Men’s Reluctance to Visit the MD
And why it’s always best to err on the side of caution
Though it has gotten better, it remains true that men are usually more reluctant to visit the doctor than are women. This phenomenon is true for a number of reasons, but ranking highest on the list is often the ‘Macho Male’ principle. Frankly put, men strive to appear strong, tough, and fearless, as male culture has impressed upon them. In order to protect this persona, many men are brushing aside symptoms that may otherwise be detrimental to their health. But this “grin and bear it” attitude could be putting a man’s health at risk. 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. Here are a handful of common men’s health symptoms, what they could mean and why they deserve attention:
- Erectile Dysfunction: Also known as ED – though an annoyance and damper on a healthy sex life, this condition could be a sign of a more serious problem inside the body. In fact, ED can be an early warning sign of heart disease – when the 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 an underlying reason why developing and maintaining an erection becomes 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.
- Frequent urination during the night: If this becomes a problem, 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 may 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 or other conditions, which can be done through a physical examination, simple blood test and/or biopsy.
- 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 testosterone. This can in turn lead to problems with fertility. It’s best to nip these symptoms in the bud, especially if family planning is on the horizon for you and your partner.
- Lump in Testicle: Though a lump in the testicle is the most well- known sign of Testicular Cancer, it can be caused by other factors too. This particular cancer occurs most commonly in men 20-35 years of age; however, it is also the most treatable if 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 consult a physician to get to the bottom of it.
- Blood in Urine: Due to the fact that this condition is typically painless, it is often shrugged off as no big deal. Though it is true that kidney stones, bladder infections, and BPH 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 urine infections are also signs to be on the lookout for. But even without these additional symptoms, blood in the urine warrants a trip to the doctor’s office.
For a man, being able to recognize health symptoms may be easy, but taking the necessary steps to make it into the doctor’s office is where many 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 health problems in the future.