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Men's Health Week Preview: Top 5 Questions Men Are Afraid to Ask Their Doctors

Jun 12, 2018, 08:05 AM

For many men, going to the doctor is the last resort. Once men finally get themselves to the doctor, they may be afraid to ask questions they consider embarrassing. Health is more important than pride, but if you’re afraid to ask some of those awkward questions, here are some of the answers you may be looking for:

1. Do All Men Experience Erectile Dysfunction?

Not being able to get an erection can be embarrassing, but it’s more common than most men believe and happens to men of all ages. Around five percent of men have erectile dysfunction (ED). If ED only occurs occasionally, it’s likely not a serious problem. ED can be caused by a variety of factors, including the intake of drugs, alcohol or performance anxiety.

Dr. Grant Peterson, an internist at UnityPoint Clinic - Internal Medicine in Ankeny states, “Many men experience erectile dysfunction at some time in their life. One study of a large group of men shows that eight percent of men aged 20-30, and 37 percent aged 70-75, have ED. Additionally, between the age of 18 and 59, 31 percent of men reported sexual dysfunction at some time. ED is a disease of the blood vessels, and often a warning sign for other blood vessel issues, such as heart disease. Many of the risks for heart disease--smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes--are the same risks for ED. There are treatments that work for ED. Looking for and changing these other risk factors can help to improve and extend a patient's life.”

2. Is Constipation Something to be Worried About?

Generally, being a little backed up is not something to worry about. Constipation can be caused by a variety of different things, including:

  • Medications
  • Poor exercise habits
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of fluid intake

Eating a balanced diet, exercising, drinking lots of fluids and not ignoring your urge to poop can help remedy constipation. 

However, chronic constipation can be a sign of much more serious health conditions. The American Cancer Society states that a change in bowel movements that lasts longer than a few days can be a symptom of colorectal cancer. Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, can cause constipation because the condition slows down the normal processes in the body. Depression similarly slows down the body’s functions, which can also have a negative effect on the bowel and cause constipation.

3. Why is There Blood In My Urine?

Difficulty urinating, a burning sensation or pain, or blood in urine could be signs of various things.

  • Infections. Having blood in your urine can be a sign of several different kinds of infections. A bladder infection can occur in men and is the result of an enlarged prostate, kidney stones or narrowing of the urethra. Urinary tract infections are another cause of blood in a man’s urine. Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria entering the body through the urethra and the bacteria multiplying in the bladder. 
  • Something more serious. Blood in urine should be a red flag for men. It could be an early sign of bladder cancer or possibly a sign of prostate cancer in its advanced stages. Having difficulty urinating or frequent urination can also be a sign of prostate cancer. Blood in a man’s urine can also be an indicator of kidney disease. 

Even if blood only appears in the urine once, make an appointment with your primary care provider immediately to discover the cause.

 

4. My Hairline is Receding, What Can I Do?

It’s not an uncommon symptom in men to have a receding hairline as they age. Male pattern baldness is related to a man’s sex hormones and genes. A man’s hair will begin to recede at the hairline and work its way backwards. The hair will eventually become thinner and shorter. It doesn’t mean a man has to sit down and take it! Action can be taken against a receding hairline. There are three treatment options for a receding hairline: minoxidil, finasteride and hair transplants.

  • Minoxidil. This form of treatment is more commonly known as the hair product Rogaine. Rogaine slows down hair loss and will help some men grow new hair. If a man suspends the use of minoxidil, hair loss will return. 
  • Finasteride. This treatment comes in the form of a pill. Finasteride interferes with the production of a form of testosterone that is linked to baldness. It will slow down the progression of hair loss and is slightly more effective than minoxidil. If a person stops using finasteride, hair loss will return. 
  • Hair transplants. For severe receding hairlines, a hair transplant may be an excellent option. Hair is taken from an area of thick growth and surgically placed in bald areas of the scalp. Hair transplants usually result in hair growth within several months. For the best results, more than one treatment session may be required. Unlike minoxidil and finasteride, a hair transplant is permanent. 
 

5. Is It Normal to Sweat This Much?

Sweating after hitting the gym or being outside on a hot and humid day is normal. However, excessive sweating can be due to something a little more serious, like a disorder of the sympathetic nerve system or sweat glands. Excessive sweating can affect the hands, underarms, face and other parts of the body. This amount of perspiration is known as hyperhidrosis. A person with hyperhidrosis may sweat when he or she is not being active or even when the temperature is cool. If a man is diagnosed with hyperhidrosis, it can be treated with several different options, like strong antiperspirants, medication, surgery or botox.

Ask The Doctors at UnityPoint

Men, don’t be afraid to talk to the experts at UnityPoint about your health needs. Our skilled team can answer your questions and develop a care plan customized specifically for you. There is no need to feel embarrassed; make an appointment today!

 
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