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What we have to say about your health and well being
Nov 2013
Movember and Mens Health
Men's Health The common problems and worries men may have are discussed. Sexual health Sexual health is an important part of being healthy. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) A sexually transmitted infection is an infection that is passed from one person to another through unprotected sexual contact. There are many different types of STIs Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK and is caused by bacteria. In most people, this infection has no symptoms. Some may have pain on passing urine, or a discharge from the penis. A short course of antibiotics clears the infection in most cases. Genital herpes. Symptoms range from minor soreness to painful blisters around the penis. Antiviral medication can help ease the symptoms when they develop. Genital warts are small lumps that develop around the penis or anus and are caused by a virus. Treatment includes applying chemicals to the warts. Gonorrhoea. Symptoms include a penal discharge. A short course of antibiotics clears the bacteria in most cases. HIV. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) affects the immune system. Over time, this can develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Long term treatment is with antiretroviral drugs, which support the body's immune system, but does not clear the virus. Getting tested If you are concerned, do not put it off. You can either make an appointment with your GP or speak to your Pharmacist. Chlamydia testing is also offered at some pharmacies. Conception and fertility Many couples believe that it is easy to become pregnant (conceive), and are often surprised when they are not successful as soon as they start trying for a baby. However, eight out of ten couples trying for a baby conceive in the first year of trying, and most generally do so within two years of trying. Improving your chances Ovulation predictor kits can help to predict when ovulation occurs in your partner. Having a healthy lifestyle by making sure you are both: At a healthy weight and not underweight or overweight Non smokers. In men smoking can reduce the motility of sperm. In women it can increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight or a premature birth Not drinking alcohol. Excess alcohol consumption in men can lead to reduced quality and quantity of sperm produced. In women, it can cause abnormalities to the unborn baby Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Erectile Dysfunction is the inability to get a good enough erection to achieve satisfactory intercourse. ED is very common and can occur for a variety of reasons. In younger men, this tends to be anxiety about having intercourse due to lack of experience. In men around their 50s, it is more to do with working too many hours and stress. In men in their 70s, it becomes more of a problem due to deterioration in the blood vessels which supply the penis. There are a number of conditions, which can also lead to ED: Diabetes can cause damage to the nervous system, which is part of the process of getting an erection. One in three men who suffer with diabetes will experience ED High blood pressure can lead to the deterioration of the blood vessels Being overweight Some prescription drugs can cause ED as a side effect If you think you are suffering from ED, speak to your Pharmacist or your GP. There are prescription medicines, which can help. Contraception There are various types of contraception available to avoid pregnancy: Ovulation preventing (contraceptive pill, injections, implants and patches) Physically preventing the sperm from reaching the egg (diaphragm, female and male condoms). Intrauterine Devices (IUD), which is inserted into the womb by a GP and stops the egg from implanting in the womb. Common conditions Hair loss Hair loss or male pattern baldness affects around 90% of men. Hair may start to disappear from the temples and the crown of the head at any time. This can start as early as late teenage years, but for most men this starts in the late 20s and 30s. It tends to be an inherited condition, but there are other reasons for hair loss such as an iron deficiency, underactive thyroid, stress, fungal scalp infection and some prescribed medicines. If you are concerned about loss of hair, you should speak to your Pharmacist or see your GP. Benign prostatic hyperplasia The prostate is a small gland in the pelvis that is found only in men. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) occurs when the prostate gland, which is normally the size of a walnut, enlarges and restricts the flow of urine from the bladder. Symptoms include: A frequent and urgent need to urinate, including during the night Finding it difficult to start to urinate, even though you need to go The urine stream is weak and only a small amount is actually passed Leaking or dribbling of urine Small amounts of blood in the urine If you are suffering with any of the above symptoms, you should not reduce your intake of fluid. As the early symptoms of BPH are the same as for prostate cancer, you should speak to either your Pharmacist or your GP about them. Cancer Cancer is a group of conditions where the body's cells begin to grow and reproduce in an uncontrollable way. These cells can then invade and destroy healthy parts of the body. Prostate cancer Most cases of prostrate cancer develop in men aged 65 or older. Prostate cancer normally causes no symptoms until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra. The symptoms can be similar to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), listed above. Symptoms that the cancer may have spread include bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles, and unexplained weight loss. Unlike many cancers it usually progresses very slowly, but early detection is still really important. It can take up to 15 years for the cancer to spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, typically the bones. Bowel cancer Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK. Symptoms include blood in your stools, an unexplained change in your bowel habits (such as constipation or diarrhoea over a long period of time), pains in the tummy that are severe and continual and weight loss. There are various factors that can increase your risk of getting bowel cancer. To reduce your risk of getting bowel cancer, you should: Take part in the screening programme when you are eligible Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day Eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day Increase your fibre intake Reduce your intake of red meat Stop smoking Exercise regularly Testicular cancer Testicular cancer primarily affects younger men (normally between the age of 20 and 50 years old). The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump or swelling in the testicles. Other symptoms may include a dull ache in the scrotum. Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable cancers. As with all cancers, early detection is important. Self examination can be done on a monthly basis in the following way: Complete the self examination when the skin of the scrotum is soft, such as while lying in a warm bath Examine the scrotum, feeling for any lumps on the skin or inside Gently roll the testicle between the thumb and forefinger to examine each one Bear in mind that one will always be bigger than the other, and hang a little lower. This is perfectly normal If you have any concerns, you should speak to either your Pharmacist or your GP. Skin cancer Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer among white populations, in the UK and worldwide. The best way to prevent against all types of skin cancer is to stay safe in the sun as follows: Apply minimum SPF15 sunscreen at least 30 minutes before exposure to the sun Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and after towelling and swimming Stick to the shade or cover up using a T-shirt, hat & sunglasses between 11am and 3pm Drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic drinks, as these will dehydrate you Avoid using sunlamps or sunbeds, as these can be more dangerous than natural sunlight. They use a concentrated source of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which increases the risk of skin cancer. Depression Depression affects 1 in 5 adults at some point in their lives. Symptoms include a lack of interest in things going on around you, feeling tired all the time yet not sleeping well, loss of appetite and weight and finding it difficult to make decisions and deal with everyday situations. Some of the options available to support you through this difficult time include: Talk about your feelings. This could be with a loved one, a close friend or a counsellor Speak to your GP about the possibility of using antidepressants Speak to your Pharmacist about the possibility of using St John's Wort, a herbal remedy Exercising makes the body release certain chemicals, which affect your mood and make you feel happier Try not to drink alcohol as this is a depressant. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables Stress Stress has become more commonplace over the years. Symptoms can include headaches, stomach upsets, sleep problems, obesity and high blood pressure, which can lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease. It can also cause feelings of anger, agitation, anxiety and short temperedness. The best way to deal with stress is to try one or more of the following: Manage your time effectively. Decide what is important to you and make that a priority. Take time for yourself. Have a relaxing massage, go for a walk, have a relaxing bath, do something that makes you laugh! Leading a healthy lifestyle Healthy diet A diet based on starchy foods such as rice and pasta, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, some protein rich foods such as lean meat, fish and lentils, and some dairy products (and not too much fat, salt or sugar) will give you all the nutrients that you need. The ‘eatwell plate' shows you how much of what you eat should come from each food group. Exercise Exercise can help you lose weight and lower your risk of developing major chronic diseases. It is recommended that you complete 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on five or more days a week to stay healthy. Even a little bit of activity can lower the risk of developing major chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers and type two diabetes, by up to 50%. It can cut the risk of premature death by 20% to 30%. The benefits of exercise include more energy, feeling less stressed, sleeping better, improved body shape and a sense of achievement. Useful links https://www.myhealth.london.nhs.uk/london-living/events/movember http://uk.movember.com/
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