International Men’s Health Week 2021 is being observed during June 14-20. There is a stigma and a sense of weakness and vulnerability associated with men seeking help regarding some of the health issues they are facing. The most effective way to reduce the stigma around men’s health is by speaking about it. We discussed some of the critical health issues men are facing with healthcare professionals.
Dr Sandeep, who is a dynamic Urologist and currently leading department of Urology, Renai Medicity Kochi, spoke about some of the common health problems men are facing.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia
The most common Men’s health problem in middle age is BPH (Benign prostatic hyperplasia). The risk factors include familial, metabolic diseases and obesity. BPH incidence increases with age.
Common symptoms are:
- difficulty in urination
- frequent urination
- pain during urination
- urinary incontinence
Recognition of the symptoms is very important. There is a tendency, in general, to attribute urinary problems to ageing. Many men tend to underplay symptoms or don’t care. Men with the above symptoms need to check with a urologist and get a proper evaluation.
If the above symptoms are visible then doctors commonly do a USG, Urine flow test, PSA and kidney function. There are very effective medicines called alpha-blockers for the same. In bigger prostates combination medical therapy is given. These medicines are very safe and intended to be used for the long term.
Indications for surgery are urinary retention, kidney dysfunction secondary to a prostate problem, bladder stones and bladder damage. Commonly used surgical modalities are TURP and HoLEP.
Another common problem in middle age is Erectile Dysfunction. The common risk factors are diabetes, hypertension, hormonal dysfunction, obesity, and smoking. ED should not be taken lightly as this might be a tip to cardiovascular disease.
The key to treatment is a proper evaluation to elucidate reasons for ED. Basic hormonal evaluation, diabetes evaluation, lipid etc needs to be done.
Several men are facing multiple other health issues amid the pandemic. Dr Santhosh Jacob, Head and clinical lead, Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports medicine, Post covid 19 rehab clinic, Chettinad Super Speciality Hospital, Kelambakkam, elucidated some of the major issues like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and alcoholism. He said that the overall activity has reduced and cardiac issues are increasing. And on top of this is panic anxiety resulting in a lot of sexual incompetence, which is causing a lot of family issues nowadays.
Whenever stress increases, all previous issues also come out. Anyone who has low backache, starts to have low backache, anyone with neck pain starts to have neck pain, they are unable to sleep. It becomes extremely difficult because unless one sleeps, the body is not going to recover. And unless one is tired, he/she is not going to sleep. So, it’s like a huge cycle.
Lifestyle choices that affect men negatively
People are eating late during the lockdown. Eating hours have been pushed close to sleeping by almost two to three hours. How healthy you are is related to your sleep pattern. Anybody who’s sleeping well is an extremely healthy person. There is a rhythm known as the circadian rhythm that correlates very closely with sleep. Studies have shown that when you wake up at sunrise you’re stimulated to do more activity.
There is physical self-assessment and mental self-assessment. There is a very simple way to assess mental health. You have to judge if you are laughing as much. Are you getting angry? Anger is a response. Anger is a reaction but laughter is your character. For physical fitness one should follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
Role of vitamins and supplements
Evidence shows that vitamin D3 is the only vitamin that reduces the incidence of respiratory infections in general. Vitamin C plays a very important role in the formation of collagen. Also, vitamin C is an antioxidant. It helps remove free radicals from the broken down parts of viruses and immune cells, which could otherwise create some symptoms in our body.
‘Osteo’ means bone and ‘Porosis’ means porous. The concern of osteoporosis is more in the younger generation who do not exercise when they are obese. The only difference between osteoporosis in men and osteoporosis in women is that it sets in men five to 10 years later than women.
Another important aspect of health is skincare. Dr Suresh S MBBS DVD, Skin Clinic Mannarkkad, Palakkad says men don’t spend a lot of time worrying about skincare. But in today’s time due to changed food habits, pollution and lifestyle change many men experience skin-related issues. Men should follow a custom skin-care routine that helps to protect, prevent and clear, healthy, youthful skin.
Include healthy and recommended skin and hair care products as suggested by the skin specialist. Accurate sleep & nutritious food plays an important role.
One thing you are going to wear all your life is your skin. So take care of it.