Dennis Webster

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BPH, helping yourself

By Dennis Webster

There are risk factors when it comes to BPH. A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease.
 Age is one risk factor in BPH. As you get older, your risk increases. Not much one can do about this risk factor. 
Family history is another risk factor (if your father or brother had it your chances of getting it go up). Again, you have no control of this factor.  
Other risk factors include obesity, lack of physical activity, heart disease, alcohol consumption and a diet high in saturated fat. You may have more control over these factors. 
Take your waist circumference, (measured at the level of your belly button, not where your pants sits). Excess fat around the waist and upper body (also described as an ‘apple’ body shape) is associated with greater health risk than fat located more in the hip and thigh area (described as a ‘pear’ body shape). 
To measure your waist circumference, start at the top of your hip bone then bring the tape measure all the way around, level with your belly button. Make sure it’s not too tight, that it’s straight, and don’t hold your breath while measuring. 

Generally speaking, if your waist measures more than 94 cm (37 inches) you are at a higher risk for health problems. If it measures more than 102 cm (40 inches) your risk is even higher. 

If you do not exercise regularly, speak to your doctor about the safety of getting started on a regular exercise programme. There is evidence associating heart disease with increased risk of BPH.

Alcohol, another risk factor, is a diuretic (makes you urinate a lot). It can also cause the muscles in the prostate and the neck of the bladder to tighten up making urination more difficult and worsening your BPH.

If your doctor decides your urinary symptoms are mild, he may recommend:

• Urinating when you first get the urge. 

• Going to the toilet when you have the chance, even if you don’t feel a need to urinate. 

• Urinating at least once every three hours. Some doctors suggest “double voiding” (urinating again within a few minutes of finishing)

• Limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, especially after supper and trying not to drink within two hours before going to bed.

• Spreading out how much liquid you drink throughout the day and avoiding drinking large amounts at one time.

• Avoiding cold and sinus medications. Decongestants and antihistamines can worsen BPH symptoms.

• Exercising regularly.  

• Doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles that help with urination. It is encouraged in men considering prostate surgery and being encouraged by doctors to help improve urinary and faecal incontinence as well as sexual health. Learn how to practice these exercises by sending a blank e-mail to kegel@brachy4u.ca.

• Finding ways to reduce your stress. 

Diet is another factor in BPH. Studies show men who eat four or more servings of vegetables per day reduced their risk by over 30 per cent and vegetables they suggest include watercress, cabbage, onions, broccoli and cauliflower. Eating foods rich in zinc (shellfish, pumpkin seeds, fish and eggs) has also been shown to reduce risk. 

Doctors recommend you stay away from “saturated” fats, found in foods from animals such as “fatty” cuts of red meat, poultry with the skin on and higher fat milk, cheese, yogurt. They are also found in coconut and palm kernel oils. Suggestion is you choose leaner cuts of meat, add fish to your diet and go for unsaturated fats found in canola oil, corn oil, flax seed oil, olive oil, peanut oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil. Limit your butter, hard margarine, lard and shortening, high fat milk, cheese and yogurt. Your doctor may suggest you speak with a dietician or nutritionist for guidance. 

Next week-Helping your doctor help you.

Dennis Webster is an Oncology trained Nurse and Cancer Consultant with over 20 years experience. He has a keen interest in Men’s Health with a focus on prostate disease, prostate cancer and prostate cancer risk assessment.

E-mail: gprl3012@gmail.com

Skype: Brachy4u

Blog address helpatrini.wordpress.com

This Information is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace consultation with healthcare professionals. Consult a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your individual medical situation.

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