Statistically speaking, men are less likely to see a doctor than women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women are 33 per cent more likely to visit a doctor than men. A study by the Cleveland Clinic also revealed that 46% of men are uncomfortable about discussing sexual health concerns with their doctors.
However, avoiding the doctor will not make health issues go away. Conversely, getting an early diagnosis can result in better treatment outcomes. Find out about the four common sexual health issues in men and how your doctor can help to address those concerns.
1. Erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection due to insufficient blood flow to the penis. In some cases, being unable to obtain an erection may be a sign of underlying conditions like heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disorders and hypertension. It may also be caused by psychological conditions like depression, stress and anxiety.
While ED is more common in men over the age of 50, it can occur at any age. Please see a doctor if you:
- Have an ongoing erection problem
- Have other sexual health issues like premature or delayed ejaculation
- Have a known health condition that may be linked to ED, such as heart disease or diabetes
- Have other symptoms apart from ED
You may feel embarrassed to speak with a doctor about your symptoms, but know that ED is a treatable condition, and you don’t have to live with it. In many cases, ED can be corrected by treating the underlying condition that’s causing the symptoms. If an underlying medical condition has been ruled out, your doctor may prescribe you medication and other treatments. Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes to treat ED, such as quitting smoking, losing weight and reducing alcohol consumption. Please know that we have male and female doctors at Osler Health and they are a ‘safe space’ where your concerns will be managed in complete confidence.
2. Low testosterone
Testosterone levels peak in early adulthood and generally decline with age. When the testicles do not produce enough testosterone, a male sex hormone, the following symptoms or conditions may result:
- Low libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced muscle mass
- Loss of body hair
Low testosterone may also be associated with other potential causes, including injury to the testicles, medication, kidney failure and alcohol abuse. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please speak to your doctor. Your doctor will arrange for a simple blood test for diagnosis. If low testosterone is found to be the cause of your symptoms, you may be prescribed testosterone replacement therapy to improve testosterone levels.
3. Enlarged prostate
Prostate enlargement, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a common issue that arises with age among men, especially those who are over the age of 50. When the prostate is enlarged, it places pressure on the urethra, causing the bladder to contract more forcefully to expel urine from the body. Over time, the bladder muscle may become more sensitive, contracting when it only contains a small amount of urine and resulting in the need to urinate frequently. When the bladder muscle can no longer overcome the effect of the narrowed urethra, urine will remain in the bladder.
Signs of an enlarged prostate can include:
- Having a frequent and/or urgent need to urinate
- Getting up frequently at night to urinate
- Straining to urinate
- Urinary incontinence
- Having a weak flow of urine
In some cases, complications may arise due to the inability of the bladder to empty completely. See a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Blood in the urine
- Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- A sudden and complete inability to urinate
Upon diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe a combination of medications and lifestyle changes to manage your condition. Minimally invasive procedures and surgery may also be recommended depending on the severity of your condition.
4. Low libido
Low libido, or decreased sexual desire, can stem from a number of potential causes:
- Psychological issues like anxiety, fear and stress
- Sexual health issues like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and delayed ejaculation
- Relationship troubles
- Medical conditions like kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and depression
- Low testosterone
If you are experiencing low libido, please do not be ashamed to speak to your doctor. With a timely and accurate diagnosis, any underlying conditions can be treated to address your sexual health concerns.
The doctors at Osler Health are all experienced in sexual health support. If you wish to see a male doctor we have 2 male doctors – Dr Peter (based at our Raffles Hotel Arcade clinic in CBD) or Dr Neil (based in our Star Vista clinic off Holland Road).