Frequent Ejaculation May Be Good for Prostate
Sexual Activity Doesn't Raise Prostate Cancer Risk, May Have Protective Effects
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Ejaculation May Lower Prostate Cancer Risk continued...
"When you look at the data in a little bit more detail, you do
see that not only is there not an increased risk, but there is potentially even
the possibility of a slight decrease in risk with high ejaculation frequency,"
says researcher Michael Leitzmann, MD, an investigator at the National Cancer
Institute in Bethesda, Md. Leitzmann conducted the research during a
post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University.
Leitzmann says researchers suspected that ejaculation frequency
might be a marker of a healthier, more active lifestyle. But when they
accounted for diet, exercise, and other risk factors
for prostate cancer, the link between frequent ejaculation and lower prostate
cancer risk remained.
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