Gentlemen, don't be coy about looking after your vitals!
There is so much on women's health and the ways in which it can be safeguarded. Not wishing to leave the men in the dark about their own particular health issue, I've been urged to now write about these. Although I don't propose to be an authority on men's health, as somebody who's married to one I do feel that it's important for me to be as equally aware as my beloved another half should be in terms of what to watch out for and how to maintain it. This is especially as many men can often be notoriously prone to trying to brush things off and putting on a brave face when things are a bit suspect on the old health front and especially about any problems that concern the old front itself (i.e. the nether regions and waterworks for those who are finding it difficult to read between the lines here.) Now I must say at this point that despite the title this article goes past the ‘how to get a killer six-pack' and ‘how to keep her satisfied' ones that are more the domain of glossies devoted to men's health because let's face it, there's no point any man attempting either of those things if all is not well with their reproductive system which in turn plays a key role in a man's overall wellness. So let's get down to the nuts and bolts so to speak.
Prostate health has become more common knowledge in recent years partly because of the dramatic rise in numbers of prostate cancer (the second most common cancer diagnosis in Australian men after skin cancer) and the subsequent urging of health practitioners to have regular checks as necessary. Like many women's cancers, it can be curable if detected and treated early enough.
The prostate gland itself produces the fluid that carries sperm and is located around the base of the bladder. This is often why the urge to urinate more frequently yet with only a weak stream (particularly at night) presents itself when there are problems in this area. Besides cancer the other main problems that can occur include prostate enlargement and prostatic inflammation (or prostatitis). Be aware of symptoms including painful urination, painful ejaculation, pain in the lower abdomen or in the penis shaft, fever.
Nutritionally some simple effective ways to help protect the prostate include drinking cranberry juice and around 8 glasses of filtered water a day plus eating foods that:
- are high in zinc (oysters, pumpkin, seeds, nuts)
- are high in natural Sulphur (almonds, garlic, onions, and shallots)
- are soy-based
- contain Omega 3 (sardines, mackerel, salmon) and 6 oils (flaxseed, and evening, primrose, oil)
The testicles produce male sex hormones and sperm and are one part of the male anatomy - being outside the body and unprotected by neither muscle nor bone - that can be particularly vulnerable to a nasty injury. It is absolutely essential to seek urgent medical advice when injured in this department, but to guard against injury or any other testicular problems becoming aggravated (including a bacterial infection called epididymitis testicular torsion whereby the spermatic cord becomes twisted, cutting off blood supply and varicoceles which is when veins in the scrotum swell):
- use protective equipment when playing sports
- use a condom to reduce the risk of STD which can cause havoc in this area
- get into the habit of self-examining so that any abnormalities may be detected early
- see your doctor promptly if you experience any pain or notice any lumps or swelling
A witty piece of word-play that conjures up notions of men going through a similar physical and emotional change as their female counterparts, hot flushes ‘all. Not so. The female menopause is markedly different in that it signifies the end of a woman's reproductive function something that men don't usually experience in the same abrupt way. During the mid-life years, women's oestrogen levels decrease dramatically. Although not as pronounced men can also experience a drop in testosterone levels at a similar point in their lives and this can lead to fatigue mood changes loss of libido and muscle strength. but be mindful that these can also be indicative of other conditions such as depression, cardiovascular diseases and some lung disease. An appropriate medical examination and blood tests should be able to identify what the case is when there is a deficiency in testosterone.
In a nutshell, then men should be encouraged to take a vested interest in their own mechanics and must feel able to talk straight with their family or doctor and seize the bull by the horns when it comes to men's health matters so that any further discomfort and embarrassment can be avoided.
Written by Cassandra Duell