Men are notorious for their tendency to clam up about health worries, let alone get themselves along to their GP.
This unwillingness is even more pronounced when the problem’s a bit embarrassing. We talked to some men about their top health worries, and suggest what to do about them.
“I’ve noticed the beginnings of a beer belly and my chest has man boobs rather than ripped muscle. Gone are the days when I could eat or drink pretty much anything I wanted and not put on weight,” says Phil, an IT consultant.
A sedentary office lifestyle, expense account dinners, and a hectic social life can result in the pounds creeping on almost unnoticed. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet, get plenty of exercise that you enjoy and keep consumption of alcohol, with its extra-fattening calories, within recommended guidelines.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
Every man we spoke to mentioned worrying about a cardiovascular condition: high blood pressure, heart disease, deep vein thrombosis or stroke. Overall, men are more likely than women to develop heart disease at some point in their lives, more likely to develop CVD at an earlier age than women, and a heart attack is a real fear for many men.
There are several things you can do to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease: If you smoke, give up. Get your blood pressure checked, and keep it under control; maintain a healthy weight, watch what you drink and get regular exercise - any aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming or cycling helps keep your heart healthy.
Erectile dysfunction (ED)
This is the inability to get – or keep – an erection that’s hard enough for sex. ED affects 4.3 million men in the UK*, so you are not alone.
Remember, it’s a medical condition: there’s not enough blood flow to the penis for a man to get an erection or maintain it long enough for sex. It’s a sensitive issue, and you may worry that it’ll be embarrassing to talk about it with a medical professional. ED can be a sign of something more serious such as diabetes or heart disease, so bite the bullet and see your pharmacist or doctor for advice.
There are products that can help. VIAGRA Connect® is available without prescription from pharmacies and it helps to increase blood flow into the penis. You take a single dose in pill form about 60 minutes before sex and the effects last for up to four hours. You can even order VIAGRA Connect® online from a registered online pharmacy (after completing a short questionnaire to see if it’s suitable) if you’re uncomfortable having a face-to-face discussion with a pharmacist.
“I had no idea I could get an over-the-counter medicine for ED,” says Brian, a construction worker. “This will make a real difference to many men [who have ED].”
*Men reporting occasional and frequent difficulty getting or maintaining an erection [ref. Kantar TNS Omnibus Survey Dec 2010 – in a survey of 1,033 men]
Your testicles are precious things, to be protected, and to be taken to the doctor immediately if you detect a change in texture or shape, a lump or painless swelling in either of them. Know what’s normal for your testicles by checking them regularly so you can get to your GP as soon as possible if something’s not right. “Testicular cancer is treatable,” says Nish, a nurse. “It’s just that us guys dread the initial examination by our GP. We’ve got to get over that.”
“The thought of the doctor sticking a finger up your bottom to check your prostate is probably worse than the thought of prostate cancer itself,” says Den, a firefighter. Don’t be embarrassed - a brief digital examination by your doctor can reassure you and may save your life. If you have any of these symptoms make an appointment to get it checked – medics have seen it all before.
‘Male menopause’ or midlife crisis
“In our late 40s to early 50s, some of us panic that we’re halfway through our lives, and what have we got to show for it?” says David, a mechanic.
You may find yourself in a demanding career that’s no longer fulfilling, or have ageing parents, teenagers, relationship or money worries, and your good intentions about exercise, diet, drinking or smoking have slipped.
All these factors can cause anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness, erectile dysfunction and low mood that’s sometimes referred to as the male menopause. Your GP is your first port of call to assess your mental and physical health and recommend appropriate treatments or therapy.
VIAGRA Connect® 50mg film coated tablets. Contains Sildenafil. For erectile dysfunction in adult men. Always read the leaflet.For more information on ED and VIAGRA Connect®, visit viagraconnect.co.uk.