Men are poor at looking after themselves. They often postpone seeking medical help until things are quite bad.

Problems with enlarged prostate and poor urinary flow are quite common.

Frequency, urgency and incontinence of urine can make life very miserable and also affect one's self esteem.

It is, therefore, important that men seek advice about any urinary symptoms early because early treatment gives the best chance of cure for prostate and bladder problems.

Leaving it too late can lead to complications like poor bladder control, kidney failure or cancer of the prostate, which may become untreatable.

Understanding the symptoms and their significance may help.

Generally speaking, passing urine three to four times in the daytime and waking up once in the night as we get older is normal.

Having to go every hour and waking up more than once in the night can be termed as increased frequency.

Drinking coffee, tea, alcohol, squashes, a lot of water, herb teas or even eating a lot of salad and fruit can make you want to go more often.

Frequency of micturition and the feeling of urgency can be due to anxiety, stress, cold weather, the effects of smoking, alcohol, too many hot curries or an enlarged prostate, as well as an irritable bladder.

This requires investigation of the kidneys, bladder and prostate.

An examination, a urine test to check for infection, an ultrasound scan and a cystoscopy a simple procedure of looking inside the bladder with a telescope will rule out serious problems in the bladder.

Older men will also need a blood test to check for prostate cancer.

Poor urinary flow and straining suggests a degree of obstruction from prostate or other causes and needs an investigation for flow rate in addition to the above tests.

If you pass blood in the urine, you need to see your doctor immediately.

Painful urination is generally due to infection, obstruction or stones in the urinary system.

No one knows why some men get prostate cancer but recent research has shown that unprotected sex with multiple partners increases the risk of prostate cancer by 100 per cent, perhaps due to genital infections.

Ayurveda and Chinese medicine say that too much sexual drive or activity can cause problems not only with the prostate but also a general debility and poor health.

Yoga recommends Brahmacharya a practice of celibacy which means controlled sexual activity with one partner.

Some well-proven ayurvedic herbs without any side effects which help prostate and urinary disease are: Gokshur (tribulus terrestris) Guggul (Camiphora mukul), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), pure Asphalt and Shilajit (rock exudate).

Overall, a balanced, wholesome lifestyle and wholesome diet is the best policy for prostate health.