“I don’t think guys really used to discuss out in the open things like prostate issues, urinary issues and sexual health,” said Dr. Amul Shah, urologist at Aurora Urology in Slinger, WI. “I think it’s more out in the forefront now, which has been fantastic for men to have more conversations about it.”
One of the biggest ways that men can take charge of their health is simple—go see your primary care doctor regularly. Talking to your doctor when you’re encountering unusual symptoms is important, says Dr. Shah.
“That’s often been a barrier for men,” said Dr. Shah. “Men typically start seeing a primary care doctor later in life than they should. We’re often delayed in our health in general when it comes to taking care of ourselves.”
Men’s health can include a lot of things, but usually focuses a few main areas. Prostate health, which usually includes prostate cancer screenings and urinary issues, is a significant part of men’s health. Sexual issues like erectile dysfunction and testosterone concerns are also common. Talking with your doctor when you have questions or concerns is an important step to getting medical help.
“Your primary care doctor is very important,” said Dr. Shah. “One of the most important screening tests is a prostate exam, which is often done by your primary care doctor. Typically, men should start receiving screenings at 55 years of age.”
Certain groups that are at higher risk for prostate cancer should be screened at a younger age, including if you have a family history of prostate cancer. African American men are also at higher risk for prostate cancer and so should start screening earlier.
If you’re having urinary issues or testosterone issues, your primary doctor can connect you with a specialist who can run additional tests. Noticing unusual fatigue or more frequent urination can point to issues with your prostate or testosterone levels, which a specialist like a urologist can help with.
“This isn’t something to be ashamed of if you’re having these issues,” said Dr. Shah. “Many of these issues are solvable. Chances are, one of your buddies is having the same problem you are. Making sure that you’re seeking care for it is important, because these are often problems we can fix.”