problem.
However, we know that there is no better treatment method for any health condition—including an enlarged prostate—than being a proactive steward of your health.
There are simple things you can do at home to prevent or relieve having to suffer from an enlarged prostate:
- Exercise regularly—incorporating a regular aerobic and weight-lifting routine has many health benefits and has been shown to prevent enlarged prostates. Additionally, those who already were showing signs of an enlarged prostate reported less discomfort from symptoms.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption—both can irritate the prostate and increase the need to urinate.
- Eat foods that fight inflammation—inflammation is one of the most common causes of any undesired health condition. Incorporate fresh, organic vegetables and fruits high in antioxidants.
- Eat more healthy fats—another great diet addition for treating an enlarged prostate is cold-water fish, high in healthy fatty acids.
- Reduce your stress—stress is connected with enlarged prostates and inflammation. Incorporate meditation and gentle exercise such as walking or yoga into your routine.
Using Functional Medicine To Optimize Prostate Function
Doctors Studio provides holistic treatments for enlarged prostates in Boca Raton. Functional medicine is different from what you might be used to: our patient intake process is intensive because we know that health isn’t relegated to physical conditions. Your genetics and lifestyle contribute to your overall well being as do your mental and physical health.
Taking the time to fully understand you as a whole person allows us to treat any prostate function issues you might have at their root cause. For example, instead of recommending an NSAID for pain (which we might still do), we run cutting-edge tests that reveal what’s happening physiologically. If we find out you’ve been under great stress and you’ve been reaching for those french fries or cocktails, we’ll talk about lifestyle changes and diet alternatives while looking for treatments to decrease inflammation.
Your prostate is a little gland that does a lot, which is why it’s so important to stay proactive and keep it healthy. If you want to explore health optimization opportunities through functional medicine in Boca Raton, schedule your appointment online or call us at 561-444-7751.