Contrary to the ‘man flu’ myth, statistics show that men visit their GPs far less frequently than women, and this can have grave consequences. It is believed that over 100,000 men die prematurely in the UK every year because of a failure to report changes in health to a medical professional.
Read on to learn about five health conditions that warrant an immediate visit to a doctor, but please keep in mind that they aren’t the only symptoms worthy of professional attention – it is important to remember that pain, the inability to carry out a normal function, or unfamiliar physical sensations are your body’s cues that something may be wrong.
If you experience burning or general difficulty urinating it could be a sign that your prostate is enlarged. These symptoms could point to chronic disease including prostate cancer – the most common male cancer in the UK. An enlarged prostate can press against the urethra, so any trouble passing urine is call for a quick visit to your doctor.
The inability to achieve or sustain an erection can be caused by a number of different factors, including certain medications, psychological issues and recent surgery. It can also, however, be a symptom of an undiagnosed circulatory or neurological illness.
Although most men will experience erectile dysfunction (ED) at some point in their lives, if it continues to happen it is cause for concern. During a consultation your GP will ask questions to determine whether you are at risk of heart disease, hypertension or diabetes and whether your ED could be a symptom of one of these conditions. You can also find out if certain lifestyle habits such as smoking or a poor diet are making you impotent. Correction of these habits can relieve ED and allow for a much longer, healthier life.
Lumps in Testicles
Although most testicular lumps do not turn out to be cancer it’s important to have them checked, as testicular cancer is one of the most common cancer diagnosed in men aged 20-35; with close to 2,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Any abnormality you encounter, whether it’s a swelling or lump, should be reported immediately so that you can be screened.
Changes in Moles
Most people have lived with their moles their entire lives, and know what they normally look like, but it is important to check them carefully in order to notice any changes that may occur. These could be an indication of melanoma, the aggressive skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body.
Remember to inspect any moles that may be in hard-to-see places, such as the upper and lower back, or the backs of your legs.
Moles that undergo any change in shape or colour should be seen by your GP and removed if necessary. Keep an eye out for bleeding edges and moles that begin to hurt or itch. While most changes are simply due to increased pigmentation, they could nevertheless be symptomatic of something requiring professional attention.
Ups and downs are of course a part of life, but if you find yourself less interested in or motivated by activities that you would normally enjoy, or if you experience feelings of disconnection or prolonged sadness, you should consider checking in with your GP.
Although depression can affect every aspect of our daily routines, it often goes ignored, unreported and untreated. This is especially true in men, who are statistically far less likely to seek help than women – yet the condition is highly treatable, with counselling, self-help and medication all recognised as offering essential relief to sufferers.
Symptoms such as those mentioned above, and/or feelings of low self-esteem, guilt, irritation, or an apparent inability to make simple decisions, should all warrant a visit to the GP before it develops into something more serious.
The very nature of depression can make seeking help more difficult than with other conditions, but when viewed – correctly – as simply another illness for which your GP can provide assistance, a positive and simple outcome may be no more than a phone call away.
It is important to check in with your GP regularly to improve your overall wellbeing, but particularly if you experience symptoms of the conditions listed here. Pay attention to your body and what it is telling you, and take note of any changes in your wellbeing, as virtually all illnesses benefit from early detection.