Some Prostates Are Larger Than Others

Some Prostates Are Larger Than Others
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Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH—an enlarged prostate gland—affects 80% of older men, but like many other Western chronic diseases, it appears to be a consequence of our diet.

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If a healthy diet can slow down the abnormal growth of prostate cancer cells, what about the abnormal growth of normal prostate cells? Benign prostatic hyperplasia—BPH—enlargement of the prostate gland, which surrounds the urethra as it exits the bladder. If the gland gets too enlarged, it can cut down on the normal flow of urine. So you can be left with hesitant flow, a weak stream, inadequate emptying of the bladder, so you have to keep getting up at night to drain off as much as you can at a time. It can leave you dribbling, irritated; it can lead to urine retention; so, you got a stagnant pool in there that can get infected. Ejaculation problems. In the United States, it affects about 50% of men in their 50s; 80% of men in their 80s—it’s an epidemic! 16 million American men.

And then, it tends to just get worse, growing larger by the day. A billion dollars a year are spent on drugs to treat it; another billion on supplements. Surgery is up next; lots of different Roto-Rooter-type techniques with innocent sounding acronyms, like TUMT, TUNA, and TURP, disguising the rather unpleasant reality. The Ts stand for transurethral, meaning up the penis, with an instrument that looks like this—a resectoscope. Then, you’re left with words like microwave thermotherapy and needle ablation. They just tunnel up there, and start burning. Sometimes, they use lasers to burn out a shaft. And these are the “minimally invasive” options. The gold standard remains transurethral resection of the prostate, where they just go up there and core it out with a loop of wire. Side effects include “postoperative discomfort.” Ya think?

There’s got to be a better way. It’s so common in the Western world that most doctors just assume it’s just an inevitable consequence of aging. But let’s look around the world. In China, a medical college in Beijing reported that there was not 80% of the population affected, but about 80 cases, period. 84 cases over a 15-year timespan. It used to be considered a rare occurrence in China, but the incidence of both BPH and prostate cancer started “rising quickly,” and now, the incidence of prostate enlargement in China is similar to that in developed countries.

Why? Well, the researchers suggest it’s for the same reason for their skyrocketing cancer rates—a shift from their more traditional plant-based diet to one with more animal fat and animal protein. So, BPH may be like heart disease—a natural occurrence not of aging, but of eating an unhealthy diet. It may only be standard to get an enlarged prostate and die of a heart attack for those eating the Standard American Diet.

People eating healthy diets may be familiar with TVP, textured vegetable protein (used for making a mean veggie chili)—blissfully ignorant that for others, the acronym may stand for transurethral electrovaporization of the prostate.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

If a healthy diet can slow down the abnormal growth of prostate cancer cells, what about the abnormal growth of normal prostate cells? Benign prostatic hyperplasia—BPH—enlargement of the prostate gland, which surrounds the urethra as it exits the bladder. If the gland gets too enlarged, it can cut down on the normal flow of urine. So you can be left with hesitant flow, a weak stream, inadequate emptying of the bladder, so you have to keep getting up at night to drain off as much as you can at a time. It can leave you dribbling, irritated; it can lead to urine retention; so, you got a stagnant pool in there that can get infected. Ejaculation problems. In the United States, it affects about 50% of men in their 50s; 80% of men in their 80s—it’s an epidemic! 16 million American men.

And then, it tends to just get worse, growing larger by the day. A billion dollars a year are spent on drugs to treat it; another billion on supplements. Surgery is up next; lots of different Roto-Rooter-type techniques with innocent sounding acronyms, like TUMT, TUNA, and TURP, disguising the rather unpleasant reality. The Ts stand for transurethral, meaning up the penis, with an instrument that looks like this—a resectoscope. Then, you’re left with words like microwave thermotherapy and needle ablation. They just tunnel up there, and start burning. Sometimes, they use lasers to burn out a shaft. And these are the “minimally invasive” options. The gold standard remains transurethral resection of the prostate, where they just go up there and core it out with a loop of wire. Side effects include “postoperative discomfort.” Ya think?

There’s got to be a better way. It’s so common in the Western world that most doctors just assume it’s just an inevitable consequence of aging. But let’s look around the world. In China, a medical college in Beijing reported that there was not 80% of the population affected, but about 80 cases, period. 84 cases over a 15-year timespan. It used to be considered a rare occurrence in China, but the incidence of both BPH and prostate cancer started “rising quickly,” and now, the incidence of prostate enlargement in China is similar to that in developed countries.

Why? Well, the researchers suggest it’s for the same reason for their skyrocketing cancer rates—a shift from their more traditional plant-based diet to one with more animal fat and animal protein. So, BPH may be like heart disease—a natural occurrence not of aging, but of eating an unhealthy diet. It may only be standard to get an enlarged prostate and die of a heart attack for those eating the Standard American Diet.

People eating healthy diets may be familiar with TVP, textured vegetable protein (used for making a mean veggie chili)—blissfully ignorant that for others, the acronym may stand for transurethral electrovaporization of the prostate.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Steven Fruitsmaak and Ragesoss via Wikimedia Commons; National Cancer InstituteZach Armstrong via flickr; LUT, Lamidey Noury MedicalWindsor Urology; and Angela.

Doctor's Note

The reference to diet affecting the growth of prostate cancer is covered in Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay, with a follow-up in Is It the Diet, the Exercise, or Both? Also see Just the Flax, Ma’am, in which flax seeds were found to work as well as the leading drug, without any of the adverse side effects. In Prostate vs. Plants, I explore other foods that have been found to help. Prostate vs. a Plant-Based Diet covers the replication of the prostate cancer experiments with normal prostate cells, to see if eating healthier can also slow their growth. I also have many more videos on women’s health, compared to men’s health, but this prostate series helps close the gap!

For further context, be sure to check out my associated blog posts: Treating an Enlarged Prostate With DietVegan Men: More Testosterone But Less Cancer; and Flax Seeds for Prostate Cancer.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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