Columns

January 27, 2024

Is sex a Prostate Enlargement Therapy or Hype? By Francis Ewherido

Supplements to avoid, to prevent prostate cancer

“A fool at 40 is a fool forever,” is a popular, in fact, hackneyed saying. I have not subjected it to empirical study, so I will not comment on it. But I know that at 40 you should try to be real and after 50 years, if you still live a lie or lie to yourself, your case is desperate. I love being real and brutal with myself by telling myself the truth. I do not play fool or deceive myself in my personal matters. It is painful if another person deceives me, but it is unforgivable if I deceive myself.

Two weeks ago, we talked about prostate challenges: prostatitis and enlarged prostate (benign or malignant. Our interest today is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), that is, enlarged prostate that is not cancerous. There are many supposed therapies to shrink the prostate. One of the often hyped therapies is regular sex.

We know that once a man turns 40, the prostate starts enlarging. This enlargement comes with challenges after a while: “poor bladder control, including frequent bathroom visits, urinary urgency, sometimes with only a small amount of urine, difficulty starting the urine stream, or stopping and starting the stream while urinating, a weak or thin urine stream,” among others. These are all inconveniencing and sometimes painful conditions. 

I have always preferred natural therapies on prostate issues. In fact, for a while, I ate meals with plenty of tomatoes because it contains lycopene which is good for prostate health. From my PSA check before and after, compared to other times, the enlargement was much slower. Then I had some health challenges which disrupted the routine for two years. By the time I did PSA after over two years of disruption, there was a significant enlargement of the prostate. 

The purpose of today’s article is to reason with men on sex as an option to shrink prostate enlargement. Before I go on, let me share with you what I read online. “A 2016 study found that men who ejaculated at least 21 times per month reduced their risk of prostate cancer by about 20 per cent compared to those who did the deed four to seven times a month.”

“The magic of sex only goes so far when it comes to possibly protecting the prostate. Prostate enlargement, or benign prostatic hypoplasia, is a reality of aging that can’t be undone by more frequent ejaculation.”

“It’s far from definitive to say that more sex can help you dodge prostate cancer. In reality, nearly one out of eight with a prostate will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their life.” If we are to go by these quotes, the postulation of sex or frequent sex shrinking the prostate or stopping prostate cancer, it is inconclusive. 

Now let us go to the relationship between sex drive, testosterone, prostate enlargement and the age factor. “Testosterone, a hormone men need for sexual arousal, is typically high in your 20s, and so is your sex drive. Men in their 30s and early 40s continue to have a strong sex drive, though testosterone starts to slowly decrease around age 35.”

“If you’re in good physical and mental health, there’s no reason you shouldn’t continue to enjoy your sex life as you get older. Erectile dysfunction does become more common as you age. Your erections may happen less often and may be less firm. But it’s not age itself that causes the problem as much as health problems that become more common with age, like heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity, and the drugs that treat them.” 

“At birth, the prostate gland is roughly the size of a pea. The prostate keeps growing until you turn 20 when it weighs 15 grams to 20 grams,and 35 – 45 grams for men in their 60s.”

As you observed, the libido and sexual ability diminish as the prostate is enlarging. I have been wondering, how can a natural problem (prostate enlargement) arise and nature is chipping away at the solution (regular sex)? Na who I go ask? Our maker? If regular sex is a sure solution to enlarged prostate, it would have been better if enlarged prostate afflicted people in their 20s and 30s, up to 45 years when their sex drive is high and they can engage in sex up to 30 times or more a week without stress to shrink the prostate? But how many people in their 50s and above have that kind of time, strength and health to engage in such frequent and rigorous sex?

I will share a few interactions with you. Many years ago, I spoke with my friend after he turned 50 years. In the course of our discussion, he told me that his wife complained that he now does only one round, unlike before. “My friend, don’t you know I am getting older,” my friend bellowed at his wife. I went to visit another friend. I met him with another mutual friend. They were in their mid-50s then. I cannot remember what brought the discussion, but the wife of my host said their marriage is now more about companionship than sex. The other woman retorted, “If we see am once in three months, na celebration.” My friends were so embarrassed, I quickly changed the topic. I visited another friend in his early 60s. We were talking when the wife came to greet me. As she was going upstairs, my friend teased her, “Make I come.” She retorted, “Come do wetin? I never recover from the one you do yesterday.” I was not surprised at her response. My friend spends hours playing squash and he is so fit and strong, what do you expect? Last August, an 84-year-old man killed his 75-year-old wife for denying him sex. An 84-year-old can still muster an erection?

But from the few responses and the story, it is a mixed bag for men above 50 years, depending on many factors. But the point I want to make is that God created sex for procreation and pleasure in marriage. Continue to enjoy it, but be careful using it as a means to shrink your prostate. Take into consideration your heart condition, underlying ailments like hypertension, diabetes and others. Some of these ailments have even rendered some men temporarily impotent, while other men are dealing with erectile dysfunction. Do not also go taking aphrodisiacs,because you want to use sex to shrink your prostate, without consideration of your health situation and consultation with your doctor. Do not rob Peter to pay Paul. Being alive is more important.

Though I have not implemented all of them, I subscribe to the following natural routines for prostate health: Avoiding liquids a few hours before bedtime or before going out, limiting caffeine and alcohol as these may stimulate the urge to urinate, eating a low-fat diet, eating a large variety of vegetables each day, eating a few servings of fruit daily, with citrus fruits, if possible; participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week and maintaining a healthy weight (before those who know me get at me, I am overweight. E nor easy, but I go try lose some).