Tag Archives: men

3 Tips for Prostate Health

As men get older, the possibility of having an enlarged prostate can become a reality. It’s estimated that about half of men who are just 50 years old have an enlarged prostate (also called BPH, for benign prostatic hyperplasia). BPH can lead to symptoms like difficulty starting or stopping urination, increased frequency or urgency of urination, bladder infections, formations of kidney stones, to name a few.

So, how can you decrease your symptoms of BPH or even lessen the likelihood of getting them? There are a number of things, but here are 3 quick tips!

1)    soyHave some soy – soy has lots of good nutrients, and one of them is beta-sitosterol. This has the same mechanism of action as a common medication prescribed for BPH, and has been shown in studies to decrease BPH symptoms. A 3.5 oz serving a day of soybeans or tofu can significantly lower symptoms.

2)    Get moving – physical activity has been well shown to decrease BPH tmillsymptoms. Even moderate physical activity such as household chores, yard work, has been associated with decrease symptoms. And it’s dose dependent too – the more active you are, the less likely you will get symptoms!

3)    Consider going herbal – Pygeum africanum is an extract from an African prune tree that has been shown to decrease symptoms of BPH in a number of studies. crush herbThere are other herbal extracts that have shown beneficial effects as well, and this is one of the best studied. Pygeum has a good safety profile, but as with any prescriptions, you want to check with a professional to make sure the form and dose are right for you and that there won’t be any interactions with any medications you are on.

There are lots of diet, lifestyle, herbal and nutraceuticals options to help keep the prostate happy. And isn’t that the saying – happy prostate, happy household?

blue ribbon

Happy Movember everyone!

Dr. Alan Vu, ND

References:
1) Ambrosini et al. 2008. Dietary patterns and surgically treated benign prostatic hyperplasia: a case control study in Western Australia. BJU Int. 2008 Apr;101(7):853-60.
2) Fowke et al. 2013. Association between physical activity, lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and prostate volume. BJU Int. 2013 Jan;111(1):122-8.
3) Wilt at al. 2002. Pygeum africanum for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1)

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What is a pelvic floor physiotherapist?

Pelvic health physiotherapists have additional post graduate training in assessment and treatment of pelvic dysfunctions such as urinary and fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic girdle pain syndromes such as vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, dyspareunia (pain during sex), SI joint dysfunction, and piriformis syndrome.  When I told my husband I was taking the internal pelvic health course his reaction was” you want to do what? Really?” So what is it that I do? I teach my patients how to properly use their pelvic floor to regain core strength and get back to their beloved activities (back to pain free living).

So how do I do that?

The same way I retrain an injured hamstring – manually testing the muscles’ strength, releasing any trigger points, facilitating a stronger more efficient contraction, re-patterning the correct strategies and giving you a home program to get yourself better. What does that all mean you ask? Well, it means I get my hands on it and in it!

ImageAnd how exactly do I do that?

The pelvic floor muscles are often described as a hammock in your pelvis from front to back, although I prefer Katy Bowman’s terminology of a trampoline. I asses vaginally and rectally which allows me to feel the muscles contract and relax against my finger, I can also feel for scar tissue from trauma (pregnancy, birth, surgery, fractured pelvis, tailbone or coccyx), and I can feel the movement of the coccyx.  I can tell which muscles are working well and which ones need help. I can see if there is any pelvic organ prolapse and the effects of movement and loading on the muscles and tissues. Treatment involves identifying the cause of the dysfunction and finding the solution that will work best for you.

Who should see a pelvic floor physiotherapist?

Do you suffer from things like diastasis recti (aka mummy tummy)? doming or tenting of your belly when you exercise? scars from an episiotomy, c-section or perineal tear? pressure or pain in your vagina or rectum? pelvic organ prolapse? pain during sex? pelvic girdle pain? leaking when you cough or sneeze or laugh or jump or run? feel like you can’t make it to the bathroom in time?  If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these then YOU should see a pelvic floor physiotherapist.  We also like to work on the prevention side of things pre-conception, during pregnancy and post natally.

And it’s not only about the women. Men have a pelvic floor too! Men who have urinary incontinence, pelvic girdle pain, or difficulty maintaining an erection can also benefit from seeing a pelvic health physiotherapist.

girl running

How do you find a pelvic floor physiotherapist?

We are located in downtown Toronto. There are a handful of us in the GTA. We are all listed on the Women’s Health Division website (Find a physiotherapist – Women’s Health Division http://www.physiotherapy.ca/PublicUploads/229746WHD_%20Povince.pdf) and all physiotherapists that do internal work must be rostered with the college of Physiotherapists of Ontario http://publicregister.collegept.org/PublicServices/Start.aspx

Have you had your pelvic floor assessed? Tell us about your experience.