Testosterone and Prostate Health – Did you know that researchers in Israel discovered that poorly functioning valves in your veins can cause a 100 fold increase in the amount of testosterone hitting your prostate?
Testosterone moves into circulation in your blood by going through the spermatic vein, being pushed up by blood flow to the inferior vena cava near the kidneys. Once there, this concentration of testosterone is mixed into and thus diluted into the entire blood supply in your body.
In addition, at this point 98% of your testosterone gets bound to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This leaves only a tiny fraction of free testosterone, which is the active testosterone, that is carried to your prostate.
Your testicles secrete this testosterone. They are a long way below the vena cava so the testosterone has to be pushed up to the level of your kidneys, about 35 cm to 40 cm. To keep the blood from flowing back down because of the pull of gravity, the veins carrying the testosterone have a series of one-way valves to prevent backflow.
As you age, these vein valves often don’t work efficiently and start to malfunction. This allows gravity to pull the blood back down and the testosterone fails to reach the vena cava. When this happens, the blood carrying the testosterone is shunted to collateral veins that carry the blood through alternative routes. Unfortunately, one of those routes goes to your prostate.
Some researchers say that nearly 75% of men age 70 have poor functioning vein valves, and some of these valves may be in the veins that transport testosterone to the vena cava.
These malfunctioning vein valves cause concentrated testosterone to be routed through the prostate.
Taller men are more affected, as the blood has farther to travel, creating greater downward pressure. Swollen prostates don’t normally occur in four-legged animals because their testicular drainage is horizontal, not vertical so they don’t need valves in their spermatic veins.
This blood coming from your testicles carries as much as 130 times the concentration of testosterone as would normally be reaching your prostate when the valves are working. What’s worse, virtually all of it is “free,” unbound, fully active testosterone.
All this testosterone throws your hormones way out of balance — one of the causes of BPH.
And as some of this testosterone will be converted into estrogen, you’ll end up with higher estrogen production, which will, as you have read, cause BPH and prostatitis. It can even lead to prostate cancer.
Blood levels of testosterone could still test as deficient. It is in the prostate itself that these high levels happen.
The Israeli researchers measured hydrostatic pressure and prostate volume, and PSA scores on 72 men with prostate cancer. All of them tested as having higher hydrostatic pressure which meant that their vein valves were not functioning properly. The researchers reasoned that cutting out the collateral circulation to the prostate might help. They used sclerosing (closing veins with scarring substances) therapy to the veins in the scrotal cavity eliminating backflow to the prostate glands.
The results confirmed their theory. Six months after treatment, PSA levels declined, and prostate volume shrank an average of 36 ml. Most effective.
You can certainly ask your doctor to check you on this issue. A doctor can often (but not always) find malfunctioning valves with a physical examination. It may be better to go to your urologist, since a physical exam can miss it and you might need something like an ultrasound to detect any malfunctioning valves in the spermatic vein.
If you do have malfunctioning valves in your spermatic vein, you can ask your doctor to perform sclerosing on the veins going to the scrotal cavity. If you have a persistent case of BPH that hasn’t improved, this could be the issue.
However, sclerosing the spermatic vein may be expensive, as this procedure would be so new that it is doubtful whether insurance or medicare would cover it.