Digital Health in Africa: Pharmarun at the Africa Health Tech Summit

I recently attended the Africa Health Tech Summit, also known as #AHTS23, which took place from 17th of October 2023 to 19th October 2023. The summit was all about acknowledging and celebrating digital health innovations, exploring new and exciting ways to use technology to improve healthcare in Africa.

Funmilola Aderemi

Prostate Cancer and Other Prostate Problems. 

The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland located in a man's pelvis, right below the bladder. Even though it's small, this little gland plays a big role in men's health. It's part of the male reproductive system and is responsible for making some of the fluid that nourishes and protects sperm.

Prostate problems are more common than you might think. Many men, especially as they get older, face issues related to their prostate. One of the most concerning problems is prostate cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in men. 

In this blog post, we'll explore the world of the prostate and everything related to it. We'll dig into what prostate cancer is, how to check for it, and what you can do if you're diagnosed. We'll also touch on other prostate concerns like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis. So, if you're interested in learning more about your prostate and how to keep it healthy, keep reading. We've got a lot to cover!

The Prostate Gland

The Prostate gland sits just below the bladder and surrounds a tube known as the urethra, which carries urine out of the body.

Its main role is producing a unique fluid that combines with sperm to form semen. This fluid provides protection and sustenance to the sperm, which is important for reproduction.

Prostate Cancer: What Is It?

This is a disease that can affect the prostate gland. When normal cells in the prostate start to change and grow uncontrollably, it can lead to cancer. These cancer cells can sometimes spread to other parts of the body, which can be quite serious.

Common Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer can cause various symptoms, though some men may not experience any symptoms at all. Here are some of the common signs to watch out for:

  1. Urinary Changes: This can include increased frequency of urination, difficulty starting and stopping urination, weak urine flow, or a sense of not emptying the bladder completely.
  1. Blood in Urine or Semen: Some men with prostate cancer may notice blood in their urine or semen. This can be a concerning symptom that should be discussed with a healthcare provider.
  1. Erectile Dysfunction: Prostate cancer or its treatments can sometimes lead to difficulties with achieving or maintaining an erection.
  1. Discomfort in the Pelvic Area: Men with prostate cancer may experience pain or discomfort in the pelvic area, lower back, or hips.

Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

  1. Surgery: Some men opt for surgery, where the prostate gland or the cancerous part of it is removed. This is called a prostatectomy.
  1. Radiation Therapy: Radiation is another choice. It uses high-energy rays to target and kill cancer cells. It can be done externally or by placing radioactive seeds inside the prostate.
  1. Hormone Therapy: Prostate cancer often relies on male hormones like testosterone to grow. Hormone therapy can slow down or stop the production of these hormones, which can help slow the cancer's progress.
  1. Chemotherapy: Chemo involves powerful medications that can kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. It's usually used when cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
  1. Immunotherapy: This is a newer approach that helps the immune system fight cancer cells.
  1. Active Surveillance: Sometimes, if the cancer is slow-growing and not causing symptoms, doctors might recommend closely monitoring it rather than immediate treatment.
Prostate Cancer and Other Prostate Problems | Pharmarun | Online Pharmacy In Nigeria

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is a condition where the prostate gland gradually enlarges. "Benign" means non-cancerous. So, BPH is when the prostate grows bigger, but it's not due to cancer.

As men age, the prostate has a tendency to keep growing. This natural growth is what leads to BPH. The enlarged prostate can squeeze the urethra, causing various urinary problems.

Common Symptoms of BPH

  1. Frequent Urination: Many men find themselves needing to urinate more often, especially during the night.
  1. Urgency: BPH can lead to a sudden, strong urge to urinate that can be hard to control.
  1. Weak Urine Stream: The flow of urine may become weaker, and it might take longer to empty the bladder.
  1. Incomplete Emptying: There's often a feeling of not having completely emptied the bladder after urination.
  1. Dribbling: Urine dribbling after finishing urinating.

Causes of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

The exact cause of BPH is not entirely clear, but age and changes in the balance of hormones, like testosterone and estrogen, are believed to play a role. It's a common part of aging for many men, so dealing with BPH is not uncommon.

The good news is that there are effective ways to manage BPH. Doctors may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or, in some cases, medical procedures to relieve the symptoms. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the condition and how it's affecting the patient’s daily life.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Prostate

1. Eat Your Greens:

Including plenty of green, leafy vegetables in your diet can be a great way to support your prostate health. Veggies like okra, bitter leaf, pumpkin leaves (ugu), waterleaf, spinach, African eggplant (garden egg), and amaranth (tete) are packed with essential nutrients that your prostate loves.

2. Exercise:

Regular physical activity has numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of prostate problems. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. It can be as simple as a brisk walk or a bike ride.

3. Watch Your Weight:

Being overweight can put extra stress on your prostate. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and exercise can reduce that risk.

4. Limit Red Meat and Processed Foods:

It's a good idea to cut back on red meat and processed foods as they can have a negative impact on prostate health.

5. Stay Hydrated:

Drinking plenty of water is very good. It helps flush out toxins and keeps your urinary system in good working order, which benefits your prostate.

6. Don't Skip Check-ups:

Regular visits to the doctor are important for monitoring your prostate health. Screening tests and check-ups can catch any issues early when they are often more treatable.

7. Tomatoes and Lycopene:

Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which has been linked to prostate health. So, enjoy that tomato sauce on your pasta or a tasty tomato salad.

8. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine:

Enjoying a drink or a cup of coffee is fine in moderation, but excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption can irritate your prostate. So, keep it in check.

9. Take Saw Palmetto: 

Some men find relief from prostate symptoms with saw palmetto, an herbal remedy. It may help with issues like an enlarged prostate (BPH). Click here to shop for this supplement.

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing

PSA stands for Prostate-Specific Antigen. It's a protein produced by your prostate gland. The PSA test is a simple blood test that measures the levels of this protein in your bloodstream.

Why is PSA Testing Important?

  1. Early Detection: High levels of PSA can be a sign of various prostate issues, including prostate cancer. Catching these issues early can aid in better treatment.
  1. Monitoring Prostate Health: Regular PSA testing allows your doctor to keep an eye on your prostate health over time. This helps in identifying any significant changes in PSA levels that might indicate a problem.

What is the Normal PSA Level?

In general, a PSA level below 4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) is considered normal. However, the acceptable range can vary depending on factors like age and risk factors.

If your PSA level is higher than the normal range, it doesn't necessarily mean you have prostate cancer. It could be due to other issues like an enlarged prostate (BPH), infection, or inflammation.


Prostatitis is the inflammation or swelling of the prostate gland. 

Types of Prostatitis

  1. Acute Bacterial Prostatitis: This is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It can come on suddenly and cause severe symptoms like fever, chills, and pain in the lower abdomen.
  1. Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis: Similar to acute bacterial prostatitis, but the symptoms are milder and can last for a longer time.
  1. Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS): This is the most common type of prostatitis. Its cause is often unknown, and it can lead to ongoing pain and discomfort in the pelvic region.
  1. Asymptomatic Inflammatory Prostatitis: This type doesn't cause noticeable symptoms but can be detected through a PSA test or during an evaluation for other prostate problems.

Causes of Prostatitis

  1. Bacterial Infection
  2. Non-bacterial Inflammation
  3. Nerve Issues
  4. Autoimmune Reactions

Common Symptoms of Prostatitis

  1. Pain or discomfort in the pelvic area
  2. Frequent urination
  3. Difficulty urinating
  4. Painful ejaculation
  5. Lower back pain
  6. Fever and chills (in acute bacterial prostatitis)

Managing Prostatitis

  1. Acute bacterial prostatitis is often treated with antibiotics.
  2. Chronic bacterial prostatitis may require a longer course of antibiotics.
  3. For chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, treatment focuses on managing symptoms, such as pain relief and lifestyle changes.
  4. Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis may not require treatment unless other prostate issues are present.


Your prostate health matters, and taking care of it is a proactive step toward a healthier future. Regular check-ups and screenings can help detect issues early, offering you the best chances for successful treatment. So, if you haven't already, consider scheduling a check-up. Click here to book a test today.

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