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June 3, 2019

Men's Health Month, From the Ribs Down: 7 Conditions

By: Patrick Wirtz

If you want to show the men in your life that you care about their health on Father’s Day, say it with ribs.

We mean the ribs around their chest, but sure, celebrate with the barbecue kind, too. Because when it comes to men’s health, a whole lot of activity takes place below the ribs, from the kidneys to the prostate. And many factors, including the foods we eat, can determine their wellness. 

This is why the Cleveland Clinic recommends all men begin seeing a urologist regularly at the age of 40. Because as men age, they are more likely to experience conditions affecting the prostate, urinary system and sexual health.

So let’s make the month count: June is Men’s Health Month, when we encourage extra awareness for the early detection and treatment of many health conditions. Here’s how to spot seven men’s health issues:

  1. Enlarged prostate: The prostate, a gland the size of a ping-pong ball, enters a steady growth stage around age 25. In time, the tissue surrounding the prostate pushes it against the urethra, making it hard to urinate – a classic symptom. A doctor can detect the condition during a routine checkup, and most treatments, including laser surgery, are noninvasive.
  2. Prostate cancer: Prostate cancer also is nearly 100% curable if caught in the early stages. A PSA (protein-specific antigen) blood screening can detect if there is a high number of cancerous cells. There are few symptoms, but the risks increase with age, so screenings are recommended.
  3. Scrotal masses: Several kinds of lumps or bulges might surface in the scrotum, and most result from non-cancerous growths or enlarged varicose veins behind the testicles. Still, it’s important to have these abnormalities checked by a physician to rule out testicular cancer, which tends to occur in men at a younger age.
  4. Testicular cancer: This is among the least-common cancers among men, but testicular cancer also strikes at an age when men might least expect a diagnosis: 33, on average. Symptoms include pain, changes in the size or shape of one or both testicles, and/or hard lumps.
  5. Incontinence: The inability to control urine flow increases as men age. Most experience one of three types of incontinence: stress incontinence, or leakage with sudden movements such as coughing; urge incontinence, when the bladder contracts involuntarily; and overflow incontinence, when the bladder doesn’t empty fully, causing leakage later (often due to an enlarged prostate).
  6. Kidney stones: The kidneys filter a lot of minerals out of urine, including calcium, phosphates and uric acid. If they are not diluted enough or their levels change, these minerals will bind and form crystals that lodge in kidney tissue. The most common symptom is sharp pain in the back and side. Our outpatient lithotripsy treatment provides precise, fast relief.
  7. Kidney and bladder cancers: Men are more likely than women to o develop either of these cancers, but each is highly treatable if caught early. Symptoms include blood in the urine, lower back pain (for kidney cancer) and pain while urinating (bladder cancer). Smoking is a high risk factor for both.

Reducing all health risks begins with understanding and paying attention to our own bodies, above and below the ribs. But sometimes, we know it’s not always easy to tell if something is really “off.” In such cases, call a urologist for a good, ribs-down health check-up.

Join us for a men’s health seminar on erectile dysfunction Tuesday, June 25 at 6 p.m. in Northern Kentucky. Call or go online to register: (855) 206-9220 or https://www.edcure.org/events/.

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