Prostate: Use it or Lose it?
Does the old adage “use it or lose it” apply to prostate health?
As with many cultural legends, medical assumptions can pass as of fact if they are passed down over the years. Eventually, research will have a new look at old “common knowledge” through serious science.
For decades, doctors have recommended frequent ejaculations to keep the prostate healthy. The theory seems reasonable enough: The prostate’s only role in life is to produce fluid for the ejaculate. Allowing the gland to do its work should be helpful. Emptying the prostate of fluid will relieve “congestion” and could keep the gland from pressing on the urethra and blocking the flow of urine. Or, as Hippocrates wrote some 2,400 years ago, “That which is used, develops, that which is not used wastes away.”
Is this advice myth or reality? Will frequent ejaculations actually help the prostate?
The Harvard Medical School bulletin notes that when the penis is flaccid for long periods of time, it is deprived of a lot of oxygen-rich blood. Recent research suggests that this low oxygen level causes some muscle cells in the penis’s erectile tissue to lose their flexibility. The tissue gradually becomes more like scar tissue, interfering with the penis’s ability to expand when it’s filled with blood.
To see if sexual activity protects the prostate, doctors evaluated 2,115 men between the ages of 40. Each man was visited at home and asked a series of questions about his lower urinary tract symptoms; they gave information including urinary urgency, frequency, and difficulty initiating urination, the strength of his stream, nighttime urination, and incomplete bladder emptying. The men had their urinary flow rate measured with an uroflowmeter. They were asked how often they ejaculated and about his satisfaction with his sexuality and his overall quality of life.
The results showed a remarkable link between lower urinary tract symptoms, which can reveal benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and the frequency of ejaculation: The men who ejaculated least often had the most symptoms. In addition, these infrequent ejaculators had the largest prostates and the slowest urine flows.
At first glance, these findings seem to support the belief that frequent ejaculations relieve the BPH symptoms, improve urine flow, and even keep the gland small. But when the researchers looked closer, they found the true explanation: age. Age is the major risk factor for BPH, and this study confirmed that older men have larger prostates, slower urine flows, and more symptoms. But age also saps sexual vigor, so older men ejaculate less often.
When the results were corrected for age, the apparent link between ejaculation and BPH evaporated. Within each age group, BPH symptoms did not vary with frequency of sexual activity.
The research debunks the myth that sexual activity protects against BPH. But it did not find any adverse effects of sexual activity, nor did it evaluate another medical dogma, that ejaculation helps with prostatitis, inflammation and infection of the gland.
On The Plus Side
For starters, sex raises the synthesis of immunoglobulins. These are antibodies or our immunity compounds that help us fight infections. People with a more-than-basic level of sexual activities, per week, tend to retain a higher immunoglobulin concentration, making them more immune to common infections.
Overall reduction of stress is perhaps the biggest, most widely-accepted benefit of sex. It is believed that higher anxiety and stress levels are responsible for initiating most health problems prevalent today. With regular sex, psychological health is improved, particularly problems related to mood swings, depression and sleep. The act of intercourse helps to stimulate production of hormones that are required for overcoming stress and ensuring healthier behavior.
So however you do it, do it.
Early symptoms of BPH may take many years to become bigger problems. In most cases, these symptoms may point to an enlarged prostate, but they may also be a sign that other, more serious conditions that require prompt attention. If you are experiencing these early symptoms, it is a good time to see your doctor.
Fortunately, there are exciting new treatment options that can help you reclaim your life from the symptoms of BPH. A comprehensive product that does work at supporting prostate health is Prostate Health Essentials (click here to view). It contains 30+ natural ingredients that have been shown to support prostate health. This easy-to-take daily supplement provides excellent all-around prostate health.