Even in today’s “Age of Information,” men remain much more reluctant to visit their doctor than women. This news rings true for a number of reasons, but ranking highest on the list has something to do with the ‘Macho Male’ idea. Frankly put, men strive to appear strong, tough and fearless as society has really dictated they be. Sometimes, in order to protect this persona, these “manly men” are brushing aside symptoms that might be detrimental to their health. Their “grin and bear it” attitude can be putting their health at risk. In fact, a new study revealed that this ‘Macho Man’ mentality keeping men out of the doctor’s office could be a reason why men are dying up to 5 years earlier than women. Below are a handful of common male symptoms and what they might be trying to communicate to the man in your life:
1. Erectile Dysfunction: Also known as “ED,” though an annoyance and damper on a healthy sex life, this condition may be an early warning sign of a more serious condition – heart disease. The blood vessels become clogged with fatty deposits, and blood isn’t able to flow as freely as it should. The vessels leading to the penis are the smallest, so they become clogged up the quickest. This could be the underlying reason why an erection is difficult. Research shows that a middle-aged man with ED has a 50% greater chance of suffering a heart attack in the next 10 years. For this reason alone, early detection & treatment is essential.
2. Frequent Urination at Night: If your man is taking frequent trips to the bathroom at night, an enlarged prostate (Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy) may be to blame. The prostate gland, closely resembling a walnut, is located under the bladder, and if it grows bigger it can press against the bladder, affecting urination. This can manifest as pain or difficulty urinating as well as urgency. Typically, this condition is benign, but it is best to rule out prostate cancer, which can be done through a simple blood test and/or biopsy with an expert urologist.
3. Change in Libido: A lack of sex drive may not seem like a major medical crisis. Yet it can be indicative of a hormonal imbalance, in which the testicles are not producing enough male hormones. This can in turn lead to problems with fertility. Another key sign that the hormones may be out of balance is a lack of the ability to smell. No matter how they’re presenting, it is best to get to the bottom of these symptoms as soon as possible, especially if family planning is on the horizon.
4. Lump in Testicle: A palpable lump in the testicle is the most well- known sign of testicular cancer. This particular cancer occurs most commonly in men 20-35 years of age; however, it is also the most treatable when detected early. Keep in mind, not all lumps and bumps are caused by cancer. In the case that a lump is discovered, it is always best to err on the side of caution and have your doctor take a look.
5. Blood in Urine: Due to the fact that this condition is typically painless, it is often overlooked. Though it is true that kidney stones, bladder infections, and other conditions may be at the root of this ailment, blood in the urine remains the most common sign of bladder cancer. Lower back or abdominal pain, frequent urination, or recurring urinary infections are also signs to be on the look-out for.
For a man, being able to recognize these symptoms may be easy, but taking the necessary steps to make it into the doctor’s office is where many guys fall off track. This is why it is just as important for women to be aware of these issues. Being able to recognize certain symptoms and in turn encouraging the men in your life to seek medical help is imperative to early detection and prevention of some major and sometimes life-threatening health problems.
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