Men's Health Concerns
We all know someone who has suffered from a disease of the heart or blood vessels and as the leading cause of death for American men, it’s probably been on your mind. Fortunately for us there are a lot of things we can do to improve the health of our hearts. A healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and staying away from tobacco will all help to keep your heart healthy.
To keep your heart and circulatory system running smoothly, follow a few simple rules:
1. Keep Track: Keep track of your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. If you aren’t sure about how these are doing go see your medical doctor for a physical.
2. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet: Investing in foods with low salt, less added sugars, and no trans fat will reduce the amount of stress your heart has to deal with in the long run. Fill up with plenty of fiber and water to help keep cholesterol and blood sugar levels balanced.
3. Move: Your body was made to move and your heart needs exercise like every other muscle. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly and muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days each week. If you have known heart disease or heart symptoms go get checked out by your doctor first and your doctor and therapist will help you find the safest way to get started with exercise. Otherwise, just get out and move.
4. Stay Away From Tobacco: If you smoke, quit. If you don’t smoke, stay away from it. Second hand smoke and vaping or e-cigarettes are all just as bad as actually smoking, so avoid them too.
5. Control The "Controllable's:" Heart disease can seem a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be if you control the controllable's in your life. Exercise and eating a well balanced diet can go a long way in keeping your heart healthy. If you think you may need a little help or if you aren’t sure, come see your Men’s Health specialist. Your heart and your family will thank you.
If you or a loved one are having urinary changes or pain in your pelvis then your prostate and the muscles and fascia around it should be on your prime suspect list. The prostate is responsible for some of the semen that comes out during ejaculation. It sits right below your bladder and wraps around the top of your urethra (the tube that you pee from). It normally starts out about the size of a walnut and like our ears and noses, it tends to get a little bigger the older we get.
BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)
It is possible for your prostate to get too big and start to pinch your urethra, making it harder for urine to pass through it. This can cause a slowed flow, difficulty starting a stream, or a stop and go pattern of urinating. This can be uncomfortable and can lead to kidney or other bladder issues. So far, there isn’t much evidence to link BPH to increased risk of prostate cancer. BPH is usually treated with methods to relax the part of the bladder right above the prostate or with surgery. Your doctor may recommend medication or therapy to help relax the bladder. Depending on your case, sometimes surgery is needed to open up the upper urethra or remove a part of the prostate.
Burning pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen that is correlated to urine or sexual function is considered a sign of possible prostatitis. Prostatitis simply means an inflammation of the prostate, often caused by an infection. True bacterial prostatitis is usually easily treatable with medications like antibiotics. If you are having pain in that area and have had changes in urine and/or sexual function, the chances are it isn’t actually bacterial prostatitis. We know now that most often this pain is coming from other tissues near the prostate (usually pelvic floor muscles or fascia) and can usually be taken care of by a Men’s Health Physical Therapist.
When we hear the word “prostate” prostate cancer is often the thing that comes to mind for most of us. About 1 in 8 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lives. The good news is that most of us will beat it and those odds are getting better all the time. Prostate cancer starts when cells within the prostate, usually the gland cells that take part in producing semen, start growing out of control. Eventually, these cells can spread to other parts of the body and grow there as well. Cancer treatments are varied and if you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer we recommend you learn as much as you can about treatment options and have a real heart to heart with your urologist and/or oncologist to determine the best treatment strategy for you. Cancer treatments are usually very successful, but can have other effects on your body including urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and ejaculatory changes. Coordinate with your Medical Doctor and Physical Therapist to have a pelvic floor screening before any prostate treatment or surgery to check for proper pelvic floor function. Follow up with your Physical Therapist after treatment as soon as you are cleared to optimize urinary and sexual recovery.
If you would like to learn more about prostate cancer the American Cancer Society has some great information on their website:
It is totally normal for men to have some changes in their sexual function over time and it is not uncommon for this to cause concern for you or our partner. I’ll try to cover a few basics here to help you know if you need to be worried and what you can do about it when you aren’t happy with the changes. You won’t find a lot of information here about what is considered “normal’ for frequency of sex, duration of sex, etc. The experts have found that satisfaction in sex is extremely subjective, meaning how happy you are with your sex life depends more on your individual preferences than the numbers. If you want to have a happy sex life, the most important factors will be confidence in yourself and strong communication with your partner.
Most men will have some occasion where they want to have an erection but can’t. There are a lot of factors involved in not being able to achieve an erection and if it is an isolated incident it’s nothing to worry about.
If you are having consistent difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection then that may be a sign of dysfunction. If your difficulty having an erection is interrupting your relationships or personal satisfaction then it is time to come get a little help.
It is estimated that about 20% of men will have erectile dysfunction (ED), and it gets more likely as you get older. ED affects sexual function but can also be a sign of underlying medical conditions like heart disease or diabetes. If you are noticing changes in your erection, make sure to get it checked out.
The most effective treatments for ED depend on the cause, but some of the most common treatments are a type of drug called PDE5 inhibitors (Viagra, Cialis, etc), testosterone replacement, and Physical Therapy.
Premature ejaculation is the term used to describe having a hard time controlling ejaculation and ejaculating within two minutes of insertion during sex. PE is a little hard to study, but it is believed that somewhere around 5% of men in the US are experiencing chronic PE. This may happen from time to time with any guy, but if it is a pattern and is bothering you or your partner, you should know that there are some ways to help this.
Premature ejaculation can be thought of in one of two ways:
Lifelong premature ejaculation, meaning this is how your ejaculations have been ever since you began having sex.
Acquired premature ejaculation, meaning this is something that has changed over time.
If you are experiencing drastic changes in your ejaculation cycle, it is a good idea to see your MD as this can be a sign of other health changes.
While there are a lot of pharmaceutical options for PE, the first recommended treatment is to get into a psychological or behavioral therapist who specializes in sexual health. A lot of people who are troubled by PE have found behavioral therapy to be more effective and have fewer side effects than medications.
Common pharmaceutical options include a topical numbing cream that is placed on the penis just prior to sex or SSRI (antidepressant) medications.
At some point in your life you may have experienced pain in or around your groin. This is common in both adult men and women and can be caused by a lot of different things.
Pain during or after sex can be a sign of muscle dysfunction or other physical problems, an infection or inflammation, or simply due to stress. The good news is that pain during sex is very treatable and it is not something that you have to live with. For many men this can be an uncomfortable conversation to have with a partner or healthcare provider, but when you are ready to have that conversation know that help is here.
Painful sex can be caused by a lot of things and a Pelvic Therapist, Urologist, or Proctologist can help you navigate the right pathway to find out what is causing your pain and how to get rid of it to return to normal pain-free sex.