By Eileen McNichols MSN, RN
Director, Pastoral Care Services and Community Health
Little Company of Mary Hospital
Men 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 whether 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 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 and depression.
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. 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.
Some men express concern that the symptoms they experience are related to prostate cancer. Prostate cancer usually grows very slowly, usually 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 June
Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St. Info/registration: Health Education Center, 708–423 5774
In Balance: “Radiculopathy- Pain, Numbness, and Tingling” presented by Neck and Spine Surgeon. Gurpal Pannu, MD, Thurs., June 6, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Free.
Annual Men’s Wellness Event, Sat., June 8, 7:30 to 10:30a.m., featuring Comprehensive Wellness Screening with labs, blood pressure, BMI, oxygenation, and visit with Wellness Nurse Educator; Prostate Cancer Screening for men who meet the criteria: and “Be Your Personal Best” health seminar with Michael Hurtuk, MD. $85 (no PSA/exam) or $100 (with PSA/exam). Registration required.
Health Academy, Lifting the Veil on Viruses: West Nile, Lyme’s Disease and Zika Virus presented by Wellness Nurse Educator Marilyn Cronin, Mon., June 10, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Free.
Wake Up Call Screening, comprehensive stroke screening that includes lab work, ultrasounds of the carotid artery and abdominal aorta, peripheral vascular screening, heart rhythm screening and more, Sat., June 22, 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Reservations required. $160.