As Father’s Day approaches, help encourage the important men in your life to take charge of their urologic health. The best way to do this is by making prevention a priority. This month, cheer him on with these 3 easy-to-follow steps:
Drink water – This is one all of us should follow. The kidneys function as a sort of filter for the blood, removing waste and excess fluid and turning it into urine. When you urinate, you are essentially eliminating all of these waste products from your body. To keep urine flowing normally and to avoid any blockages, having an adequate intake of water is important. The body loses about 10, eight-ounce cups of water a day, so replenishing it is vital to keeping your system functioning properly. Drinking enough water can also prevent the buildup of certain minerals that can form sometimes painful kidney and bladder stones. One cup of water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is a great way to refresh your system and kick start it for the day. Though it may seem easy, remembering to drink enough water can be tough for most people, especially when you aren’t necessarily thirsty. But remember, once you feel the sensation of thirst, your body is already dehydrated- so consuming regularly throughout the day is best. As a general rule of thumb, aim for 6-8 glasses of water per day.
Learn how to do TSE- TSE stands for Testicular Self-Exam and should be done by every man on a monthly basis to check the testicles for any abnormalities. It’s important to establish a baseline of what feels normal, so your guy will be able to notice any changes if they occur. Most often, a lump on the testicle is the first sign of testicular cancer, or sometimes one testicle may become swollen or larger than the other. Recognizing these changes as soon as they occur increases the chances of early detection if there is a medical issue. A TSE should always be part of a general physical exam but since most of us aren’t at the doctor’s office every month, it’s important to conduct self-exams on a regular basis. The best time for a TSE is after a bath or shower. Gently hold each testicle between the thumbs and fingers of both hands, and roll it gently between your fingers. Look and feel for any hard lumps, smooth rounded bumps, or any change in the size or shape of the testicles. Contact your doctor immediately if you come across any abnormalities.
Limit salt intake - Salt is abundant in many foods (especially those that are processed) that we are sometimes not aware of. Canned soups, frozen meals, lunch meats, hot dogs, and sausages are top offenders. When the body consumes too much salt, the kidneys aren’t able to maintain a proper salt/water/mineral balance. Kidney stones and bladder stones are much more likely to form from excess mineral buildup. A high-salt diet is also linked to increased blood pressure, which if left untreated may lead to kidney damage. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day. Limit processed foods and always check food labels to ensure your sodium intake is within the appropriate range.
By following these easy tips, your guy will be one step ahead of the game when it comes to his urologic health. Though we all can manage our urinary health at home, it is still important to get a yearly physical exam and to also see a urologist if the man or men in your life experience any of the following symptoms: hematuria (blood in the urine), infertility, lump in the testicle, elevated PSA, abnormal prostate exam, or a kidney abnormality. Simply being educated and taking action in preventative urologic health can be your first and strongest line of defense.