Dr. May's recommendations for lifestyle changes to support prostate health and urinary function:
1. First, adopt a healthful diet, low in calories, low in fat and high in antioxidant protection. Reducing fat intake is a key step. High-fat diets have been associated with a higher incidence of obesity and of prostate cancer. Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, with particular emphasis on cooked tomato products, which have a high lycopene content.
2. Reduce consumption of milk, cheese and ice cream and avoid high intake of calcium supplements, because some studies show the potential of an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer with a very high dietary calcium intake level.
3. Consume green tea. It's a powerful antioxidant that appears potentially to confer some protection against prostate cancer.
4. Reduce consumption of beverages containing high amounts of alcohol or caffeine, which can irritate the prostate.
5. If possible, avoid drugs such as antihistamines and anti-depressants that may interfere with the nerve impulses for urination. Also, avoid drugs that may stimulate the prostate such as decongestants, bronchodilators and appetite suppressants.
6. Avoid extreme cold, which may reduce the urge to urinate.
7. Try to reduce your overall stress level.
8. Do not suppress or ignore the urge to urinate.
9. Retrain and develop your urinary habits—go to the bathroom on a regular basis, not just in a response to the urge to void.
10. Allow time to empty the bladder completely. Sometimes sitting helps.
11. Restrict fluid intake after dinner to reduce nighttime bathroom runs.
12. Strengthen your pelvic floor with Kegel exercises, in which you start and stop your urination voluntarily, increasing muscle tone to prevent leakage.
IMPORTANT: See your doctor for regular prostate health check-ups beginning at age 40 if you are at high risk or at age 50 for all men. And consult your physician at the first sign of annoying or disabling changes in your prostate health.
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