It’s said that, in general, men pay little attention to their health. We can’t confirm or deny that statement. But we’re well aware that volunteering for those uncomfortable and (let’s face it) often undignified medical checks is not easy. We’re here to help you testosterone-laden lads learn more about men’s health, and the symptoms you should look out for.
A lump in the testicles
In South Africa, one in 2000 men will suffer testicular cancer. Don’t let that seemingly low statistic fool you; no one wants to lose one of their buddies. Luckily, most testicular cancers can be detected early, in the form of a lump or swelling. Apart from the little bump at the back of each testicle where the epididymis (the tube through which sperm passes), your testicles should feel smooth and firm, not lumpy or hard. Our earlier blog https://floraforce.co.za/testicular-cancer-what-you-need-to-know/ has more intimate details.
Worried? Head for your healthcare consultant.
Trouble with the waterworks
Your bladder is full, you rush to the loo, and wait – and wait. Your internal plumbing seems to have gone on strike. It’s one of the most common complaints doctors hear from men.
The reason you’re having trouble weeing? Your prostate. This walnut-sized gland lies below your bladder. It grows as you get older, and can push against the bladder, making urinating difficult. It may not trouble you much at first, but when you’re heading to the loo three or four times at night, your general mood is not going to improve. And being unable to wait when the need to wee arises is another real issue (have you ever noticed that older men generally choose the aisle seats at the theater?).
If you suffer with any of the above symptoms, seek medical attention. While a prostate check is not a dignified procedure, it’s a vital one for virtually all men. Usually, an enlarged prostate does not signify cancer, although this form is the most common cancer in men. (And, if caught early, it can be cured.)
Erectile dysfunction (an inability to get an erection or maintain one) is common. Fifty percent of men over 40 have had trouble getting an erection at least once. But it’s a topic worth discussing with your healthcare professional as erectile dysfunction could indicate health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, high cholesterol or low testosterone. Remember too that smoking, alcohol and drugs may affect your ability (or lack of it) to perform.
Changes in bowel habits
Another problem in the toilet department is changes in bowel habits.
Be aware of what’s normal for you when you go to the toilet. Things will change a little if you change your diet, but take note of, and visit your healthcare professional, if you notice these warning signs:
- blood in your stools over a period of time.
- diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason.
- a feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet.
- pain in your abdomen (stomach) or your anus (back passage).
- persistent feeling of bloating.
- weight loss in combination with these symptoms.
Everyone has dark days. But constant depression is a mental health problem – it’s real and common, can be debilitating and may also affect heart health.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stresses such as work (or lack of it) issues, money, bereavement (losing a partner, a loved one, a job), facing retirement or the empty-nest syndrome, you need help. Symptoms of depression often include changes in eating patterns, mood swings, low self esteem, general anxiety, an inability to relax despite feeling tired and energyless, and withdrawing from family and friends.
And that’s a Red Flag alert. According to the UK NHS Men’s Health Forum, ‘men are far more likely to commit suicide than women and the vast majority of those men began by feeling down’.
Seek help – you’re not being weak; it’s the smart thing to do.
There are various types of heart disease, such as angina, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and congenital heart disease. Head to The Heart Foundation to find their symptoms.
It’s worth remembering the signs of a heart attack, though, so you can call for immediate assistance:
- Heavy pressure, tightness, crushing pain or unusual discomfort in the centre of the chest. It may feel as if you have indigestion. And the pain may spread to your shoulders, arms, neck or jaw and/or last for more than a few minutes. It may stop or weaken and then return.
- Feeling faint or short of breath.
- Rapid, weak pulse.
NOTE that a sharp stabbing pain in the left side of the chest is usually not heart pain.
What you can do to ward off worrisome health issues
The main men’s health threats are well documented, and may even be preventable. Eat healthily, exercise regularly, have regular medical checks, spend some time in nature, remember to laugh and don’t over-indulge in the things you know are bad for you. And we’ll say it again – quit smoking!
And don’t forget supplements. They can play a big part in protecting men’s health.
Saw palmetto helps ease prostate problems, allowing urine to flow freely. It works to maintain the correct balance of hormones in men, and helps improve libido. Flora Force Saw Palmetto is a potent, unadulterated formula for men’s health.
St John’s Wort is a well-known anti-depressant that reduces stress and improves the action of your brain’s natural tranquilizers.
Turmeric. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is an effective and safe therapy for mild depression, anxiety and stress. Curcumin is also indicated to reduce cholesterol levels and even help treat various forms of cancer.
There’s another little incentive to look after your heart with healthy habits and diet, and exercise. Everything that’s good for your heart is good for your penis too. ‘Clear, unblocked arteries mean firm, durable erections,’ says the Men’s Health Forum.
We’re with you in good health, always.
We’re with you in good health, always.
Acknowledgements & Photo credits
Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.
- CANSA. Men’s Health. http://www.cansa.org.za/mens-health/
- Heart and Stroke Foundation SA. http://www.heartfoundation.co.za/heart
- Symptom Watch: Easy things to watch out for that might be the sign of something more serious. 2015. Men’s Health Forum. https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/symptom-watch
- Testicular cancer – what you need to know and how to detect it early. November 2016. Flora Force. https://floraforce.co.za/testicular-cancer-what-you-need-to-know/
- Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay.com