By Eileen McNichols
The men in our lives can be so busy taking care of home and family that they may neglect their own health. Studies show that men make only two-thirds as many healthcare provider visits as women do. Some men who know (or at least strongly suspect) that they have a problem, may suffer in silence, afraid to find out something is wrong. Others may attribute changes in physical health to aging, and accept symptoms that could easily be relieved as a normal part of life. These behaviors can have a negative effect on quality of life.
Take prostate health for example. The prostate gland surrounds the male urethra. It becomes enlarged with advancing age leading to obstruction of the urinary system, a condition known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). More than 30 million men suffer from BPH. Symptoms include sleepless nights and urinary problems, loss of productivity, depression and decreased quality of life.
There are a few lifestyle changes that can help manage mild symptoms of BPH. Relax and allow plenty of time to urinate. Drink fluids throughout the day. During the night, if you awaken frequently to urinate, limit your fluid intake in the evening and empty your bladder before bedtime. Avoid drinking alcohol. It is a bladder irritant and can make you urinate more often. If possible, avoid medicines that can make urination difficult, such as nonprescription antihistamines, decongestants (including nasal sprays), and allergy pills. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about all of the medications you take.
Many men fear that treatment for their urinary symptoms will lead to erectile dysfunction. The urologists at Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) have treatment options that can preserve sexual function while at the same time relieve the urinary problems associated with BPH.
Another concern that some men express is that the symptoms they experience are related to prostate cancer. Prostate cancer usually grows very slowly, often causing no symptoms until it is in an advanced stage. It can often be found before symptoms start by testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a man’s blood. Another way to screen for prostate cancer is the digital rectal exam in which the doctor actually feels the prostate gland. Want more information about your personal risk factors for prostate cancer? Visit tests.lcmcancercare.org to take a free online test offered by LCMH.
Top Programs in July
Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St.
Information/registration: Health Education Center at708 423 5774.
Health Academy: Kidney Health with nephrologist Veeda Landeras., MD, Mon., July 9, 11 a.m. Free. North Pavilion. Reservation required.
Reflexology with certified reflexologist, Mon. and Wed., Health Education Center, West Pavilion. This healing modality stimulates sensitive sensory cells to specific points in areas on the feet, hands, or ears to send the brain that impact the muscles and internal organs. $50 per session. Call for appointment.
Lung Cancer Screening, Sat., July 14, 8 a.m. to noon, Outpatient Care Center, 6700 W. 95th St. State of the art screening includes a low dose CT scan; must meet criteria from the American Lung Association. $125. No doctor’s order required.
Orthopedic knee/hip screening, Thurs., July 19, 1 to 3 p.m., Health Education Center, West Pavilion. 10 minute screening for people considering joint replacement surgery. Free. Reservation required.