November is Men’s Health Awareness Month, so here, Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital breaks down the five key health issues and their symptoms which you simply can’t afford to ignore.
Men have a poor reputation when it comes to looking after their own health. On average, they see a GP half as often as women do, but British men are paying the price for neglecting their health, as more than 100,000 die prematurely every year. It’s important to be aware of changes to your health, and see your GP immediately if you notice something that’s not right.
Here are the top 5 things men need to look out for:
A lump on your testicle Testicular cancer is unusual in the fact that it most commonly affects younger people, aged 15 to 44. Over 2,000 cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK, and regular self-examination is recommended. If you notice a lump or swelling in your testicles, or feel a heaviness or dull ache in your scrotum, see your GP. Most testicular lumps are not cancer, but it is essential to have any abnormalities checked. Early detection gives you a much higher chance of a positive outcome.
Moles Check your moles regularly and be aware of any change in colour or shape, or if they start bleeding. Most changes are harmless and are due to a non-cancerous increase in pigment cells in the skin. See your GP if a mole looks unusual or becomes itchy. It can then be checked and removed if necessary. To minimise your risk of skin cancer, during the summer months, avoid exposure to the sun between 11am and 3pm. Cover up, and when you’re in the sun, use sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15.
Feeling depressed If you’re depressed, you may lose interest in things you used to enjoy. Depression is a real illness with real effects on your work, social and family life. Treatment usually involves a combination of self-help, talking therapies and drugs. Depression is more common in women, but men are far more likely to commit suicide. This may be because they are more reluctant to seek help. Financial stress, job insecurity and debt – not to mention the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 18 months – can all affect your mental wellbeing, but the simple act of talking to someone face-to-face about how you feel can be an enormous help.
Trouble urinating When the prostate is enlarged, it can press on the tube that carries urine from the bladder. This can make it hard to pass urine, which can be a sign of prostate disease, including cancer. In the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with more than 30,000 diagnosed with it every year. Other symptoms include pain or burning when you pass urine and frequently waking up in the night to visit the bathroom. If you have any of these symptoms, see your GP. The prostate gland is crucial to your sex life, so get to know your prostate and what can go wrong with it.
Impotence Most men encounter problems getting or keeping an erection (impotence) at some point, but you should see your GP if your erection problems last for several weeks. It’s not just your sexual health that could be at risk. Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, can be a sign of more serious conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. Generally, lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and exercise, can correct the problem, although some men may need medication such as Sidenafil (more commonly known as Viagra).
If you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms, the Consultant team at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital includes Urologists, Dermatologists and Clinical Psychologists, who can help. If you would like to book an appointment, call 0117 911 5339,or visit Nuffield’s website: www.nuffieldhealth.com/hospitals/bristol.