With today being International Men’s Day and this month being Movember, we wanted to give you a bit of useful information about Men’s Health.
First of all I’d like to introduce you to Samantha Evans our new resident Sexpert who will be creating monthly articles for us. Samantha has a special interest in sexual health having trained as a nurse, Samantha is now Company Director and features writer for Jo Divine. Welcome to the XC team Samantha.
Every hour, one man loses his life to prostate cancer, and over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. As the majority of cases are symptom-free and there is a limited amount of accurate tests for life-threatening forms of the disease, there are no UK-based national screening programmes.
While the disease mainly affects men over 50, men are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer if they have a family history of their father or brother having the disease. Black men have a 1 in 4 chance of developing the disease during their lifetime. Worryingly, 4 out of 5 men who are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer are unaware of the dangers and therefore do not seek the medical advice they need to reduce their risks.
Because existing diagnostic tests are not as accurate as they could be, diagnosing prostate cancer can be difficult. Also, the offered treatments might not be appropriate for the type of the disease as currently there isn’t a test to distinguish between malignant and benign forms of prostate cancer upon first diagnosis. Therefore, long-term health issues can occurr, such as sexual dysfunction from invasive treatments including surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. However, having the disease process monitored rather than treating it can lead fears that the disease will spread causing increased anxiety and depression.
A healthy prostate is a walnut sized semen storage gland, located below the bladder. When massaged, it can produce powerful orgasms and intense ejaculation. The ejaculation of stagnant prostate fluid can prevent swelling or enlargement of the prostate which may lead to surgical intervention. It can also cause urinary problems leading to sleep disturbance and erectile problems, which are both uncomfortable and distressing to a man and his partner, impacting on their sexual relationship.
If you are not sure whether or not you are at risk of developing prostate cancer or are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, seek advice from your GP who can examine your prostate gland by performing a rectal examination and establish your risks by asking about your family history and general health. They can advise you about reducing your risk of developing the disease by making lifestyle changes, such as eating healthily, taking regular exercise and regular prostate massage, as well as being aware of any symptoms which may indicate there is a problem with your prostate.
Men are often embarrassed talking about their sexual health, and may put off going to the doctor. However, it’s important to discuss any changes on your body, as testicular cancer is almost always curable when caught and treated early. Knowing what your testicles should look and feel like is the first step in keeping on top of your men’s health, and knowing how to check yourself will ensure that the warning signs will be noticed sooner.
Testicles are roughly the same size, but it’s common for one to be larger than the other or hang lower than the other. The testicles are oval in shape and contained in the scrotum, the sack of skin located below the penis. On examination, testicles should feel smooth and firm, without any lumps. However, you may be able to feel a tube like structure called the epidydimus, which is attached to the back of each testicle.
Also known as TSE, Testicle Self Examination is a way of making sure there aren’t any changes in skin texture. Although rare in teenagers, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men between 15-35 years, therefore making TSE a regular part of your life is important. Monthly checks are recommended, and you should seek medical attention as soon as you spot any changes.
The best time to perform TSE is after a shower or bath when the scrotum is more relaxed. Examine one testicle at a time by using both hands, gently rolling each testicle between your fingers. You can roll the testicles by placing your thumbs over the top and putting your index and middle fingers behind each one.
It is estimated that only 4 out of every 100 lumps found are cancerous. However, there are many other conditions that cause lumps and swellings, which can be easily treated. A varicocele is caused by enlarged veins in the testicles, and develops when blood collects in the vein instead of flowing properly, causing swelling. Varicoceles mainly occur in the left testicle, but can appear in both testicles at the same time. Occurring after puberty and affecting 1 in 5 men, the cause is unknown but may be genetic if a male relative has or has had the same condition. It is important to go to your doctor for treatment as early as possible as it can cause infertility.
Practising safe sex is also important for maintaining testicle health. Chlamydia can cause orchitis, an inflammation of the testicles. The infection may then affect the epididymis, the tube that carries sperm, resulting in epididymo-orchitis. As well as swelling, you may notice blood in your semen, penile discharge, or pain when urinating, and generally feel unwell. Orchitis can be treated with antibiotics, so make sure you see a doctor.
Thanks Samantha for this useful article. Having had two family members suffer from Prostate cancer I’m really passionate about men’s health and think it’s important us Guys know what to look out for and not to feel uncomfortable when discussing your health with anyone, whether it’s your partner or your doctor.
As with the last 7 years every November I’ve took to growing a Moustache for Movember with the hope of getting donations for the charities Movember supports (Prostate & Testicular Cancer Charities and Male Depression Charities). If you can spare some change and would like to donate to this worthy cause, please donate to my MoSpace here.