Men’s Health Issues

Discussion and Questions to Explore for the Prostate Cancer Patient

 

Very often, because of social stigma and lack of information, many men embark unto an uncharted journey through prostate cancer therapies without the tools and information they need to truly make the educated and best choices for their individual health care needs.  Here are some facts and basics you and/or the man in your life need to know to obtain the best health care.

There are three key health care professionals who may be involved in the care of a patient with prostate cancer:

Urologists are commonly the specialists that diagnose prostate cancer.  The diagnosis is made after a prostate biopsy.  The urologist commonly performs surgery to remove the cancerous prostate, based on the stage of the cancer and other pertinent factors.  Hormone therapy for patients that have recurring cancer following local treatment or are diagnosed with advanced disease may be prescribed.

Questions to ask the Urologist:  How do you feel the current treatment is working?  What is your prognosis?  What is the likelihood of recurrence?  What tests will be necessary to search for metastases?  What is the frequency of testing to ensure there are no other recurrences?  What are all the treatment options and their benefits?  What other professionals should be consulted and brought into a ‘treatment team’?

Radiation Oncologists administer radiation treatments to treat both localized as well as recurrent disease.

Questions to ask the Radiation Oncologist:  What is radiation therapy and how long is treatment?  How successful is treatment for my type of cancer and what is the success rate of this treatment specific to my case?  What are the risks and benefits of treatment?

Medical Oncologists treat cancer with combination or ‘cocktail’ drug therapies known as chemotherapy.  This approach is used to treat patients who become resistant to alternative treatments (re:  hormonal therapy).  Unfortunately, many men with prostate cancer often do not seek the advice of a medical oncologist until their cancer has progressed.  This can lead to smaller odds of beating the cancer.

Questions to ask the Medical Oncologist:  What is chemotherapy and is this the correct method of treatment for my type and stage of prostate cancer?  What is the typical success rate for my type of cancer and what are the risks and benefits of this method of treatment?

Men and their loved ones involved in their healing process should feel comfortable speaking with their healthcare professionals and seek out new specialists to ensure that they are well-informed of all the treatment options.  Each specialist plays a crucial role in treating prostate cancer; forming a team and pooling their various expertise is crucial to ensuring effective and expedient treatment.  Emotional, psychological and physical support for your loved one is just as important as researching and doing all you can to obtain the best possible treatment for him.

The team you put together must fulfill the following requirements: 

  • Provide you with information on the latest treatment options available.
  • Support and accept that you will consult other resources and healthcare options.
  • Open the conversation to consider participation in clinical trials to explore all possible treatment options.
  • Ensure you have all the information you and your loved ones require to battle the disease.

For the family and friends of the patient, remember that this can be a most frightening period of life for a man and the psychological, physical and emotional impact can be long-lasting.  Be patient, kind, loving and supportive in every way you can.  Have compassion.  All of us have the opportunity to make a difference in another person’s life.  In turn, we become better humans.

State of the Prostate

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) refers to the enlargement of the prostate gland as a man ages.  In BPH, as the prostate enlarges,the surrounding tissue inhibits it from expanding.  This causes the prostate gland to press against the urethra.  Symptoms commonly seen with BPH are:

  • hesitant, interrupted, and/or weak flow of urine
  • urinary urgency and/or dribbling
  • nocturnal frequent urination.

Ignoring these symptoms can lead to more serious medical conditions such as prostate cancer, urine retention, urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones and incontinence.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Treat These Male Health Issues:  premature ejaculation, low sperm count, diminished sperm motility, impotence, hernias, testicular pain, prostatitis, benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), male infertility, male climacteric disorder (andropause).

References:  The World Health Organization “A Brief History of Qi”, by Zhang Yu Huan and Ken Rose-Paradigm Publications, Brookline, Mass, 2001, “Practical Therapeutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine” – by Yan Wu and Warren Fischer, Paradigm Publications, Brookline, Mass, 1997, “A Handbook of TCM Urology and Male Sexual Dyfunction”, – by Anna Lin, Blue Poppy Press, Inc., Boulder, CO, 1999

Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help With Male Fertility

Men are very lucky because Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been dominated by men for thousands of years.  The ancient Chinese were obsessed with men’s health and longevity.  Today, in our modern society, sexual health is just one of many health concerns for men.  The aging process increases the probabilities to other male disorders.  Men can suffer from health conditions affecting urination, the prostate and testicles as well as impotence.

TCM is quite effective in the treatment of male disorders.  Very often, your practitioner will mentions the Kidneys when referring to men’s health issues.  One of the Kidneys’ major roles is to store the Essence or Jing.  Jing is considered to be one of three treasures.  Qi (the Life Force) and Shen (the Spirit) are the remaining two treasures in the gooide box.  The Jing (Essence) is composed of all that which creates new life.  Jing plays a leading role concerning the production and quality of a man’s sperm.  As all good thing have to come to an end, so does Jing.  Depletion of Jing comes as men turn the age of 40; at this time, the Kidney Qi begins to wax and wane as well.  This is known as the not-so-physiological andropause.  Although there aren’t night sweats and bouts of hysteria, this andropausal stage of life brings an increased level of estrogen in the body, which causes various imbalances.

TCM recognizes the Kidneys as the governor of opening and closing.  This refers to urinary incontinence and premature ejaculation.  So, to put it simply:  strong Kidneys equals good health.  Weak Kidneys equals premature ejaculation, low libido, frequent urination, dribbling, or incontinence.

Male infertility is still considered a bit taboo to discuss openly, but can frequently be the culprit when couples are having difficulty with conception.  Quite frequently, men have less than high quality or quantity of sperm.  According to the World Health Organization guidelines, normal sperm count consists of 20 million sperm per  ejaculate, with 50% motility and 60% normal morphology (form).  Fertility may also be inhibited if the concentration of semen is less than 20 million sperm per milliliter of ejaculate.  But if the sperm still have the ability to swim, sperm concentrations as low as 5 to 10 million can result in a pregnancy.

Causes of Male Infertility

  • Estrogenization of Environment:  women take birth control pills (estrogen), and urinate it out into the ecosystem.  The ecosystem affects all living beings.  Xeno-Estrogens are chemicals that transform into estrogenic particles when they hit water.  They exist in almost everything…chemicals, plastics, paints, etc.
  • SOYA Consumption:  soy is rich in estrogens.  Soy can create problems for males.  Hypospadia (the urethra is malformed – not at the tip of the penis but somewhere along the glans) is 5x more common in babies born to vegetarian women.  SOYA is directly related to low sperm production.  Did you know that Israelis do not give soya more than 1x per week to babies?
  • Pregnant women continue to take birth control pills because they don’t know they’re pregnant.  Therefore, there is an overabundance of estrogen going through the mother’s bloodstream into the fetal blood.
  • Chemicals in plastic bottles cause infertility, shortened perineums, and smaller penises.
  • Aging:  male fertility at 40 isn’t what it was at 20 years of age.  The quality of sperm isn’t as good either; lousy sperm = more problems with pregnancies and schizophrenia.
  • Iodine:  added to salt, iodine reduces the size of the testicles.
  • Testicle Size: men with  larger testicles than average have less problems with infertility than men with smaller testicles.  Sorry fellas, but size DOES matter….
  • Disposable Diapers should be avoided; they’re plastic so it raises the scrotal temperature of a male child.
  • Scrotal Temperature:  it takes 72 – 74 days to produce sperm (spermatogenesis).  This requires lower body temperature; anything that raises the temperature can cook the sperm.  Laptop computers and sitting with legs together creates ‘cooked’ sperm
  • Variocele:  varicose veins in the testicles.  25-40% of primary intertility is caused by varioceles.  In this case, men cannot father the first child.  80% of these fellows cannot father the 2nd child.  Test yourself for varioceles:  hold your nose and do valsalva movement (push down as if your are having a difficult bowel movement), then varicose veins in the penis will become visible, if there are any present.
  • Ductal Obstruction can lead to infertility.  Abdominal and/or pelvic surgery can also cause an autoimmune, anti sperm reaction in the body.  This impairs sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg.  70% of vasectomy repairs result in this autoimmune response.  Trivia:  88% of extreme cyclists have cysts, calcification, scars and limited sperm motility.  Any source that causes excessive heat will affect sperm production.

Helpful Hints Regarding Semen Tests:  tests should be performed twice so there are no false readings.  NOTE:  one week post ejaculation, the sperm becomes old.  3 to 7 days after a previous ejaculation is the optimum time to ejaculate into a container.  Home testing kits are available; but you will not get a full reading from these home kits – however you will get a reading of motility of the sperm.

Tips For The Impotent Male: don’t use plastics.  Don’t use commercial cleaning products.  Eat organic food and do not eat soy or soy products.  Stop smoking tobacco products and/or marijuana.  Stop heavy alcoholic consumption (drinking 1 week before conception dramatically increases probabilities of miscarriages).  15 or more drinks per week for a man is excessive.  Avoid excessive exercise because this raises body temperature and lowers testosterone.  Avoid saunas, tight underwear, laptops, zinc and vitamin C & B12 supplements.  Achieve an ideal weight.  This applies for overweight and underweight men.  Visit your acupuncturist.  The combination of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Formulas can assist you on the road to fertility!