What is Men’s Health?

Men’s Health encompasses many different areas of health. This includes the balance between mental, physical, sexual, and emotional well-being. Oftentimes men ignore their own health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), men across the world live an average of 4.4 years less than women. This is regardless of race or geographic location.

It is important for us to proactively focus on the specific problems facing men to allow for both increased longevity and improved quality of life. At HTX Urology, Dr. Dhir has years of expertise in Men’s Health, and welcomes patients for a personalized assessment.

Sexual Health

Low Testosterone (Hypogonadism)

Hypogonadism refers to a decrease in the testosterone production in the testicles. This could either be due to a problem in the testes themselves, or there could be a problem in the hypothalamus or pituitary gland in the brain.

Symptoms of low testosterone include fatigue, depressed mood, decreased libido or sex drive, loss of muscle mass, increased fat deposits, and breast development (gynecomastia). If you are suffering from low testosterone it is easy to diagnose with several blood tests. Dr. Dhir offers multiple treatment options that are both safe and effective for most men, including testosterone injections and bio-identical testosterone pellets .

For more information on low testosterone and how we can help treat it please, click here.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability to achieve or sustain an erection of sufficient firmness during sexual intercourse. As men get older, sexual problems can become more common. Exercise and healthy behaviors are the best way to prevent erectile dysfunction, whereas smoking, obesity, and chronic medical conditions (heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea) are likely to worsen the problem.

Some medicines, including anti-depressants, diuretics, and beta-blockers, can directly cause erectile dysfunction. The treatment for ED depends on the specific cause. It is a treatable problem with options including medications, injection therapies, and surgery. Dr. Dhir is a pioneer in non-surgical Wave Therapy which is curative and restores strong erections in most men. For more information on erectile dysfunction and treatment options click here.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are typically caused by bacteria or viruses and are passed from person-to-person during sexual contact with the penis, vagina, anus, or mouth. These infections include gonorrhea, chlamydia, human papilloma virus (HPV), herpes, syphilis, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS.

Men often do not have symptoms but can still be infected if proper protection was not used with a partner that carries the infection. This can cause lifelong health problems and could be passed to other sexual partners. It is important to get tested if you begin to have problems such as painful urination, frequent urination, penile discharge, penile pain, anal or genital itching, sores or warts on the genitals after sex, or new blisters around the mouth. It is also important to get tested if you have new or multiple sexual partners.

Fortunately, gone are the days where painful cotton swabs being stuck in uncomfortable places are used to test. At HTX Urology, a simple urine sample and fingertip blood sample is adequate to quickly diagnose STIs using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. Results are back in 24-48 hours.

Male Infertility

Infertility refers to the inability of a couple to have a child after one year of frequent, unprotected sex. Around 50% of infertility cases involve both a male and female factor. Infertility specific to a male issue occurs when sperm production is deficient, if sperm carries abnormalities of morphology (shape) or motility (movement), or if the transmission of sperm is blocked on its way out of the body.

Other common medical problems can also cause male infertility. This can be frustrating to experience, and a consultation with Dr. Dhir is critical for diagnosis and treatment. For more information on male infertility and its treatments, click here.

Physical Health

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular diseases are a large group of problems that include heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, and blood clots to name a few. These are some of the most common diseases and men are at higher risk based on genetics and lifestyle.

Prevention of cardiovascular disease is essential. Men should focus on a diet low in saturated fats and high in fiber. Smoking cigarettes is a major cause of cardiovascular disease and death and should be avoided. It is also important to get 15 to 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise daily to keep the heart and blood vessels healthy and strong.

Aside from prevention, a yearly physical with a primary care doctor is important, even if you feel healthy. Yearly checks on cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure could uncover warning signs of deteriorating cardiovascular health.

Respiratory Disease

Respiratory diseases are a group of problems that affect the lungs. They include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and pneumonia. Since men are more likely to smoke cigarettes or work around chemicals and fumes, they are at higher risk with increasing age in comparison to women.

If you are working around dirt, dust, chemicals, or sprays it is important to wear the appropriate protective equipment around your nose and mouth to keep particles from getting into your lungs. If you are having trouble breathing, coughing, chest pain, fevers, or weight loss, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor.

Preventative Care

The best thing one can do to keep themselves healthy is to prevent problems from starting. This is much easier said than done. There are several problems that are specific to men that must be addressed.

Smoking

Compared to women, men are more likely to start and continue smoking tobacco. For many men, smoking is habitual and very difficult to stop. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, dipping tobacco, and vaping all come with different risks but can be attributed to an increase in heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, bladder cancer,
and autoimmune disease.

Second-hand smoke, air pollution, and chemicals can also cause damage to the lungs. Depending on when a man quits smoking, he can add 4-10 years to his life. Smoking cessation is difficult, but there are medications and behavioral techniques to help. Speak with your primary doctor for more information.

Diet & Exercise

Eating right and maintaining a healthy weight is the best way to prevent chronic health conditions like diabetes, coronary artery disease, sleep apnea, and many cancers. Try slowly replacing pre-packaged and processed food products with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, high-fiber foods, and lean meats.

It is important to limit foods high in saturated and trans fats, and foods with added sugar and sodium. In our increasingly sedentary culture, we rarely get the amount of physical activity our bodies require. Exercise can control your weight and lower your risk for most chronic disease. It only takes 15 to 30 minutes per day for your physical activity to benefit your health.

Prostate Health

The prostate is a walnut sized gland found in the male urinary tract between the bladder and the penis. As men get older, they are at risk of this gland enlarging causing urinary problems, and also for developing prostate cancer.

The American Urological Association (AUA) has issued several recommendations for men who should be screened for prostate cancer. Men under 40 should not be screened for prostate cancer. Men ages 40 to 54 should not be tested unless they are African American or unless someone in their family had prostate, breast, ovarian, or pancreatic cancer.

Men ages 55 to 69 should receive routine screening for prostate. Finally, men over the age of 70 years old should not regularly be checked for prostate cancer unless their life span is estimated to be longer than 10-15 years.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. Symptoms of BPH include weak stream, urgency to urinate, or going frequently during the day and night. For more information on BPH click here. There are many ways to treat these bothersome symptoms – click here for more information.

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer accounts for about 1% of all tumors in men but it is the most common solid cancer in men aged 15-35 years old. For more information on testicular cancer click here.

Screening for testicular cancer is important, and every male should perform self-exams once a month in the shower looking for abnormal growths or lumps.

Those at higher risk for testicular cancer include men with a history of undescended testicles (cryptorchidism), those with conditions that promote abnormal testis development (e.g. Klinefelter’s Syndrome), or a family history of testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is a very treatable disease; schedule an appointment with Dr. Dhir if something is not normal on your self-exam or if you feel you are at high risk.

Mental Health

Stress & Anxiety

While men and women both suffer from stress, they tend to handle it in different ways. According to the American Psychological Association, men are less likely to seek help for their problems and are less likely to have physical symptoms of their stress.

Instead, men are more likely to drink alcohol or turn to substance abuse to relieve their stress. Finding healthy coping mechanisms is important, such as going for a walk, listening to music, reading a book, or spending time with family and friends.

Substance Abuse & Addiction

Substance abuse is the regular pattern of harmful use of a substance for mood-altering purposes. This includes illegal drugs but also a wide array of legal drugs and alcohol. Alcohol is actually the most commonly abused substance, and men are twice as likely to suffer from alcoholism than women.

Drugs and alcohol can negatively affect a man’s entire body. If you are struggling with these problems, you should immediately discuss this with your primary care physician.

Suicide

Suicide is the 13th leading cause of death globally. It disproportionately affects men in comparison to women. Men are at a greater risk of dying from suicide because they are more likely than women to attempt to kill themselves using a high mortality method.

It is most important to notice the risk factors for suicide including depression, anger, hostility, irritability, and suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know is suffering from these symptoms, it is important to contact a primary care physician immediately.