The Top Health Concerns for Men and What to Do About Them

Friends,,Fitness,And,Exercise,With,A,Senior,Man,Group,Outdoor
Friends,,Fitness,And,Exercise,With,A,Senior,Man,Group,Outdoor

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13.2% of American men over 18 are in poor or fair health. They also face higher risks for serious health conditions like cancer and heart disease, and are more likely to die five years earlier than women.

June is National Men’s Health Month, and with Father’s Day approaching, it’s the perfect time to focus on the well-being of the men in our lives. Keep reading to explore:

  • The top health concerns for men, their symptoms, and prevention and treatment options
  • Lifestyle interventions for optimal wellness
  • Tips for finding the right health specialist

Top health concerns for men

Here are some of the most common health risks specific to men, and what you can do about them.

Heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men, contributing to one in every four male deaths in the United States. This may be due to:

  • Smaller blood vessels than women
  • Larger hearts compared to women
  • Lower levels of estrogen, a hormone that provides some protection from heart disease in premenopausal women

Other common risk factors contributing to heart disease in men include:

It’s imperative that you see your healthcare provider for regular blood pressure and cholesterol screenings. But some lifestyle modifications can also help:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Following a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and monounsaturated fats like olive oil
  • Exercising regularly

Inguinal hernia

This condition occurs when part of the intestine protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. 

Due to thinner abdominal tissue, inguinal hernias are significantly more common among men–affecting 25% compared to only 2% of women. They may be triggered by:

  • Aging
  • Straining
  • Other health conditions 

Inguinal hernia symptoms include:

  • A bulge in the groin area
  • Discomfort or pain, especially when bending over, coughing, or lifting

Strengthening the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles with regular exercise can significantly reduce your risk of hernias. However, weight-lifting with poor form can cause hernias. 

So build your strength gradually, and use proper lifting techniques (such as lifting with your legs, not your back) to avoid injury. 

If you notice signs of a hernia, call your healthcare provider immediately. You may, unfortunately, need to consider surgery.

Reproductive health issues

Men face unique sexual health problems, including erectile dysfunction (ED), which can significantly impact mental well-being and quality of life.

For some, ED can happen with age. In fact, one study found men aged 50-59 are over three times more likely to have ED than those aged 18-29. Other potential causes include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Lifestyle choices, such as excess alcohol consumption

ED symptoms typically include:

  • Trouble getting or maintaining an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire

Conventional treatment for ED involves oral medicines like Sildenafil (Viagra), which increase blood flow throughout the body. While effective, these medications don’t come without risks. 

Side effects can include:

  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden hearing or vision loss

So why not opt for safer, natural strategies? These lifestyle habits can help prevent and treat ED:

  • A healthy, balanced diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Ginseng supplements, which also improve blood flow
  • Acupuncture, which increases circulation and supports hormonal balance 

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men–and the second most common type overall–affecting approximately one in eight males. 

Your risk increases significantly with age, but other factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Hormonal factors, namely high levels of testosterone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) 
  • Diet and obesity, especially high intake of animal fats and red meat
  • Exposure to toxins like cadmium

Prostate cancer is typically asymptomatic until it’s progressed. At that point, you might notice:

  • Burning or pain while urinating or ejaculating
  • Frequent urination
  • ED
  • Blood in urine or semen

Conventional treatments can be highly effective–but early detection is key, so if you’re over 50, make sure you’re getting regular prostate exams. If prostate cancer runs in your family or you’re of African American descent, experts recommend starting these exams at age 45.

Related:   How to Cope with Hair Loss for Men

While researchers are still studying specific preventive methods for prostate cancer, regular exercise may help. One study even found that improving physical fitness could lower your risk by 35%.

Testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is somewhat rare, but it’s the most common type among men aged 15-35. It typically begins in the germ cells, which produce sperm within the testicles.

Some men with testicular cancer never experience symptoms. Those who do, however, may notice: 

  • Swelling or lumps in testicles
  • Heaviness or unevenness in the scrotum
  • Pain in the back, lower abdomen, testicle, or scrotum
  • Enlargement or tenderness in breast tissue
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

If you notice any of the above symptoms, contact your healthcare provider right away.

While there’s no definitive method to prevent testicular cancer, early detection through self-exam is critical. 

Depression

Studies suggest that one in nine men will be diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) at some point in their lives. 

However, males are diagnosed at half the rate of females–and, sadly, they die by suicide three to four times as often. This may be because men are less likely than women to recognize, talk about, and seek treatment when feeling depressed.

Classic signs of depression include:

  • Despondency
  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Weight changes
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating

However, many men suppress their emotions due to societal conditioning. Rather than noticing the above symptoms, you may experience other signs that can make it harder to recognize MDD, such as:

  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Substance abuse

Remember: depression is not a sign of weakness. If you suspect that you’re depressed, consider implementing these practices:

  • Exercise at least 20 minutes a day, three days per week to release endorphins that boost mood and reduce stress.
  • Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Build and maintain social connections to prevent feelings of isolation. 
  • Avoid processed foods, excess sugar, and alcohol to minimize systemic inflammation, which experts have linked to mood issues.
  • Employ relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, meditation, and/or yoga to reduce stress and anxiety. 
  • Consider therapy to learn tools to manage stress and cope with challenging emotions.

Fungal infections

Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, is a contagious foot infection commonly contracted in public places where many people walk around without shoes, such as gyms or swimming pools. Symptoms include:

  • Dry, flaking, cracked or bleeding skin
  • Redness
  • Intense itching or burning
  • Pain when walking

Men are more likely to get athlete’s foot than women, particularly between the ages of 16 and 45. Some contributing factors are:

  • Excess sweating
  • Footwear (for instance, work boots)

The most effective methods to prevent athlete’s foot are:

  • Keeping feet dry and clean
  • Wearing breathable shoes 
  • Avoiding walking barefoot in public areas like gym showers

If you notice any of the above symptoms, use a safe, natural remedy like tea tree oil, a naturally antifungal essential oil. 

Simply dilute a few drops in a carrier oil–such as olive oil–and apply to the affected area with a cotton ball multiple times a day until symptoms subside.

Additional Men’s Health Month tips

In addition to the condition-specific strategies mentioned above, here are some of the best health tips for men to nurture a longer, more vital life.

Load up on vital nutrients.

As discussed above, a whole-foods, anti-inflammatory diet is critical for various aspects of your health. But beyond focusing on fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, consider supplements to support your well-being, such as:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids for heart, brain, and reproductive health
  • Vitamin D for mood, hormonal balance, and even sexual wellness
  • Magnesium for heart, mental, and reproductive health, as well as muscle strength and energy levels

Vary your exercise routine.

You’ve read that working out is vital for many bodily systems. But try different types of exercises, including:

  • Cardiovascular: Activities like running, cycling, and swimming support heart health and overall fitness. Shoot for at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous cardiovascular exercise each week.
  • Strength training: Lifting weights or practicing other resistance exercises helps maintain a healthy metabolism while preventing injuries. It also boosts natural testosterone production, which supports men’s reproductive health, energy levels, and muscle growth.
  • Yoga: This ancient practice can improve flexibility, support sexual health, build strength, and boost blood flow while combating anxiety and depression.
Related:   Guys, what to do about leaking, dribbling and urgent bathroom dashes!

Limit alcohol and tobacco.

Compared to women, more men drink regularly (68% of males, as opposed to 64% of females). And according to multiple studies, men also tend to drink more often and more heavily. 

Additionally, more than three in ten men smoke, compared to fewer than one in ten women. Experts have linked both of these habits to serious health issues, including depression and cancer.

Limit your alcohol consumption to two drinks per day, and if you smoke, utilize resources to help you quit. Cutting back on or eliminating these habits will significantly boost your health and longevity.

Make time for fun.

Enjoying life is an essential and often-overlooked piece of the well-being puzzle. Studies show partaking in activities you enjoy can substantially alleviate stress and improve your mental health. 

Whether you prefer playing sports, reading, gardening, or any other hobby, make more time for fun and relaxation this Father’s Day–and every day.

Practice preventive care.

Research suggests that one reason men have greater mortality rates and disease risks than women is they’re less likely to see a doctor regularly. This can result in late diagnoses of preventable or treatable conditions.

Take control of your health by scheduling annual physical exams. Your healthcare provider will suggest specific screenings depending on your age, vital signs, and presenting symptoms.

Tips for finding the right healthcare provider

Having a good relationship with your healthcare provider is integral for disease prevention and successful treatment. Here are some tips for finding the right specialist for you.

  • Determine your needs. Reflect on your medical history, health goals, and preferences to decide whether a family doctor, internist, naturopathic doctor, or other specialist would be the best fit. 
  • Ask for recommendations. Referrals from friends, family, or other healthcare providers can help you find the right person for you–with less guess work.
  • Check online reviews. Take reviews with a grain of salt. But they can still give you an idea of what it would be like to work with a healthcare provider. Look for recurring themes–both positive and negative.
  • Verify credentials. Make sure healthcare providers are board-certified in their specialties. Check credentials through the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) website.
  • Visit the office. You can always visit a doctor’s office to evaluate the cleanliness and professionalism of the staff. Pay attention to how comfortable you feel.
  • Analyze communication styles. Having a healthcare provider who listens to you and explains things clearly is paramount for maintaining good health as well as understanding and recovering from any condition. Don’t be afraid to switch doctors if you feel your first choice isn’t a good fit.

Take advantage of this Men’s Health Month to incorporate the lifestyle tips explored above, and schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to address any symptoms and detect early warning signs before they become serious problems. Taking these steps now will help you pave the way for a brighter, healthier future.

References:

FastStats – Mens Health

The Contribution of Specific Causes of Death to Sex Differences in Mortality – PMC

No man’s land: men, illness, and the NHS – PMC.

Inguinal Hernia

Worldwide magnitude of inguinal hernia: Systematic review and meta-analysis of population-based studies.

Risk Factors for Inguinal Hernia among Adults in the US Population | American Journal of Epidemiology | Oxford Academic

Pelvic floor and abdominal muscle interaction: EMG activity and intra-abdominal pressure

Related:   Natural Approaches to a Healthier Prostate

The male disadvantage in life expectancy: can we close the gender gap?

Clinical Review: Inguinal hernias – PMC

Erectile Dysfunction – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf

Erectile Dysfunction Is a Hallmark of Cardiovascular Disease: Unavoidable Matter of Fact or Opportunity to Improve Men’s Health? – PMC

Erectile dysfunction prevalence in the United States: report from the 2021 National Survey of Sexual Wellbeing

Long-term safety and effectiveness of sildenafil citrate in men with erectile dysfunction – PMC

Alternative medicine and herbal remedies in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: A systematic review

Traditional Chinese medical therapy for erectile dysfunction – PMC

Physical Activity to Improve Erectile Function: A Systematic Review of Intervention Studies – PMC.

Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2022 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association

Why do men get more heart disease than women? An international perspective

Sex differences in coronary heart disease and stroke mortality: a global assessment of the effect of ageing between 1980 and 2010

Gender differences in coronary heart disease – PMC

Premenopausal Reproductive Health Modulates Future Cardiovascular Risk – Comparative Evidence from Monkeys and Women – PMC.

Elevated Cardiovascular Risks among Postmenopausal Women: A Community Based Case Control Study from Nepal – PMC

Cardiovascular risk factors of hypertension, smoking and obesity: Emerging concerns among Pathan and Persian young adults? – PMC

Impact of Lifestyle Modifications on Cardiovascular Health: A Narrative Review – PMC.

Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer.

Cancer Stat Facts: Common Cancer Sites.

Prostate Cancer Screening – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf

Increase in annual cardiorespiratory fitness by 3%+ linked to 35% lower prostate cancer risk | BMJ.

Risk Factors for Testicular Cancer: Environment, Genes and Infections—Is It All? – PMC

Testicle Cancer – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf

What Is Testicular Cancer? | Types of Testicular Cancer | American Cancer Society

Selection of men for investigation of possible testicular cancer in primary care: a large case–control study using electronic patient records – PMC

Symptoms of testicular cancer – NHS

Risk Factors for Testicular Cancer: Environment, Genes and Infections—Is It All? – PMC

Gendered Manifestations of Depression and Help Seeking Among Men – PMC

Men and Depression

Depression – National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Dietary inflammatory potential and the incidence of depression and anxiety: a meta-analysis | Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition | Full Text.

Effect of omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Benefits and Endpoints in Sport – PMC.

The health effects of vitamin D supplementation: evidence from human studies | Nature Reviews Endocrinology

Vitamin D and Male Erectile Function: An Updated Review – PMC.

Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions – PMC

The Interplay between Magnesium and Testosterone in Modulating Physical Function in Men – PMC

The effect of magnesium supplementation on muscle fitness: a meta-analysis and systematic review

Physical activity for health – PMC

Exercise for Prevention and Relief of Cardiovascular Disease: Prognoses, Mechanisms, and Approaches – PMC

Various Factors May Modulate the Effect of Exercise on Testosterone Levels in Men – PMC

Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training – PMC

Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health

Male reproductive health and yoga – PMC

A Scoping Review: Is Yoga an Effective Intervention for Erectile Dysfunction and Premature Ejaculation? – PMC.

Overview: Athlete’s foot – InformedHealth.org – NCBI Bookshelf

Tinea pedis: an updated review – PMC.

Treatment of interdigital tinea pedis with 25% and 50% tea tree oil solution: a randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded study.

Who smokes more, men or women? – Our World in Data

Do smoking habits differ between women and men in contemporary Western populations? Evidence from half a million people in the UK Biobank study | BMJ Open

Time Matters Differently in Leisure Experience for Men and Women: Leisure Dedication and Time Perspective – PMC

Association of Enjoyable Leisure Activities With Psychological and Physical Well-Being – PMC

Author
Carrie Solomon

Carrie Solomon is a freelance health writer, web copywriter, and passionate wellness enthusiast. She’s on a mission to help wellness-focused companies everywhere educate, engage, and inspire their audiences to make the world a healthier, happier place. Learn more about her at copybycarrie.com or on LinkedIn.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*