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Men's Health: Sexual Health


Sexual desires and activity aren’t static. They change throughout life for lots of reasons, such as having children, coming to terms with sexual orientation, or physical or mental illness. Growing older can also have an effect on sex, but it’s important to realize that this is normal.

Talking about sexual health contributes its own dynamics for a person and within a relationship. Men tend to not be comfortable discussing their sexual health. They may joke around with it when they are around their male friends, but are they really asking the right questions or expressing their experiences to make their friends provide support or guidance? Very rarely. Add to that the personal relationship with a partner. In a perfect world partners would speak openly about their want, desires, likes, and dislikes. But that doesn’t always happen either. (source)

With that said I figured we could use a laugh so enjoy the video.


The following information was provided by the Men's Health Library

Erectile Dysfunction/Impotence 
The most widely-accepted definition of erectile dysfunction  (ED)  is the inability of a  man to  get  or  maintain  an erection  sufficient for his sexual needs or the needs of his partner. ED is incredibly common – most men have it briefly at some point in their lives. But for as many as 30 million men in the United States, ED is a chronic condition. 

Although ED becomes more common with age, men of any age can suffer  from  it.  Sadly,  they generally refuse to  discuss  it with either their partners or their health care providers. As a result, men feel embarrassed and women often feel that the man in their life doesn’t find  them attractive.  So if  you  want to make love and your  husband says he  has a  headache,  pay attention: it might be something far more serious. 

About  70  percent of  the time,  ED  is caused by an underlying health problem, most often diabetes (as many as half of all men with diabetes suffer from ED). ED may also be caused by kidney disease,  high blood pressure,  high cholesterol,  and drug or alcohol abuse. The remaining 30 percent of cases are caused by stress, anxiety, depression, or sometimes the medications used to treat those conditions. 

In most cases, whether ED is caused by a physical or psychological problem, it’s treatable, which means that it doesn’t have to be a natural or inevitable part of growing older. Treatments include drug therapy, penile implants, vacuum devices that manually create erection, injections, or other alternatives. Your loved one should talk to his health care provider to determine the most appropriate treatment.

Testosterone

Testosterone  is  the  most  important  hormone  for  the  normal  growth and development of male sex and reproductive organs. It’s  responsible  for  the  development  of  male  characteristics  such as body and facial hair, muscle growth and strength, and deep voice. Normal levels influence sexual function and pro-duction of sperm, and promote a healthy sex drive. 

Men’s  testosterone  levels  naturally  decrease  as  they  age.  But  if  the  levels  drop  below  the  normal  range  –  whether  be-cause  of  age,  injury  to  the  testicles,  pituitary  gland  or  hypo-thalamus,  or  a  genetic disorder  –  some  uncomfortable  and  often distressing symptoms may develop, including: 

*Diminished interest in sex
*Regression of secondary sexual characteristics, such as facial hair and deepening of the voice
*Impotence or erectile dysfunction
*Depression
*Fatigue

As  many  as  six  million  men  may  suffer  from  testosterone deficiency,  often  associated  with  a  condition  called  hypo-gonadism,  but  only  five  percent  are  being  treated.  Left  un-checked for too long, this condition is linked with significant, long-term  health  problems,  such  as  loss  of  muscle  mass  and  even osteoporosis. Fortunately, though, testosterone deficien-cy is usually very treatable. 

Treatment  can  take  the  form  of  testosterone  replacement  therapy, which helps provide and maintain normal levels of tes-tosterone. Men should ask their health care providers whether testosterone replacement therapy is appropriate for them.

Prostate

The  prostate  is  a  walnut-sized  gland  that  manufactures  fluid  for semen. It’s located just in front of the rectum, an area of the body that men are often embarrassed to talk about. 

Prostatitis is a significant health concern for men. While the causes of prostatitis are not well-understood, it is believed that the condition may be caused by a bacterial infection or an inflammatory autoimmune response similar to that seen with allergies and asthma. Symptoms may include a discharge, dis-comfort,  pain  in  the  prostate  or  testicles,  or  frequent  urina-tion. A physician should be consulted for the proper treatment. 

The prostate naturally enlarges as men age. Early effects of this  growth  (called  BPH  for  benign  prostatic  hyperplasia) include painful urination or difficulty starting or stopping the stream of urine. Left untreated, BPH can lead to more serious problems, such as urinary tract infections, bladder and kidney damage, kidney stones, or incontinence. As symptoms of BPH may  be  a  signal  of  prostate  cancer,  men  should  consult  their  physician to discuss diagnosis and treatment.

Prostate  cancer  is  the  most  common  cancer  in  men.  Ev-ery  year,  over  230,000  men  are  diagnosed  with  this  disease,  and approximately 30,000 die. But if caught early, through ei-ther a digital rectal exam (DRE) or a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, this disease is often treatable. 

In the early stages, prostate cancer usually causes no symp-toms.  However,  as  the  disease  develops,  so  do  the  red  flags.  Men  should  notify  a  health  care  provider  immediately  if  they  notice any of the following: 

*Hip or back pain 
*Difficulty urinating 
*Painful or burning urination 
*Blood in the urine 

Every man should consider a baseline prostate-specific an-tigen (PSA) and DRE at age 40.  He should know his number so that he can compare it with his PSA number at his next check-up.  Additionally, African Americans, men with a family histo-ry of prostate cancer, and men exposed to Agent Orange should consult with their health care provider about yearly PSA tests and DRE exams beginning at age 40. 

Treatment  options  for  prostate  cancer  generally  in-clude removal of the prostate (prostatectomy), radiation, hormone  therapy,  immunotherapy,  or  cryosurgery.  Men  with localized, low-risk prostate cancer might choose ac-tive surveillance, closely monitoring the cancer to see if it progresses  or  becomes  aggressive,  to  determine  if  treat-ment  is  needed.  Options  and  the  possible  side  effects  of  treatment  should  be  discussed  with  a  urologist  or  other  specialist.

Testicular Cancer

Cancer of the testicle is the most common cancer in men ages 15 to 35.  Although it can’t be prevented, thanks to im-proved treatments and diagnostics, testicular cancer, like prostate  cancer,  has  a  very  high  cure  rate  if  caught  early.  Early detection is a key to success. Symptoms include: 

*Lumps or enlargement of either testicle 
*A feeling of pulling or unusual weight in the scrotum 
*Pain or discomfort in the testicle or scrotum 
*Dull ache in the lower abdomen 
*Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts 

The  best  way  to  spot  testicular  cancer  is  by  doing  a   self-examination.   Unfortunately,   too   few   boys   and   young men know that they should examine their testicles monthly,  even  fewer  know  how  to  do  these  exams,  and  too many feel uncomfortable touching themselves “down there.” So ask your loved one whether he knows how to do a testicular exam. If he doesn’t, encourage him to speak to his  health  care  provider  about  the  proper  way  to  do  one.  

You may also visit the Men’s Health Library (see “Helpful websites” section of this brochure) and download the tes-ticular  cancer  brochure,  which  illustrates  the  self-exam  method.

In general, men have poorer health habits and a shorter life expectancy than women. 

This  may  be  because  they  are  more  likely  to  engage  in  unhealthy  behavior,  and  are  less  likely than women to adopt preventive health measures. But men’s health issues don’t affect only men – they have a significant impact on their  family  and  friends,  too.  The  conditions  we’ll  be  talking  about  in  this  brochure  can  influence  everything  from  sexual  and  marital  relations to quality and length of life. Unfortu-nately, a lot of these issues – particularly the ones  having  to  do  with  sex  or  masculinity  –  are very hard for men to talk about. 

Here’s where you come in...

By  encouraging  the  men  in  your  life  to  take  even  the  smallest  symptoms  seriously  and  discuss them with their health care providers, you’ll be helping them take a more active role in  their  own  health  care.  And  by  educating  yourself  about  sensitive  men’s  health  issues  and passing that information on to your loved ones, you may also be able to save a life. 

Are you paying attention Professor?



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