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All About Health Issues that are Specific to men only -min Men's Health Issues

Health & Wellness

Health Focus— What Health Issues are Specific to Men Only?

We are constantly bombarded with tips for living a healthy lifestyle. We are reminded of how important it is to eat right, get enough sleep, drink water, and exercise. These are all good principles for staying healthy, but learning to cope with specific health issues or to understand the risks that we face in terms of specific diseases can be a bit trickier.   Public service announcements come in waves. Sometimes the focus is on skin cancer, sometimes the risks of drinking alcohol, for example. When it comes to men's health, there some issues that are specific to men (such as male reproductive issues), and some health issues where men may carry a greater risk or may require a specific type of treatment. We describe a few of these in our general guide to men's health, but male-specific diseases are something that is worthy of further discussion.1 [post-carousel /]

What Health Issues Are Exclusive to Men?

There are a few health conditions which affect men specifically or at a much greater frequency, including: 2
  • Alport Syndrome
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Prostate cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Erectile dysfunction

Alport Syndrome

Alport syndrome is a disease which affects the kidneys, ears, and eyes. While it is not exclusive to men it is worthy of mention because it is far more common in men. The disease is hereditary and is passed along the X chromosome. Since women have two X chromosomes, this means that they would need to inherit two 'faulty' copies of the gene. Men have only one X chromosome, so if they inherit the Alport gene then they will develop the condition.3

Male Pattern Baldness

Male pattern baldness is a form of hair loss that some men suffer from, which appears to be hormone related. While some hair loss is normal as a part of getting older, some men experience it at a younger age. The good news is that it can be treated with drugs such as finasteride, which promote hair growth and regulate DHEA. Most men who suffer from male pattern baldness develop it under the age of 40, and with some, it can occur under the age of 30.4 Some people turn to essential oils such as rosemary or lavender to help to promote hair growth and slow down age-related balding.5 Topical use of essential oils can be quite helpful for some types of hair loss.

Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a small gland that is located near the pelvis, and that is found only in males. Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in men, and it is one that tends to be asymptomatic until the prostate becomes enlarged enough that it begins to put pressure on the urethra.6 If prostate cancer is caught early, then it can usually be successfully treated. For this reason, it is important that men go to their wellness exams and have regular check-ups with their doctors, and that they seek advice if they are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
  • Difficulty urinating
  • A feeling that the bladder hasn't fully emptied after going to the toilet
  • An urgent/more frequent need to go to the toilet
These symptoms are not always a sign of prostate cancer, but they are a sign that you should get your prostate checked out. Some people experience these symptoms if they have an enlarged prostate, and that enlargement can be benign (non-cancerous). Getting checked out will give you peace of mind, and your doctor will be able to recommend other ways of managing the condition if necessary. Most cases of prostate cancer occur in men who are over the age of 50, but it can affect younger men too, so seek advice if you notice any change in your bathroom habits.

Testicular Cancer

The testicles are male reproductive organs. Testicular cancer is another common male cancer, and it tends to primarily affect men between the ages of 15 and 49.7 Women are told to examine their breasts regularly to check for breast cancer lumps, however awareness of testicular cancer is comparatively poor. This cancer tends not to show symptoms early on, although some men may notice a feeling of heaviness or a dull ache in the scrotum. The first sign that gets noticed is a small lump or swelling (which may be no bigger than the size of a pea, although it can be bigger) in the testicles.   The good news is that testicular cancer is usually treatable using chemotherapy, as long as it is caught early on. Chemotherapy can have some unpleasant side effects, however, some of these, such as nausea, loss of appetite and anxiety relating to the treatment can be managed using aromatherapy, like MONQ’s Zen blend.8 It is important to note that aromatherapy is not designed as a 'treatment' in and of itself. Chemotherapy is still important. The use of essential oils is to improve quality of life during the treatment.

Erectile Dysfunction

Many men will experience erectile dysfunction at some point. There are many things that can cause erectile dysfunction, including low testosterone, stress and anxiety, and poor circulation, as well as other underlying medical conditions.9 Many treatments for erectile dysfunction center around simply living a healthy lifestyle to improve your cardiovascular health and therefore improve your circulation too. Other treatments focus on managing the psychological side of things. There is some evidence to suggest that essential oils such as rose oil can help with sexual performance.10 Essential oils could certainly be a good option for men who do not want to resort to viagra, and who want to try gentle remedies before going to the doctor to try other more complex treatments.

man talking about health with doctor

Managing Your Health

The above are just a few conditions that primarily affect men. There are other conditions which can affect both genders, and which can be quite serious. Depression, cardiovascular issues and diabetes do not discriminate, nor do health issues such as Alzheimer's.  It is important that you seek help from your doctor if you have any concerns about your health at all. Herbal remedies, supplements, and essential oils can be good for maintaining good health and treating minor, acute ailments but they are not a substitute for working with a qualified medical professional. The most recent statistics from the CDC show that when it comes to things such as drinking in moderation, maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough exercise, there is still a lot of work to do, with more than one-third of men failing to meet those targets.11 Men are less likely to seek medical advice than women, too, and this is something which could be putting lives at risk.12 Medical science has come a long way, and many of the ailments that we saw our parents and grandparents struggle through are treatable or even avoidable. There is no need to resign yourself to gaining weight as you get older, for example, and then struggling with back pain or knee pain as a result of that. We now know that with a healthy lifestyle and a sensible diet, age-related muscle mass loss can be kept to a minimum. Studies show that maintaining a good level of physical activity is a key part of aging successfully.13

Mental Health Matters

If you are struggling with anxiety, stress or depression, do not suffer alone. Men and women can both struggle with mental health issues, and it can be difficult for men to find the strength to open up and seek advice in the current climate where it is perceived that men need to 'be stoic'. If you are not at a stage where you are ready to seek counseling or therapy just yet, then look for other options such as exercise, meditation, mindfulness, and even aromatherapy or massage. For some men, playing a sport is a good way of letting off steam and can be positive for their mental health.  If you do need further assistance, consider contacting Befrienders Worldwide for advice.14 This is an international network of people who are happy to help those who are struggling with their mental health. Men's health issues are complex, but the good news is that we have a better understanding of health and wellbeing now than we did even a generation ago. The knowledge is out there to help people take good care of their bodies, and life expectancies have been climbing the world over. The human body is resilient and can cope with a lot. If you take good care of it, then it could serve you well for many more decades. If you make good decisions today, then you will be setting yourself up to be fit and healthy into your retirement, so that you can live life to the full. If you are planning on starting a family, or already have kids, then take good care of yourself so that you can enjoy the time that you have with them, and enjoy a long and fruitful life with your spouse. Photo credits: Magicmine/shutterstock.com, indigolotos/shutterstock.com, Korawatphotoshoot/shutterstock.com, sasha2109/shutterstock.com, EstradaAnton/shutterstock.com, GeorgeRudy/shutterstock.com

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