Constipation and your prostate
You are sitting on the toilet… the clock is ticking the seconds away… you are waiting patiently for the magic to happen… 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 initially seem.
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), are straining to pass stools or struggle to completely empty your bowel.
So what is the link between constipation and my prostate?
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, managing to protect semen from substances which could potentially damage them. However, when an excessive amount of toxins is entering 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 result in 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.
What can I do to reduce constipation?
Alleviating your constipation may just be the answer to improving your prostate health, by reducing the pressure on your prostate, and eliminating toxins from your body. Usually symptoms of constipation can be reduced by improving your diet.
Cut down on processed foods as these are often full of refined sugar, salt and saturated or trans-saturated fat. These are difficult for your digestive system to break down and absorb. Instead, try to eat natural foods, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Make sure, too, that you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and limiting your intake of caffeinated drinks and alcohol, as being dehydrated can also cause your stool to harden, making it more difficult to pass.
Other quick tips to try to reduce constipation include:
1. Keeping 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.
2. Reducing 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 to run about and not give themselves time to enjoy a meal. This makes it very difficult for your body to properly absorb the food, leading to constipation.
3. Chewing your food well – it makes sense that the less work your body has to do, the easier it will be. 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.
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, are often found to be the most effective. Linseed can be found in A.Vogel Linoforce granules, which soften the stool and help to stimulate the action of the bowel.
Has constipation impacted your BPH symptoms?
Meet our expert
Having trained as a doctor at the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne, Jen Tan, Medical Director of A.Vogel, has been involved in herbal medicine research over a number of years, coordinating projects both within the UK and internationally.