Nearly one-third of all men over 50 years suffer from prostate troubles of one form or another. The percentage rises with age and reaches 75 after the age of 80 years. Prostate and bladder disorders can lead to numerous other ailments such as arthritis, kidney disorders and uremia.
The prostate gland is a male gland, comparable in shape and size to a large chestnut. It is reddish brown in appearance. It measures approximately 3.8 cm. in width and about 2.5 cm. in length and weighs approximately 25 grams. It is situated at the base of the urinary bladder and around the commencement of the urethra, the membranous tube for the passage of the urine. It is thus vital in relation to the emptying of the bladder and bears a close relationship to the rectum. The gland plays an important role in normal sexual life and its function is to secrete a fluid which is added to semen during sexual intercourse.
There are various types of prostate disorders. Of these the most important are prostatitis or inflammation in the prostate gland and hypertrophy or enlargement of the prostate gland. Prostatitis may be acute or chronic. It is a painful and distressing disorder, but can be cured with proper treatment without any adverse effects.
Enlargement of the prostate gland or hypertrophy is the most common complaint affecting the gland. This occurs mostly in men of middle or advanced age. The enlargement develops so gradually over a long period that it often assumes serious proportions before it is detected.
There are two warning signals to indicate the possibility of prostate disorders. The first is the interface with the passage of urine and the second is the need to void the urine frequently during the night’s sleep. Other symptoms are a dull aching pain in the lower back and pain in the hips, legs and feet. Prostate enlargement affects the glandular system as a whole. The patient experiences all the symptoms of disturbed health such as lack of energy and physical, mental and nervous disturbances.
The position of the prostate gland makes it liable to congestion and other disorders. In an erect position, pressure falls on the pelvic region just where the prostate gland is situated. With ageing, the body gets heavier and loses its flexibility which makes the pressure on the pelvis even greater and increases the vulnerability of the prostate gland. Prolonged periods of sitting down, as in certain occupations, also increases the pressure on the pelvic region resulting in congestion of the tissues in and around the prostate gland. With the passage of time, changes such as inflammation or enlargement occur in the gland. Acute prostatis may also result from exposure to cold and chill and from an infectious disease. Chronic prostatis is an after-effect of the acute condition. It may also result from continual irritation of the gland due to excessive sexual excitement.
Another important cause of prostate disorders is constipation. In constipation, the faeces become hardened and the rectum or lower bowel overloaded. This causes undue pressure on the prostate gland. It also entails a great deal of straining at stools and this adversely affects the prostate gland due to its proximity to the rectum.
To begin with, the patient should forgo all solid foods and subsist on water only for two or three days. The intake of water should be as plentiful as possible. Nothing should be added to the water except a little lemon juice, if desired. The water may be taken cold or hot and it should be taken every hour or so when awake. This will greatly increase the flow of urine.
An enema may be taken once a day during fasting to clear the lower bowel of accumulations.
After a thorough cleansing of the bowels, hot and cold applications may be used directly on the prostate gland and its surrounding parts. The heat relieves the tissues and a brief cold immersion tones them up. The patient should take alternate hot and cold hip baths. These are of great value in relieving pain and reducing congestion. The hot bath should be taken first for 10 minutes, followed by a cold bath for one minute daily.
After the short fast, the patient should adopt an all-fruit diet for three days. The fruits should include apples, pears, oranges, grape-fruit, grapes, sweet limes, mangoes, melons and all other juicy fruits. This will help to clear toxins from the body and will also enable excess fat to be reduced to some extent.
The exclusive fruit diet should be followed by a diet, consisting of two meals of fruits and one of cooked vegetables for further seven days. The vegetable meal should be taken in the evening and should consist of all kinds of cooked vegetables, preferably steam cooked. Thereafter, the patient may adopt a well-balanced diet of three basic food groups, namely (i) seeds, nuts and grains, (ii) vegetables and (iii) fruits.
The short lemon juice fast followed by an all-fruit diet and a further period on fruits and vegetables may be repeated after two or three months if necessary depending on the progress being made.
Pumpkin seeds have been found to be an effective home remedy for prostate problems and many patients have been helped by their use. These seeds are rich in unsaturated fatty acids which are essential to the health of the prostate.
Heavy starches, sweet stimulants and highly seasoned foods are entirely forbidden, as they cause direct irritation on the prostate gland and bladder. The diet should also exclude spices, condiments, salt in excess, sauces, red meats, cheese, asparagus, watercress, greasy or fried foods, alcohol, tobacco and too much tea or coffee. The patient should avoid hurried meals and must chew his food thoroughly and slowly. Water should be taken between meals and not at mealtime.
The patient should avoid sexual irregularities in eating and drinking, long periods of sitting and vigorous exercise. He should guard against constipation by taking plenty of fruits, bran and nuts. All efforts should be made to tone up the general condition of the body. With a general improvement in health, the condition will be greatly relieved. Surgery should be resorted to only if the condition does not improve even after the dietary treatment and other measures outlined here.