What’s the connection between your bowel and BPH?
You are sitting on the toilet... the clock is ticking the seconds away... you are waiting... still waiting... and for once it is not your bladder that is refusing to divulge its contents, but your bowel.
Constipation and prostate problems may seem like two unrelated conditions but, in fact, they are more connected than they may initially seem.
To understand this connection better, this blog will look at the following points:
- What is constipation?
- What's the link between the prostate and constipation?
- How do you ease constipation?
What is constipation?
Constipation can be an uncomfortable condition that occurs when your bowel becomes blocked with stool. It can cause the stool to become dry, hard and difficult to pass.
Typically, constipation is identified if you are not moving your bowels regularly enough (once or twice a day is ideal, though three times a week is sufficient). Other signs of constipation include straining to pass stools or struggling to completely empty your bowel.
What’s the link between the prostate and constipation?
First of all, it is important to understand what is happening in your bowel when you are constipated.
Stool is a waste product containing toxins and bacteria that should not be stored in the body. However, if you are constipated, this stool is building up inside you. The food begins to decay and rot and, as the bacteria multiply, this produces more and more toxins.
Your bowel is located right next to your prostate gland. This means that when there is an over-abundance of toxins in your bowel, these begin to leak into the surrounding tissues, directly impacting on your prostate gland.
The prostate gland is usually a very effective filter and manages to protect semen from substances that could potentially damage them. However, when an excessive amount of toxins are able to enter from the bowel, the prostate is put under too much stress and it struggles to keep these toxins at bay. An accumulation of toxins in the gland is like a poison, and the gland can quickly become inflamed and painful.
Additionally, if the bowel becomes packed with stool, this can put pressure on the prostate gland and may result in the typical obstructive symptoms of BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), including weaker urine flow and dribbling at the end of urination. It can also make it difficult to fully empty the bladder.
How do you ease constipation?
Alleviating your constipation may just be the answer to improving your prostate health. It may help to reduce the pressure on your prostate and eliminate toxins from your body.
1. Improve your diet
Usually, symptoms of constipation can be reduced by improving your diet. So, first of all, cut down on processed foods as these are often full of refined sugar, salt and saturated or trans-saturated fat which are difficult for your digestive system to break down and absorb.
As an alternative, try to eat natural foods, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. You can look at our recipe hub for inspiration.
2. Stay hydrated
It is also important that you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and limiting your intake of caffeinated drinks and alcohol. This is because being dehydrated can cause your stool to harden, making it more difficult to pass.
3. Keep moving
Exercise is a good way of stimulating all your muscles, including those in the bowel. This may help to reduce constipation, as well as keeping your prostate gland healthy.
4. Reduce stress
Although easier said than done, reducing stress as much as possible can have a positive impact for your digestive system, as well as many other aspects of your health, including your prostate health.
When people are feeling stressed, they tend not to give themselves time to prepare, eat and enjoy a meal. This makes it very difficult for your body to properly absorb food, leading to constipation.
5. Chew your food well
Give your system a helping hand and chew your food properly. This will help to reduce undigested food from accumulating and rotting in the colon.
6. Try a natural remedy
If you are still experiencing constipation after these lifestyle tips, it may be that you need to give your bowel a boost using a laxative.
Natural laxatives, such as linseed and Senna, are often found to be helpful.
If constipation remains an issue, it's best to check with your doctor.
Originally published 28 September 2015 (updated 17 August 2020)