I'm a first time poster as I found this board today on yet another search for good prostrate health information. In skimming through the first 20 pages of threads, there is a lot of stuff I was just not aware of. The books on prostrate health I've read were not as detailed or informative. I've picked up some leg/butt/hip pain over the past 3-9 months in addition to my somewhat severe BPH symptoms. I'm more concerned now because the pain has lingered for months even if my primary care physician (PCP) isn't. It may be time to take another step. The way I was going >3 yrs ago eating a chocoholic and processed foods diet, too little excercise, and with high stress at work made me a good bet to get PCa as well as other inflammatory diseases.
I've had an enlarged prostrate for at least 20 years and probably closer to 30 yrs. It was mentioned in some of my physicals long ago. When I had a hernia repair in 1993 my surgeon remarked about it as well. My Feb 2012 annual physical by my PCP showed moderate enlargement but neg for lumps, etc. No unusual changes since last year's exam. My PSA (ortho ECiQ assay) continues to stay low (currently 0.89 ng/ml). Last year's was 1.07. The year before that was 0.76. If I go back 10 yrs before these results the numbers were between .7 to .9 though I'm not aware of the testing method employed. My dad got PCa in his mid-60's so that risk is there. His surgery was successful as he lived to be 78 when he succumbed to an out of the blue diagnosis of advanced lung/stomach cancer. Prostrate symptoms seem to run in our family with my 2 older brothers having some issues too.
The symptoms I experience are probably more on the severe side. I usually have to go every 2 hrs or less, get up 2X per night, and often get strong urges to go within minutes of standing up. Having to go 5-15 min. just after you went is annoying as is always knowing where the closest rest room is when you're on the road. It was odd that these symptoms really started to be quite noticeable 3 yrs ago as I revamped my diet to improve my health and lower my blood pressure to get off all meds. In getting off junk food I found that my BPH symptoms became quite obvious. Up to that point they were sort of masked that I didn't really notice them. Maybe the diet change was just a coincidence. One would have thought improving my diet should have lessened my BPH symptoms but they didn't. But I did get off all my BP and asthma meds while losing 60 lbs. on my way to 165 lbs. Still, 45 years of eating way too much sugar and trans fats had to take its toll on my body. I also think that at my age, mercury (fillings) and iron levels are probably elevated and not helping things any. More research on that still needed on my part. Heavy metals apparently like to find the prostrate.
Adding NOW brand prostrate health formula of saw palmetto, nettle, and beta sisterol seemed to keep things stable through 2010 and most of 2011. I was happy that things weren't getting worse. And once in a while I could go the whole night no issues. There was even a period of 4 days where I didn't get up once each night. I thought I had found the "cure" but didn't know exactly what I had changed that week. On the 5th day the "cure" was gone...lol. Around October 2011 I started noticing that the urges were occurring a bit more often. Also noticed a constant pain in my butt if I sat too long. At first I thought that might be from losing too much fat/muscle in my butt. That butt pain would come and go but wasn't too annoying. In March 2012 I got spasms in the hip and butt 2 days after a hard 10 mile bike ride and a 2 mile walk. Since that really wasn't that much harder of a workout I was surprised I got those spasms. It was the same exercise routine I've done for 10 yrs. I was basically in bed for a couple of days and figured it was my 1st ever bout of sciatica from overuse (tingling in toes, soreness in hamstring and hip/butt). But now that I still have lingering minor hip pain and hamstring discomfort 3 months later I'm starting to think it may be linked to the prostrate. It doesn't affect what I do each day, but the slight soreness is always there. On the plus side, it hasn't gotten worse. It just may take a long time for it to go away. I don't have some of the usual prostatitis-like symptoms (burning during urination, abdominal or groin pain, blood or discharge in urine, etc.). Any pain or discomfort is located far from the prostrate. Also, no lower back pain or at least no back pain that I haven't had for 10 yrs. or longer.
As far as meds my doctor had me try Flowmax 3 yrs ago but I got so dizzy I couldn't stand it and went the natural route with Saw Palmetto and diet. I mentioned my current symptoms to him and he suggested Terazosin to improve them while also giving my winter month's blood pressure control a boost. That stuff raised my pulse rate from 55 to 75 and it felt like my chest was pounding! I only took it for 2 days and it didn't even help the BP. He then suggested Finasteride which I just started taking, so too soon to tell. Even with my improved diet it hasn't seemed to improve the prostrate issues. Thing's aren't changed much from July 2009 other than the hip/leg pain. I can manage ok the way things are if they don't worsen. I will note that I was off the saw palmetto supplement for a month while it was out of stock this past May. It did appear that my symptoms worsened while off that. I eat many of the recommended BPH foods such as more fruits/veggies, salmon, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, green tea, spices, garlic & onions, etc. Red meat and junk foods were pretty much gone. I also take a good multi-vit with a content of B's, as well as selenium, aged garlic extract, extra C, E, K2, magnesium, vitamin D3 in the colder months, CoQ10, hawthorne, probiotics, grape seed extract, etc. No doubt some of these help the cardiovascular system as well as the prostrate/general health. My blood work all looks good with very low cholesterol (120), trigs (32), homocysteine (7.7), and hs-crp (<.16), glucose (78), so my diet/exercise is working to manage inflammation. I've raised my vit D levels the past 3 yrs to 65 ng/ml which I think has helped. When I take 2000-4000 IU daily D3 supplements from Oct-March it does seem like my BPH symptoms and BP tend to worsen somewhat. Nothing seems to be able to replace D3 via sunshine, at least for me. I also exercise moderately 6-7 days per week even if just a 2 mile walk which has kept my heart rate in the 50's. I've cut back on the biking as well to limit rides to no more than 45 minutes 2-3X per week. Those former 60-90 min rides every other day were probably not helping my prostrate and possibly aggravating inflammation due to over-exercising. I considering biking as an aggravator to my BPH, but it didn't show until the 7th year of doing it....so probably not that much related.
I think once I do a little more digging in this forum I'll find out many more things than can help me. If anyone has any suggestions as to where I should go next I would most appreciative. I feel stumped at the present. My goal continues to be managing what I have so it doesn't escalate or ultimately become PCa. I don't think I can rule out PCa as even with low #'s a decent % of men get it. My doctor may not be concerned, but I certainly am. Thanks.
Last edited by 68GTX; 07-07-2012 at 06:24 PM.
Reason: fix grammar
Your lower back, glute, hamstring pain with neuropathy in the toes sure does sound like sciatica rather than anything to do with the prostate.
Finasteride may take awhile (3-6 months) to kick in and shrink your prosate. Give it time. If it doesn't work, ask your doctor if you can try Avodart. There are a lot of alpha-blockers out there, but they will all lower your BP somewhat. Rapaflo worked best for me. Everyone's different.
I avoid multi-vitamins based on the latest research, especially if you don't have any reason to suspect a deficiency. They cause surges in serum levels that may not be healthy. Getting nutrients from a wide array of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, etc. is a much better idea. Your colon is designed, together with the bacteria there, to regulate the inflow of nutrients, co-factors, micronutrients and enzymes that increase bioavailability that you can't get from pills. Vitamin E and folates, which are almost always supplemented in multivitamins, have been associated with prostate cancer. I agree that 15 minutes of sunshine is the best source of Vitamin D, and should be enough unless you have some other need for it.
Because of your family history, I understand why you worry about PC and would want to keep monitoring your PSA. However your PSA is at a very low level that is very rarely associated with PC. I hope the finasteride plus some alpha blocker fixes your BPH.
The Following User Says Thank You to Tall Allen For This Useful Post: 68GTX (07-07-2012)
Thanks Allen. In reading some of yours and other posts already I'll probably tweak my vitamin and mineral intake a bit. It's a balancing act between the overall inflammation, blood pressure control, and prostrate health to find the best mix. If I'm currently at a small risk for PC then it's probably the BP control I should be more worried about. It's not unusual to see it spike as high at 160/100 on same days during the winter months for an hour at a time while doing nothing strenuous or stressfull. And it's so odd that during the months of June-early September it's pretty stable in the 125/75 range w/o meds and with very spikes above say 145/85. And that's w/o changes to diet, exercise or anything else that I can figure. This past New England winter was so mild I was able to continue my summer exercise regimen all winter long.
One finasteride benefit I had been unaware of before finding this website was to see if PSA drops after using it for 3-6 months. That's another clue that I could use. I've gone back and forth on Vit E (daily 200 vs. 400 vs. 800 IU) just based on changing CVD studies over the past 10 yrs. Best I can find out today it generally is a plus for vascular disease in the 400-800 range. But I will taper that down some for now into the <400 range.
It's become clear to me that even trying to eat 100% healthy each day that there is not enough time, nor enough room in my stomach to get a full supply of nutrients. I just can't eat that many veggies and fruit while getting plenty of clean water inbetween meals. Currently, I'm downing 8-10 servings of fruit/veggies per day and I don't think it's enough.