As we wrap up June, we also close out Men’s Health Month. Men’s Health Month is a time to raise awareness for conditions that affect men, as well as promote general wellness for longer and healthier lives. According to Cleveland Clinic, 82% of men try to stay healthy to live longer for friends and family who rely on them, yet only 50% engage in preventative care. Preventative care is an essential part of maintaining good health, and checking in regularly with your urologist is a great place to start.
1. Get Regularly Screened for Prostate Cancer
One of the serious conditions found amongst 1 in 8 men is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer begins in the prostate gland, which is a small, walnut-sized organ that is a part of the male reproductive system. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and can be present for years without exhibiting symptoms. This is why having an annual appointment with a urologist is crucial to allow men to be regularly screened for prostate cancer, leading to early detection and treatment of the cancer.
Prostate cancer screening often involves a blood test, measuring a man’s prostate specific antigen (PSA). PSA is a substance made by the prostate, and elevated PSA levels may be an indicator for prostate conditions, including prostate cancer. Physicians also can perform a digital rectal exam to evaluate the physical health of the prostate gland. Men are encouraged to be regularly screened for prostate cancer once they have reached the age of 50, and age 45 for those with a family history.
2. Prevent Kidney Stone Formation
If you have experienced kidney stones, the chances of developing new stones increase if no subsequent lifestyle changes are made. Frequent kidney stones form when composites of minerals crystallize and bind together. They can either deposit and stay in the kidney, or pass into the ureter and cause urinary obstruction, pain or infection. Common causes include dehydration, dietary choices and recurrent urinary tract infections. If you experience kidney stones, it’s important to come up with an appropriate regiment with your urologist to prevent future stone formation. Checking in regularly with your urologist allows you to ensure your kidney health is in good shape, and that you can continue to live a comfortable lifestyle.
3. Take Control of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is an issue many men are not comfortable discussing, but they should know that 30 million men in the U.S. experience ED. ED is the decreased ability to obtain or maintain an erection. Things like increasing age, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, low testosterone, and stress/mental health issues are all factors that could lead to a higher risk of having ED. There are multiple ways to address ED with your urologist, such as behavioral changes, medications, injection therapies, urethral suppositories and penile pumps. A penile implant is also a surgical option available to men. Your urologist will be able to walk you through each of these options to decide what makes the most sense for your health and for your lifestyle.
4. Check the Status of Your Swimmers
While trying for a family, 10% to 15% of U.S. couples find themselves unable to conceive, experiencing infertility. Infertility is defined as the inability for a couple to conceive a pregnancy after one year of appropriate timed intercourse. Approximately 50% of infertility may be attributed to males. Possible causes include hormonal problems, blockages, tumors (in the testicle or pituitary gland) or genetic causes. Your urologist will be able to help you find answers to why conception has been difficult, and explore different avenues for family planning.
5. Learn About Male Birth Control Options
If you have reached the point in your family planning journey where you are considering a more permanent form of birth control, your urologist can help you. Many think of women’s health when they think of birth control, but a vasectomy is a birth control option for men. A vasectomy is a procedure that creates sterilization (inability to have children) in a man. During the procedure, the two vas deferens are blocked in order to obstruct the flow of sperm out of the testicles.
The vasectomy procedure is typically performed under local anesthetic (numbing medicine) in a doctor’s office or procedure clinic. The procedure typically takes 15-30 minutes and recovery is only a few days, but slightly longer for the return to more strenuous activity and exercise. While a vasectomy should be considered a permanent form of birth control, it may be possible to reconnect or unblock the vas deferens, allowing the return of sperm to your ejaculate, in a vasectomy reversal procedure. It’s important to carefully evaluate if a vasectomy is the right path for yourself and your family; your urologist can help you navigate the options that will best fit for your life.
Stay diligent about your health every month – not just Men’s Health Month. Find a MidLantic Urology location near you at www.midlanticurology.com, and click here to learn about more urologic conditions.