Men often go through their day putting on a strong front in order to ‘serve and protect’ their family and loved ones. However, studies suggest that 40-60% of men worldwide experience health concerns including erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and fertility issues, but don’t speak to their doctor about them.
What advice would you give to men reluctant to see a specialist?
The first thing to understand is that sensitive male issues are like a flu or a cold – it’s the same thing. We see it as a common daily concern. See a urologist if you see symptoms. Second, there are better treatments available these days, compared to 10 years ago.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is a difficulty in getting or maintaining a satisfactory erection. There could be different factors involved – psychological, hormonal or blood flow. Usually it’s not an isolated sign or symptom. Your doctor can test for these, and any abnormality can be treated.
In some cases erectile dysfunction sufferers also say they have less motivation or concentration, so testosterone deficiency might be an issue.
How do you increase testosterone?
Testosterone is an important factor in our wellbeing and mood. Men become less depressed and less irritable if low testosterone is boosted.
We are now seeing more and more cases compared to a few years ago. It’s a huge increase – maybe Google or social media has something to do with it. It’s not always a sexual issue. Men sometimes say they need to focus more on their work, or they go to the gym and wish to increase muscle mass.
But sometimes men don’t need a testosterone boost. A blood test might show that testosterone might be abnormal but oestrogen might be high (we men also have a female hormone), so we shouldn’t boost testosterone. Also, men aged 30 and above shouldn’t boost testosterone before first checking their prostate. Second, we need to consider fertility. And third, it’s important to check haemoglobin first.
Who does low testosterone levels mostly affect?
We see all men of all ages, from as young as 17 or 18 to people in their 60s or 70s. Most patients are in their late 30s or early 40s, however. Younger people in their 20s can mostly overcome low testosterone – they have muscle and motivation.
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is one of the commonest cancers in men – it affects one man in seven. However it can take 10-15 years to develop in men, and if we discover it in the first or second year we can cure it: there is an early detection tool.
Usually we recommend men over 50 to get tested for prostate cancer on a yearly basis by taking a blood test.
There are also two risky groups over the age 40: the black population and men with a family history of prostate or breast cancer. We recommend that they also get tested on a yearly basis.
All other men should get tested every two to three years for peace of mind.
What else needs to be done to promote men’s health issues?
We need national campaigns. We have women’s health campaigns, but the male equivalent exists less and men don’t have knowledge of men’s health issues.
It has however improved in recent years. Male patients discuss issues between themselves to a greater extent.
But in general it can’t be changed overnight; it takes years to create awareness.
Are there differences in awareness between the UAE and the rest of world?
In the UAE we mostly have a young population, and so people here are mostly young and active. Many, if not all, are on social media – so they read, see and hear about men’s health issues. We see more cases here compared to other countries or societies, for example where physicians formerly practised.
Men’s Health Services at Amrita Medical Center provides care for men of all ages. From regular check-ups to treating complex conditions, our doctors and specialists have the experience and resources to provide you with high-quality, low-cost care. CONTACT US