The prostate is a small gland situated between a man's bladder and urethra. During sex, the gland's primary function is to secrete the fluid that makes up a major portion of the semen which contains sperm necessary for reproduction. Prior to ejaculation, the prostate's muscles push this fluid into the urethra. In addition, prostatic fluid contains an important enzyme known as Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). Following ejaculation, semen has a tendency to thicken, which could threaten sperm efficacy and quality. However, PSA has semen-thinning properties that enable sperm to swim more freely upon entering a female's reproductive tract.
What Causes an Enlarged Prostate?
Growth of the prostate is a relatively common condition that can have a variety of causes. This condition, referred to as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) often occurs naturally as part of the aging process. Typically, once men turn 40, their prostates gradually enlarge.
Scientists are not entirely certain what causes the growth of prostatic tissue as men age or why the condition impacts some men more severely than others. Aside from age, however, some medical professionals believe that BPH may also emerge as the result of an imbalance of sexual and reproductive hormones, a family history of the malady, affliction with certain illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, the use of specific medications, obesity and lifestyle factors.
What Are The Symptomatic Effects Of Enlarged Prostate?
An enlarged prostate pushes against both the bladder and urethra. This complication often might precipitate several urinary tract symptoms such as frequent urination, an uneasy feeling of always having to urinate, an inconsistent, unsteady stream of urine flow, urination difficulties, a painful or burning sensation while urinating, blood in the urine and frequent nighttime urination. In addition, men stricken with BPH may be at greater risk of developing urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence and bladder or kidney damage. Arguably the most uncomfortable and potentially life-altering problems associated with BPH are the sexual side effects. Such manifestations include:
Also called a dry orgasm, this condition occurs when a man ejaculates little or no semen after reaching climax. Such a circumstance arises because his semen is ejaculated into his bladder instead of through his penis.
Men experiencing this medical condition have difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection, making it a challenge, if not an impossibility to engage in any type of sexual activity.
How Can An Enlarged Prostate Be Treated?
Medical treatment for BPH focuses on addressing both its urinary and sexual manifestations. Alleviating or eliminating the urinary symptoms in men with mild to moderate BPH might be accomplished through the use of various medications. However, in those with more severe presentations producing potentially dangerous symptoms like urinary retention, a surgical procedure known as Transurethral Resection Of The Prostate (TURP) may be recommended.
The use of medications to reduce the sexual manifestations associated with BPH have met with mixed results. Drugs commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction (which work by stimulating blood flow to the penis) have been prescribed to men diagnosed with BPH. Studies involving some of these well-known preparations have been conducted and concluded that some men with BPH experienced an improvement in sexual performance. However, it is important to note that these investigations only examined the effects of these medications over short periods. Therefore, the effectiveness of these drugs over the long haul are not known.
Medications specifically prescribed to address BPH have been found to produce sexually counterproductive symptoms like erectile dysfunction, decreased ejaculation and problems with sperm count, strength and motility (the strength at which the organisms swim). TURP has produced retrograde ejaculation in anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of the men who have undergone the procedure.
With conventional medical techniques producing only a certain level of success in addressing the sexual manifestations associated with BPH, some men are turning to natural products as a potential means of relief. Herbs for prostate health have been garnering much attention in recent times -- particularly one known as saw palmetto. Short-term studies completed have shown this herb is as effective in treating diminished libido as some commonly used drugs. Saw palmetto is available alone as a supplement and in formulas like Macabido Men's Formula, which combines saw palmetto with other natural ingredients believed to boost a man's sex drive and improve libido-related sexual performance issues.