Chronic Prostatitis - Alcohol, Diet and Exercise are powerful influencers of Symptoms
Exercise and what you eat (diet) and how much alcohol you may drink can have a significant effect on the severity of your prostatitis symptoms.
The following is my story of the lifestyle choices that I (often unwittingly) followed as my medical journey progressed, and how a point was reached where I started to say "no" to taking a pass on properly looking after myself. Reading the following may sound like it was easy, it wasn't, it may sound like it happened quickly, it didn't, and most of all, it may sound like I know it all, I DON'T, this is just a summary of what worked for ME, and if writing it helps you, I would be very pleased.. so let me/everyone know in the comments at the bottom of this page.
For a long time I grappled with the problem of prostatitis. This meant I ONLY pursued the medical line; I wanted a cure!
The more Doctors I saw (especially Urologists), the more frustrated I got.. until I realised (it took a while), that a "cure" was not going to come easily, especially not when the best a Doctor could offer was a script (Rx) for antibiotics.
Eventually, things got so serious for me, that I started to get it through my head that it was all up to me. Having paid medical insurance for years and being brought up with the expectation that a Doctor was going to be a miracle worker; I was slowly getting the message. I had to direct and manage my own prostatitis condition if I was ever going to have some sort of enjoyable life and carry through on my goals.
So what were the things I could control? My own behavior!
I had slowly, almost unrealizingly sunk into a routine of drowning my sorrows in alcohol (as the saying goes). Every night I would sink a couple of times the number of drinks that anybody would call reasonable, and this not only didn't help the prostatitis, it made it a lot worse with unbelievable urinary frequency, not to mention the effect it had on relationships. Yes, I'd got into the habit of heading for a drink at every opportunity after 6pm.
What's worse? Eating the wrong food or consuming a lot of alcohol? Both are as bad as each other for prostatitis, and one begets the other; heavy drinking made me very hungry, but not until later at night when the only eat-out options were takeaway/fast food. And the more junk food I ate, the worse shape I got in, and that made me think more of a drink!
If this resonates with you, read on please. If it doesn't. but you're early in this vicious cycle of prostatitis, then also please read on, so this doesn't build up for you.
A Fix of my bad Prostatitis Habits
To start with, I attacked the bad drink habit; I don't recommend that you hit diet (the kind of food you eat) AND alcohol minimization at the same time. Every new habit requires a bit of a well-thought plan, or it's very likely to be one more piece of failure (prostatitis, relationships stemming from it, poor Doctors, failed antibiotic courses etc). So I worked out the following:
- Don't drink before a certain time in the day, this is a big one. If you can stick to a time like I had (one great start in the plan I had going for me), like never drink until after 6pm, you've already beaten a chunk of the problem.
- Although I got this going without involving too many other things, I brought forward the strategy of having a drink after doing something that was an achievement; like a good hour of the right exercise, as I'll explain later. Or having ticked off an advancement in my prostatitis treatment plan.
- Then I brought in an alcohol limit. This was the most important thing in my success, it required will-power, but like all plans, as you make a habit of them they become easier over time. And.. the less you drink the more will-power you have. So, I had a limit of equivalence; 2 small beers, OR one mixed hard liquor OR one (biggish) glass of wine per night. That's it, that's what did it.
- Helps a great deal if you only have what you want for the night in the house at any one time, less temptation!
In case a reader at this point thinks, "oh, sounds like this guy is a drunk, I'm not like that".. don't you believe it. Examine everything you do and put it under the microscope, it's much easier to see the wrong in others but not in oneself. No, I wasn't a drunk because of one fortunate fact, if I had more than a certain number of drinks I would get a terrible headache during the night and lasting most of the next day. When my prostatitis symptoms, and all the attendant problems got so bad, it could have perhaps become a case of a being very big drinker but getting those headaches probably saved me.
I'm being brutally honest here, just more than the equivalent of a couple of small beers a night WILL impact on prostatitis for a big percentage of guys. For some, even any alcohol will have a noticeable effect.
DIET - Food, getting the right food to minimize prostatitis symptoms:
- Never ever eat spicy food; chilli, paprika etc, that knocks out a lot of mexican, some thai, some chinese food
- Next biggest on the list: Fried food! Now that knocks out most of the fast food alternatives; fried, deep fried.
- Bread, potatoes, pasta - lots of carbohydrate (esp. bread) made me put on weight very quickly. If I put on weight I started to stray from my new habits, because then I felt lethargic, which knocked out smart thinking and exercise.
- So what did that leave? One fresh steamed green vegetable with a small amount of meat every night. Steamed vegetable sounds boring right? But I used to put a bit of butter on it which gave it flavor, then after a while I'd alternate that with some grated parmesan on top (you can buy it in a little shaker in a supermarket).
- Rubbish food, snacks, none! They're full of salt, and/or sugar, or goodness knows what chemicals. Keep dairy and sugar as low as possible and up the water if the urinary frequency isn't too bad. Generally the more water you get through the bladder, the more bacteria that get flushed out, depending on your type of prostatitis.
- To help make this "stick", I used to bulk up on the vegetable, I ate as much as I wanted so because of that I never felt hungry - I ate mostly spinach
- And I used to keep preparation as simple as possible; a steamer came in for the most use, stick the vegetable in a little earlier if it was solid like broccoli, but if it were my spinach, then both it and the chicken would go in at the same time. Shake the parmesan on top of the chicken half-way through and it was melted when ready.
- This might sound very boring, but as I stuck with it, the yearning for fried fast food disappeared. Before long I was really looking forward to my main meal at night.
- Oh, another big one.. eat early, no later than 6pm. Part of my whole food, alcohol, exercise problem was eating too late at night and going to bed on a full stomach. Eating at 6pm and the resistance exercise helped my sleep enormously in addition to all the weight loss.
If you have trouble doing the above, I found it helped a great deal to just not have any of the bad stuff in the house. If it wasn't there I wasn't tempted! It helps a great deal if you've got a supportive partner. Having kids means you can't keep the cupboards and fridge empty but you can keep the right things in them; it's just as important for the kids to be doing what you're doing - healthy eating.
Check out Ryan MacEachern's work for more great food ideas | My progress with food is such that I consider the above to be a feast!
Ok, now it's time to move onto Prostatitis and Exercise
Not being over-weight definitely is a big help for prostatitis, but probably the greatest value that exercise and keeping fit can give you is all those endorphins, and the extremely beneficial effect they have on your state of mind.
It's natural for ANYONE to feel down, or depressed, OR clinically depressed when they have a chronic illness. It's part of having prostatitis and gets many, many, sufferers sooner or later.
So, as I got on top of my diet and alcohol intake, I started exercising every day.
I can say this would not have lasted if I went to the gym every day and did repetitive routines, especially a treadmill INDOORS would have bored me to the point of giving it up. So I never started there, and I'd learned that for me anyway, I wasn't going to be successful if I plodded away at something for hours every day. I knew I needed resistance exercise which would be even better and take a lot less time.
I had a steep mountain very close to where I lived, and I walked up there every day, and by the time I got to the bottom again I used to feel great. I'd be sweating heavily, feeling great, not exhausted nor taken more than 90 minutes.
All the above worked for me in reducing Prostatitis symptoms Enormously
It may not work for everyone, the theory definitely will, but the fine details might need to be modified a bit for your own particular situation.
If you have something you can add to what I've written, please comment at the bottom of this page. What I've written here is the most important thing next to a total cure in my mind, because getting on top of these three things helps put you back in control.
Looking back: Observations on the things that helped my prostatitis symptoms the most:
- I tried many many herbs, leaf, pill, capsule, every shape form and type possible, some definitely helped my prostatitis symptoms. You can read about that HERE
- By far and away the best effect on my prostatitis symptoms for me were the big three; good food, low alcohol and exercise.
- Once the habits are set, and you cure the prostatitis like I've managed to, the old bad habits have never returned. I never eat spicy food now, I don't yearn for it, I just have got to not like it. I used to love a certain bourbon and coke, now one drink of it and that's enough for a week, same for any other alcoholic drink, one drink and I forget about it for a week or more. One hamburger, because I'm going to be late home and I want something earlier and that's all that's available.. I hardly enjoy it and won't look at another one for months. And although I've pegged back on the exercise, it never entirely goes away; once you're back in good health, and keep eating well, you tend to stay fit.
Don't forget, comment below on whether this article has helped you and tell us about anything extra that has helped for you.