A Man's Problem - The Prostate - A Layman's Guide.

  • Original posting to the SilverFox Mailing List
  • Background to my original Prostate Problem
  • Update - The Good News
  • Update - The Bad News
  • Mailing List letters of support
  • Click on the diagram for some basic medical info on the Prostate.

    The original posting to the SilverFox Mailing List

    I posted the following note recently to the SilverFox mailing list.:-

    For the last year or so I have been noticing "restrictive" urination (pissing!!) which, after some poking around and talking with friends, would appear to be due to some enlargement of the Prostate. Past experience with the medical profession in this respect has lead to nothing but sadistically applied pain and non-caring on behalf of a profession that ought to know better.

    Consequently, I shall only visit them as a last resort. My general health is excellent. I see my dentist, opthamologist, chiropractor (and a good masseur when I can find one!!!) on a regular basis and they all say I am doing fine. I am 58, 182 lbs on a 5'-11" frame and get to the gym three times a week and am retired.

    In discussing the peeing problem with a friend of many years, he suggested "SAW PALMETTO" naturopathic medicine in pill form. He has been taking them for some years and swears by this medicine. I have been on them since the beginning of August and haven't noticed anything yet - the literature says effects will start to be noticed in about 90 days as opposed to a year for the more "professionally" approved Proscar.

    Has anyone out there had any experience with Saw Palmetto which they might like to relate to the group or to me privately (!)?

    A "less intrusive" view!!!

    Bakground to my Prostate Problem - August 1997

    The message I posted was, out of necessity, somewhat brief. This page is going to be a documentation of my experiences with my urination and other "middle region" problems. I hope that by recording these experiences and the support from others, that this page will assist those that follow in our footsteps.

    About three or four years ago, I began noticing blood in my semen. On the first occasion, I panicked. Nobody talks about such things and it was totally unexpected. I had no idea where it came from or what caused it.

    My medical doctor, who operates a highly gay and HIV clinic in Toronto, seemed to think that there was no problem and it would go away. It didn't and so an appointment was made with a Urologist who poked around and after a negative PSA blood test, for which I had to pay, decided that I should go and get an examination at Wellesley Hospital.

    This procedure was the most embarrassing and unsuccessful experience I ever had. The link on the diagram above describes, in medical terms, what happens. In practice the whole procedure is like something out of the dark ages.

    I wasn't, amongst other things, informed properly what was going to happen, what was expected to be the result, what was the result, what was likely to be the cause of the problem, what was the severity of the problem. I received the most minimal of local anaesthetics which resulted in a great deal of discomfort during and after the procedure. The staff and the doctor performing this procedure treated the whole business as if they were doing an office copying task. The amount of care and concern for the patient was about as much as a squeegee kid gives when cleaning a car windshield.

    As a result of all of the foregoing, the medical community found absolutely nothing and did nothing to make me feel comfortable with this feeble result. My faith in the medical community as a consequence is not high and therefore I am prepared to pursue the SAW PALMETTO course for at least the next couple of months (end of October '97).

    If the Saw Palmetto does not work, I shall be scouting around for some members of the medical community who have demonstrated a more Hypocratic attitude than those I have met so far. Anyone in the Toronto area reading this is invited to submit names of potential candidates.

    Since all of this, my cum production and "force" has dropped to a dribble. All the sensations are there but there isn't the mess to clean up!!!!!

    The above is my state as of 24th August '97.

    Update - The Good News - November 1997

    It is now just over three months since I started the course of Saw Palmetto pills in an effort to improve my urine flow. In short - it appears to have worked!!!!

    The original pills I used are:-
    ProstCare 85-95% Fatty Acids & Sterols manufactured by Natural Factors of Burnaby, British Columbia. These had 80mg of Saw Palmetto Berry Extract with some Pygeum and I was taking two of these twice a day.
    When I couldnít get these at one stage, I used Prostate Ease with a similar composition made by Swiss Herbal Remedies which I didnít think were working. When I managed to get the original ProstCare again, I was taking two of them twice per day with one of the Prostate Ease. After all Iíd paid for them so I thought I might as well use them up and will continue to do so until they are all gone - about another week.
    As this will be a reduction in Saw Palmetto, I will leave the dosage at two pills twice per day. Then the test will be to reduce to one pill twice per day.
    As part of the Prostate situation and another "deficiency" (see the Bad News below), I was having to get up about three or four times a night to go for a pee. The Saw Palmetto seems to have got me back to my more usual none or one. That's a relief!!!
    I would like to thank everyone who has helped me to get this far in my course. Your support has been invaluable.

    Update - The Bad News - November 1997

    Thatís the good news. The bad news came after the continuous thirst, the weight loss and the continuous peeing got me to finally go and see my Doctor who diagnosed me with Diabetes. This was something I had not expected as there was no history of it in my family. So now Iím on the needle with insulin but at least Iím not going to the bathroom every 5 minutes!!!

    Letters of support from mailing list members.

    The following are the very generous comments that I have received from members of the Silverfox Mailing List as a result of my post. They are not in any particular order. I have removed extraneous stuff and anonymised them for posting here. I wish to publicly thank all those who have responded - you are most kind.

    Dear Dave, I have seen your postings over the time that I have been a member of the List. I think this is the first time I have made contact with you. You sure sound like you are in great shape.

    The prostate however is a particular problem. I began using saw palmetto about 3 months ago just for general use since as far as I know my prostate is just fine. I have not seen any difference except in masturbation. When I masturbated too often in the past my prostate kicked up a minor storm. Now with saw palmetto that condition no longer prevails. To me that is good news since the greater part of my sex life is with me alone. It is not a condition that I want but it is what is.

    I do not know if that will be of any help to you, I hope it will?

    Love to hear from you and perhaps we can share more about saw palmetto and our prostates.

    a friendly hug or two,

    A business associate who happens to be a urologist suggested Saw Palmetto to me when I mentioned that I had started urinating two or three times per night.

    Within a month of taking two big tablets, twice per day, the frequent urination stopped completly and I started noticing a constant horniness, similar to that when I was in my twenties (I'm 52). Sex has increased measurably also. Two or three orgasms per sessions has become the norm.

    Greetings, fellers--

    BPH, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, is the 'normal' enlargement of the prostate as we age. Many guys begin to experience it in their 4th or 5th decade. The symptoms are various urination problems: reduced or slow stream, slow start/stop, dribbling, frequent urination, waking up through the night to pee, etc. BPH causes much of the urination difficulty by reducing the diameter of the urethra as it passes through the prostate. This also causes an increase in backpressure that can lead to irritation or infection of the bladder and sometimes even to uremia (urine in the blood, a life-threatening condition).

    I've been using a saw palmetto (serenoa repens) formulation daily for over 5 years now. I credit it with reducing my BPH to the point that a recent fingerwave check got me a compliment from the intern, who was surprised my prostate was so small.

    Then I asked him for a second opinion, so he inserted TWO fingers...

    No, no, no. The ghost of Groucho must have possessed me... This is serious stuff. The increased testosterone associated with BPH may even activate dormant prostate cancer. Your medical doctor will usually tell you that your BPH is normal in your age group, but you should have it checked regularly. He (or she?) might also prescribe a fancy and expensive drug (Proscar, $75 per month) that is very ineffective and has a number of bad side effects. Check out this URL: http://www20.dxu.com/dw2text/treatbph.html They state that the only reliable longterm solution to BPH is surgical. That would mean roto-rooter surgery for many men over age 50! Ouch... More side effects, on both your sex life and your wallet.

    I began using saw palmetto in alcohol tincture form, 40 drops in a big glass of water 4 times a day for about three weeks. By that point I had already noticed much more ease in urination (not to mention a lot MORE urination, thanks to all that water) and I switched to capsules, half a dozen a day. Things got better & better until now I can pee like a horse (that's right, I get down on all fours and whinny...but haven't yet got the knack of unreeling 18 inches any time I want to show off).

    It seems to me that DHEA & saw palmetto have opposite effects on BPH. In fact, I tried DHEA for a few months last year and noticed a gradual return of the urinary obstruction symptoms. I then increased my daily saw palmetto dose by a couple of capsules, which seemed to help the problem, but soon after I stopped taking DHEA. Since then I found out that the hormone responsible for the overproduction of prostate cells that leads to BPH is a type of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone. It may turn out that DHEA is only safe for those who have no BPH problems.

    Saw palmetto seems to provide symptomatic relief of BPH for many men, but the effects are not permanent. You must continue the daily dosage. One disappointment to me is that the price has more than doubled in the last year, evidently in response to increased demand as word has spread about its powers. No doubt the sources (southern Atlantic seaboard - Georgia, Florida) are being monopolized by huge drug conglomerates even as I write these words. Or is my paranoia somehow caused by saw palmetto, which otherwise has not been found to have any side effects?

    There are a few other vegetable substances held to be salutary for the male plumbing, too. They are often included in various herbal formulations with saw palmetto as the main ingredient. I have read that one of them, pygeum, can even heal (permanently reverse) BPH. One of the pills I've been taking for over 3 years has pygeum in it. But I'm not going to stop taking saw palmetto to see if that claim is true.

    My polarbear Jim has also been using saw palmetto for the last two years. He just reminded me about an interesting booklet on the subject we picked up a few months back, "Saw Palmetto: Nature's Answer to Enlarged Prostate!" by Karolyn A. Gazella ($3.95, published by IMPAKT Communications, Inc., P.O. Box 12496, Green Bay, WI 54307-2496; toll-free phone numbers: (800) 477-2995/USA, (888) 292-2229/Canada). Gazella stresses the importance of using a standardized extract, rather than raw saw palmetto berries or even tincture. According to her, the label of the saw palmetto product must read: "Standardized to contain 85 to 95 percent fatty acids and sterols." The suggested dosage is 160 mg twice daily of the standardized extract. She says that economizing on saw palmetto products that are cheaper than the standardized extract amounts to throwing your money away. Even though they may be cheaper, and may have more of the berries by weight, they probably don't contain enough of the plant oils that are the source of the medicinal effect. She also quotes munerous double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies that have verified the effectiveness of standardized saw palmetto extract in reducing BPH, versus the grievous lack of effectiveness of Proscar.

    If you've actually hung in there and read this far, just remember what Lawrence Welk used to say: "This is a tricky new arrangement for us, so alright boys, pee on your toes! uh-1, uh-2, uh-1, 2, 3, 4..."

    I don't have any experience with the drug your friend is recommending.

    However, I do think you should see a doctor. At your age, it is entirely possible that your swelling could be caused by prostate cancer. It's always something that needs to be considered in men over 40, and over 50 especially.

    If you don't feel comfortable with your regular doctor in this matter, ask him to refer you to a proctologist, or possibly a urologist. If your general doctor doesn't have the compassion, or tender touch you want/require, these specialists should.

    Please, don't start taking any medication without the approval of your doctor. I know there are many natural remedies out there, but there are also many fakes, and if you do have prostate cancer, no natural remedy will cure you.

    And no, I am not a doctor, I am a concerned 26 year old who thinks older men should take their health seriously and look after their bodies as they are the sexiest things on the planet! (I also happen to be going through prostate/testicular problems right now and have to go see a urologist Wednesday morning...)

    I believe saw palmetto is a source for the hormonal chemical DHEA, so recently discussed on this list. I believe the chemical is also synthesized in laboratories, but saw palmetto (and other vegatation) is a natural source.

    I have taken DHEA for some while (I am 62), and I have noticed an increased libido. I too have experienced urination problems that I am told are to be expected as one grows older (examination for possible prostate problems showed none), mainly less forceful than I once had, but also stopping and starting up again: this too is I believe normal.

    Taking DHEA, at first in 25 mg dosage, now 50 mg twice a day, seems to have improved my general health -- I have had fewer colds, I have lost some small excess weight, my body seems to be in better tone than it used to be.

    I think this list is a suitable venue for discussing some of the problems of growing older and personal experiences with DHEA. I do not believe it is a panacea, but I have had good results.

    I too started having mild pee problems last year. I went to a urologist who had me take an ultrasonic exam of the prostate. The exam is easy and there is no discomfort. The results showed that I had a slightly enlarged prostate with the beginnings of a tumor on the surface. He suggested surgery and I was very sceptical. I sought two other opinions and they were in agreement with the first Dr.

    I had the surgery. There was no cutting. With a local anesthetic they inserted an instrument through the urethra and smashed the prostate until it no longer existed. I had absolutely no pain after the surgery. I was able to have sex a month afterwards and all is well. The orgasmic sensation is without a doubt stronger now. My jet is like a hose.My sex life is great.

    I am very relieved. The most frequent cancer in men is prostate cancer and it kills if not detected early. I am very pleased that my prostate is gone. Crertainly I will never have cancer of the prostate.

    Don't fool around with your life.

    Good Saturday Morning Dave, I am quite a few years older than you and a few years back began experiencing difficulty urinating which included getting up several times during the night, slow starts and difficult ending with some dripping, and generally slow stream at anytime. I was referred to a uroligist who suggested the use of several medications on the market, all of which have bad side effects. I tried one (his sample) for a couple of days and quit. The uroligist also suggested the possible need for surgery in the future.

    A friend of mine recommended a product called Prostata from of all things, a company with headquarters in Toronto by the name of Gero Vita International at 6021 Yonge Street. They manufacture and distribute out of Reno, Nevada. If you phone 800 406-1314 and request literature on Prostata they will send it to you quickly -- or you may want to order and see what results you experience. The advantage of Prostate over other products containing Saw Palmetto is that there are other ingredients such as zinc which is generally acknowledged to be beneficial to prostate health. I believe I began seeing results in a few weeks and it improved in time and I have used Prostata as well as other supplements from Gero Vita for about 5 years.

    As an aside, I have read and I believe there is merit to it, that frequent sex to climax or in the alternative, masturbation, is beneficial to prostate function. Some so-called experts, also recommend an excercise in which you tense the prostrate muscle by tightening the theigh area just as you would when to squeeze out last drops of urine for a period of several minutes daily. When I think of doing it, either while sitting at the computer as I am now, or before falling asleep in bed, you get a sensation of your balls being pulled up into the sac. The excercise is not unlike one recommended for women who need to tighten up their vagina.

    Well, that's my contribution towards your well being today. Would like to learn of your progress and/or exchange emails with you now and then. Who knows, you may invite me to visit Toronto where I have yet to go out of appreciation for this information. Have a nice weekend.

    Every time I see my urologist he crooks his finger, gets in my face and says; 'USE IT OR LOOSE IT" I say "I'm trying". "But, I don't always have control of that area of my life." (OK laugh, I know I just laid the foundation for some comments.

    Next time think I will compliment him on his good looking son, who's picture is on the wall. Well???Maybe not.

    It Works!

    I'm 28 so I am a bit young to know too much about this, but as I've said before, you are one of my favorite preverts <> and I want to have you around for a long, long time... I would encourage you to invest (if you haven't already in a PSA test--this blood test tests for the levels of something that if you have elevated levels often indicates prostate cancer)

    The reason I know about this is that my Grandfather and Great Uncle were both diagnosed with prostate cancer within two weeks of each other with this test.

    Getting the test however is not the only important thing, but agressively pursuing treatment options is also important. My Grandfather went to Duke University where his nephew is a physicians assistant to a doctor specializing in such things almost immediately after diagnosis. That was 5 years ago. Grandpa is still alive, kicking, and able to function sexually (NO I've not "done him" he's told me how it's been going) .

    My great uncle who was diagnosed at the same time and had a similar level of cancer did not pursue treatment as actively, listening to his idiotic schmuck doctor who said things like "Prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer, you probably won't have to do anything with it for five or more years." Well he's been dead now for almost three years, and died a horrific painful and undignified death due largely to the poor medical care he received.

    Please, be very careful about your health. Get a good medical opinion--perhaps you can find a gay doctor--they might have a little more understanding of how a digital exam can be less painful? I'm sure if you checked the local gay publications or web resources that you could find someone with a clue.

    Sent with good thoughts for you and your health,

    Hi, Dave

    I know something about prostate problems, which I have come to live with in the past three or four years. If you want you could phone me at (416) XXX-XXXX, or we could meet in the village for lunch or dinner one day. Let me know.

    OK OK on a more seriousnes note my dear friend, "before everyone gets their girdles and skirts all bunched up over my tasteless humour"

    consultation doesn't cost anything, especially in a country that has medicare such as ours.

    For the love of God or better yet , For the love of yourself and your loved one's please consider seeking out a consultation or two or three or even four.....You still have final word on taking any treatment or not. The possiblity of it being something that can be serious is there? Why WAIT and play with that?

    There has been a lot of radio advertising in the NY area recently for something called Pro-Palm-ex, able to reduce prostate enlargement and increase urine flow - so it says. I am only guessing at the spelling. Perhaps it's a variety of the Saw Palmetto you mention. It is available over the counter.

    Good luck,

    I have been taking Saw Palmetto for 6 months together with DHEA and I have not noticed any difference in my habitual visit to the toilet at 4a.m. I f you learn of anything I would appreciate forwarding such message. Thanks, in advance.

    Whatever you decide about saw palmetto, see your MD, too! Have you had a recent PSA test? Was it negative? It's a blood test for Prostate Specific Antigen, which is produced by a malignant prostate tumor. It's very sensitive, and reliable. Don't take chances!

    Thanks again guys for the support.

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