I began my journey to learn about the role of hormones and foods when my wife started going through menopause. She had all the potential symptoms and they were full on – frequent hot flashes, fibrocystic breasts and major mood swings. The final straw came when she announced “yes I know all the stuff about the dangers of HRT, but if I don’t do something about it soon I am probably going to kill someone and the most likely target is YOU!”. That works for me as an incentive to find an alternative! So I went on a crash course on human hormones.
About the same time I was starting to get the slow to pee syndrome typical of men around my age. Waking more often in the night and waiting for something to happen when I got to the toilet – very frustrating.
With my new knowledge of hormone issues I realised that the cause was a swollen prostate caused by an imbalance in the oestrogen /progesterone-testosterone levels in my body. The prostate is very sensitive to oestrogen levels, as it is developmentally the male equivalent of the uterus in women.
So what to do about this problem?
Flax fibre is an excellent source of weak plant oestrogens (phyto oestrogens) so, I started taking about a dessert spoonful on my breakfast every day – it worked a treat – so taking the flax fibre became part of my routine and I kind of forgot about my prostate.
I had a rude awakening about 2 years later, when I went on holiday over Christmas and forgot to take my flax fibre with me. About 11 nights later I was awake multiple times to go pee and it just got progressively worse fast.
Not a lot of fun – I can fully understand how men can go have an operation to fix the problem, even at the potential risk of dribble problems and loss of libido. So of course I got back onto the flax fibre as quickly as possible and the problem went away again.
The scientist in me wanted to know if this was a one-off situation or not, so about two months later I tried going without my daily fibre to see what would happen. Sure enough on night eleven I was up all night again. So now if I am traveling for more than a few days I make sure I take my flax fibre with me.
So why is this such a common problem in older men?
That will be the subject of my next blog.