Since many of my male patients are over the age of 40, there comes a time when I, as their doctor, have to have “the talk” with them. Most of my male patients had a similar talk with their fathers, or a significant elder, when they were adolescents about the “birds and bees” and how sexual activity pertains to maturing and developing healthy, intimate relationships.
It may surprise you to know that I also talk to my male patients about the importance of sexual activity but from a much different perspective – one that can save their life by keeping their prostate healthy. You read that right – regular sexual activity can keep your prostate, and the rest of you, healthy well into your old age. Let me explain how.
Seminal Fluid and Your Prostate
As a doctor, I recommend regular prostate screening to my male patients over 40. This includes getting a physical prostate exam and blood work to determine their PSA, prostate specific antigen, levels to be sure they are not developing prostate disease.
At this examination time, I also like to talk to my male patients about recent studies cited in the British Journal of Urology that have shown that regular clearing of seminal fluid from the prostate through ejaculation can help prevent prostate cancer.
Many urologists believe that they see a direct cause and effect between how often a man ejaculates and his development of prostate cancer. Indeed, when my own father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the first question his urologist asked him was how often do you have sex? Since my mother had died years before, and my father had not re-established another relationship, his level of regular sexual activity had dropped to 0.
As I explain to my patients, the prostate gland is responsible for producing seminal fluid, the fluid that carries their sperm. The prostate draws zinc, potassium and citric acid from the general blood supply and then concentrates it about 600 times. Researchers speculate that likely any carcinogens that are in the blood are also drawn into the prostate along with the other elements it uses to create seminal fluid. Without regular ejaculation, the amount, and length of time seminal fluid stays, in the prostate can become a risk to your health. According to the urologists theory, your chances of prostate cancer increase.
However, if you’re a man who does not ejaculate regularly, these fluids build up in your prostate and the prostate is then constantly immersed in stagnant, cancer-promoting fluids.
What’s A Guy To Do?
When I have this discussion about prostate health and sexual activity with my patients, many of them confide that they do not have a regular sexual relationship with a significant other. Some of them are divorced, some are widowers, and some are just single and casually dating occasionally without sexual intercourse involved.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that anyone start engaging in risky, promiscuous sexual activity just to keep their prostate healthy! Rather, as I tell my patients, if you don’t have a regular sexual relationship with a significant other, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with engaging in masturbation once or twice a week until you develop a loving, intimate relationship with someone. In fact, it’s actually good for other aspects of your health as well. It can decrease stress, help you sleep, and lower your blood pressure.
How Much Sexual Activity Is Good?
As I also counsel my patients, don’t get into the thinking that if a little sexual activity is good for your prostate, more and more sexual activity will be even better for it. Not true. In fact, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine that focuses on all processes in the physical body being in balance, your sexual activity and release of seminal fluid need to be balanced as well.
Too frequent ejaculation can lead to what urologists call “nonspecific prostatitis”, or inflammation of the prostate, as inflammation has been proven recently as setting the stage for disease to set in. So how much ejaculation is beneficial? Here’s a general guideline for men over 30:
- 30-40: 3-4 times a week.
- 40-50: 1-2 times a week.
- 50-60: At least once a week.
- 60’s and over: At least once every few weeks.
Trouble Ejaculating? Try Exercise and Nutrition
Exercise is always beneficial to a man’s sexual health as it helps him keep his weight normal. Obesity is one of the frequent causes of ejaculation problems due to lowering of testosterone. Regular, aerobic activity 3-4 times a week coupled with some weight training 2-3 times a week can do a lot to keep your weight normal and your hormone levels stable. In addition, it helps to keep blood and lymph circulating in the lower part of a man’s body.
Your prostate diet may also be to blame for poor testosterone production and the ability to ejaculate properly. Make sure your diet includes enough zinc, protein and vitamin C, the very building blocks of testosterone and seminal fluid. In addition, watch for xenoestrogens (environmental estrogen) in your diet from microwaveable foods packaged in plastics and/or through drinking water and/or sodas in plastic bottles that may have become heated and released bisphenol A.
As I tell my patients, protecting your prostate health through regular ejaculation, whether it’s through sexual activity in a shared relationship, or your own personal privacy, is a completely natural and health promoting thing to do. It’s all about keeping your body in natural balance!
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Sex and Prostate Health, http://www.prostate-massage-and-health.com/Sex.html
Is Sex Necessary? http://www.forbes.com/2003/10/08/cz_af_1008health.html
Photo Credit: prostate.net