Frequent Ejaculation May Be Good for Prostate
Sexual Activity Doesn't Raise Prostate Cancer Risk, May Have Protective Effects
WebMD News Archive
Study Raises Biological Questions
Researchers say the findings raise several questions about the
biological role of sexual activity and ejaculation in the development of
Leitzmann says that until now, sexual activity had been
associated with prostate cancer risk due to the hormone hypothesis. The male
sex hormone testosterone is known to spur the growth of prostate cancer cells
and it also fuels the male sex drive. Therefore, it had been proposed that very
sexually active men had a higher risk of prostate cancer because they had
higher testosterone levels.
But he says this theory has its shortcomings because
testosterone levels alone do not predict prostate cancer risk and they do not
appear to correlate with sexual desire as much as previously thought.
Instead, researchers say ejaculation may protect the prostate
through a variety of biological mechanisms that merit further research, such
- Flushing out cancer-causing substances. Frequent ejaculation may help flush
out retained chemical carcinogens in the prostate glands.
Reducing tension. The release of psychological tension that
accompanies ejaculation may lower nervous activity associated with stress and
slow the growth of potentially cancerous cells in the prostate.
Promoting rapid turnover of fluids. Frequent ejaculation may
help prevent the development of mini-crystals that can block ducts within the
prostate gland, reducing cancer risk.
The Fine Print
Although researchers found frequent ejaculation appeared to
lower the risk of developing prostate cancer, it's unclear how ejaculation may
affect men destined to develop or already in the early states of prostate
cancer. Men who reported high ejaculation frequency throughout their lives and
in the last year appeared to have a higher risk of developing advanced prostate
cancer, but researchers say the numbers were too small to draw any firm
Since the study consisted of white men predominantly,
researchers also say that the study results only apply to middle-aged white
men. Black men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than white or Asian
Martin Resnick, MD, chairman of the department of urology at
Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, says it's always been a question
of whether prostate function as indicated by sexual activity might affect
prostate cancer risk either positively or negatively.
"There have been some studies in the past that showed
individuals that have been more promiscuous, had more sexual partners, or had
an earlier onset of sexual activity had higher incidence of prostate cancer,"
says Resnick. "But those are old studies."
He says this study offers new information that sexual activity
may not be negatively associated with prostate cancer, and it's reasonable to
believe that a "use it or lose it" principle may apply to overall prostate
But researchers stress that until more is
known about the role of ejaculation and prostate cancer, researchers say men
shouldn't change their sexual behavior.