Know Your Prostate

Toughen up, buttercup. That exam you’ve been putting off really ain’t that bad.

Thousands of Kiwi blokes spent November growing gnarly (and in some cases, God-awful) crumb catchers – but did you know Movember is more than just an excuse to creep out the Mrs? The month-long ‘tache-fest is all about raising men’s health awareness. And one of the most important men’s health issues that all blokes can – easily – keep an eye on is our prostates.

Okay, you can’t literally keep an eye on your prostate, because – as you probably know – it’s tucked way up there where it doesn’t see daylight. But there are some things you can look out for, and a few things every good cunt can do to ensure better prostate health and help prevent future issues.

The prostate is a gland, around the size of a walnut, found inside the body. It sits around all day chilling below your bladder and in front of your rectum, and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube in your wang that carries pee from your bladder). Only men have a prostate.

The prostate helps make some of the fluid in semen, which carries sperm from your testicles when you ejaculate. It’s essential for fertility but not for erections.

The prostate enlarges with age. This can cause problems with urination in around 50% of men by age 60, and in almost all men by age 80… which is why your Grandad legs it to the toilet more often than anyone else you know.

The BIG reason to take care of your prostate, is that it can harbour the most common solid cancer in men.

Don’t put this in the too-hard basket and skip to the next article, though. Fortunately, prostate cancer is much more slow-growing than other cancers, and with increased awareness, most cases are caught early and cure rates are extremely high.

Your lifestyle, exercise habits and diet can all impact your prostate health, so the best plan to prevent prostate problems is with a healthy living. Boring, but worth passing on a beer now and then when you consider the alternative.

Here are 5 easy AF things you can do to look after your prostate:

Exercise is one of the best things you can do to promote prostate health, so get back into BYC this summer or take the dog for a walk. Have a bit of a motor on you? Losing even a little weight – especially around your gut – can make a huge difference to your health. PLUS, exercise can help prevent other health and sexual problems like erectile dysfunction, and if that’s not a good reason to get your arse off the couch I don’t know what is.

Or, at least, reduce the amount of shitty processed foods, sugars and saturated fats you consume. Some of the best foods for prostate health include oily fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, and foods high in healthy fats like avocados, nuts and olives.

Stress negatively affects prostate health, so the next time you find yourself at the pointy end of a stressful situation tell your boss/ girlfriend/ boyfriend you need to delegate that task for the good of your prostate. Reduce stress with meditation, deep breathing, exercise or by catching up with a mate.

I know you don’t want to hear this, but heavy drinking can increase your risk of prostate cancer. You don’t have to give up the beers altogether, but cutting back can only be beneficial. Staying hydrated is important for prostate health, so increase your water intake. If you don’t mind the taste, you can also drink green tea which contains potent antioxidants that can help prevent prostate cancer from forming.

See your GP for regular prostate checks once you hit 50, or earlier if you have a family history, are more at risk of prostate cancer or notice any of the following symptoms:

• Trouble starting when taking a leak
• A weak stream
• Trouble stopping the flow
• Flow stopping and starting
• Having an urgent need to pee frequently
• Feeling like you need to piss, but releasing small amounts or none at all
• Pain or burning when you pee
• Blood or pus in your urine

Never had a prostate exam? Despite popular opinion, this quick and easy, in-and-out (ahaha) check really ain’t that bad. Your doctor can’t look at or directly examine your prostate, so yes, it involves a finger up the butt. No, it’s not going to hurt. Here’s what you can expect.

• You’ll nip into your GP
• They’ll talk to you about any symptoms
• You’ll make an awkward joke
• The doctor will laugh and pretend he hasn’t heard it 20 times already that day
• You’ll bend at the waist while standing, or lie on your side with your knees bent toward your chest
• The doctor will put on gloves and apply lube to one (just one!) finger
• They’ll GENTLY insert the finger inside your rectum
• They’ll spend a moment or two feeling the size, shape and texture of your prostate

And then it will be all done for another year or so.

You may experience momentary discomfort (not pain) or the urge to urinate, especially if your prostate is enlarged or inflamed. But that’s about it.

A prostate exam is safe and easy, and – because your doctor does literally hundreds of these exams each year – they’ll be able to tell you immediately if they feel anything abnormal and can usually give you a good idea of the problem.

They may refer you for a blood test, or take blood then and there, if they do find any lumps or hard areas on the prostate.

If you haven’t had your prostate checked in a while (or ever) and you’re over 50, or you have a family history of prostate cancer, book yourself in for a check-up before Christmas.

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