Stress can have a significant impact on your health, but did you know that stress could also affect prostate health? Chronic stress and anxiety can lead to increased risk of prostatitis, prostate cancer and enlarged prostate.
Reducing the amount of stress in your life while also eating better and exercising regularly can slow the progression of early prostate cancer. According to Dean Ornish, MD, of the University of California at San Francisco, he and his team found evidence that these lifestyle changes can slow the progression of this disease.
The study, which was published in the journal Urology, involved 93 men with prostate cancer. The men who followed a healthy diet and participated in regular moderate exercise and relaxation methods such as yoga for one hour a day had better scores on the PSA test (prostate specific antigen), which was used to follow prostate cancer growth.
In addition, patients who adopted the healthy lifestyle modifications were less likely to need additional treatment. The study was the first of its kind to show that the progression of prostate cancer can be stopped or perhaps even reversed by changing diet and lifestyle alone.
Another study explored the relationship between stress and prostate cancer at a chromosomal level. Researchers looked at how improvements in diet and lifestyle, including stress reduction, could increase the activity of the enzyme, telomerase. This enzyme helps protect telomeres, which are complex proteins that protect the ends of chromosomes and help prevent telomeres from shortening.
Shortness of telomeres is associated with aging and with premature death in many cancers, including prostate cancer. Researchers investigated whether 24 men with low-risk prostate cancer who participated in three months of intensive lifestyle changes would experience any changes in telomerase activity. Overall, telomerase activity increased, and the increase was significantly associated with declines in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and a decrease in psychological distress.
Stress can also have a negative impact on Prostatitis, which is a condition characterized by inflammation of the prostate. Some men with prostatitis have a form caused by bacteria, while most men have a form called chronic nonbacterial prostatitis. Stress can impact both bacterial and nonbacterial prostatitis. While stress may worsen the symptoms of bacterial prostatitis, it may actually have a role in causing nonbacterial prostatitis.
Men with enlarged prostates must also be aware of their stress levels. For men who already have BPH, stress can make symptoms such as urinary frequency, painful urination, and urinary urgency worse. It is important to recognize the relationship between zinc, stress, and BPH. Stress can lower zinc levels, and a zinc deficiency can cause the prostate to become enlarged.
Men who are under a great deal of stress are at greater risk of poor prostate health. It is important to take precautions to reduce stress levels. Try exercise, meditation, yoga and increasing your vitamin B intake.