How to prevent 10 diseases that impact men’s health

 

prevention-man-diseases

Health is the greatest of human blessings

The father of western medicine and ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates once stated: “A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.”  What men should take from this quote is that the awareness of one’s self and the ability to detect changes is the most important aspect of disease prevention.  This is critical as men have been historically linked to lifestyle choices, including adopting poor behaviors and engaging in activities that would increase the likelihood of such diseases that affect men only. To gain such knowledge, along with the causes of these male specific diseases, would allow you to prevent them from occurring.
 
There are 10 diseases that commonly affect men’s health.  The list includes disorders involving sexual intercourse like premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction, inflammatory diseases that affect the penis like peyronie’s disease and phimosis and diseases of the prostate which includes prostatitis and adenoma of the prostate.  Additional diseases that affect men’s health are varicoceles, male infertility and male menopause also known as testosterone deficiency.

Each disease can affect men very differently from being just a simple nuisance to a life-altering decline to their physical and mental health.  So, let’s now discuss these 10 diseases, their causes and how to prevent them from occurring.
 

Premature ejaculation

prematured_ejaculation

Premature ejaculation is believed to have both psychological and biological causes

Premature ejaculation is believed to have both psychological and biological causes.  The psychological causes includes erectile dysfunction, which we will discuss next along with relationship stress and anxiety while serotonin deficiency is a common biological cause of premature ejaculation.

How to prevent premature ejaculation:
Men may try the squeeze technique which involves three steps after the erection of the penis.  First, allow your partner to firmly squeeze the penis where the head and shaft meet.  Have them maintain the grip for several seconds.  This will cause the urge to ejaculate to pass and the penis will have become less erect.  At this point, have your partner release their grip.  After 20-30 seconds resume sexual arousal, not intercourse.  You may have to repeat this technique several times before you can insert the penis and initiate intercourse without ejaculating prematurely.  With practice, the control of ejaculation may be easier.
 
Wearing a condom has been shown to reduce the stimulation of the penis and prolong the time before ejaculation.  Some condoms are available with a gel coating on the inner surface, which the penis comes in contact with, that desensitizes the penis even further.
 
Reducing anxiety during sex will help prevent premature ejaculation.  Through communication between you and your partner, do not focus on intercourse as the only means of achieving orgasm.  Various acts of foreplay, avoiding the missionary and rear-entry positions since they tend to stimulate the penis the most and slowing your movements may create a pleasurable experience and delay ejaculation.
 
Another way to prevent premature ejaculation would be to address a common biological cause and increase serotonin through your diet.  Consuming foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan, which converts readily upon digestion to serotonin, will increase your levels and may prevent premature ejaculationTurkey, tofu, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, bacon and oat bran are some food items that have the amino acid that may help.
 

Erectile dysfunction

ED

Erectile dysfunction is believed to have different causes

Erectile dysfunction is believed to have different causes.  The medical causes include chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, medication side effects and the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.  The biological causes affect the erection of the penis.  They include a decrease of blood flowing to the penis, the inability for the penis to store blood during an erection, the impairment of nerve supply from the brain or spinal cord that controls the penis and testosterone deficiency.

How to prevent erectile dysfunction:
First, seek help for or stop habits like alcohol, street drug or tobacco use because these habits have been directly linked t0 causing erectile dysfunction.  In addition to changing behaviors, regular exercise will help with many causes of erectile dysfunction.
 
The impact of exercise upon weight loss will treat obesity, lower blood pressure and blood sugar, will reduce stress and most importantly improves blood flow vital to developing and maintaining erections.
 
Research has shown that in men who eat a traditional Mediterranean diet, erectile dysfunction is less prevalent.  The Mediterranean diet focuses upon the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, mono- and polyunsaturated fats including nuts and olive oil, and fish.
 
Avoid beverages with processed or added sugars.  Soda, artificially flavored fruit drinks and sweetened ice tea will raise your blood sugar.   Elevated blood sugar has been shown to alter nerve conduction even if you are not diabetic.
 
Supplements such as DHEA, Ginseng, L-arginine, melanotan-II, pr0pionyl-L-carnitine and yohimbe have been found studied to improve erectile dysfunction.  However, please review the side effects of these supplements, talk to a health care provider regarding their risks and interactions between these supplements and medications that you may be taking and, of course, take the recommended dosages.
 

Peyronie’s disease

Peyronies Disease Assessment Device

Peyronies Disease Assessment Device

The cause of Peyronie’s disease is inflammation.  Trauma to the penis from vigorous sexual activity, sports or other accidents sets the stage of inflammation.  Genetic disorders, tobacco use and diabetes have also been linked to the development of Peyronie’s disease.
 
How to prevent Peyronie’s disease:
Men should primarily focus on protecting the penisAthletic supporters and cups should be worn when participating in sports.
 
Also, use caution when engaging in sexual activities, especially with intercourse.  Vigorous sexual intercourse and sexual positions that forces the penis to bend increases the risk of penis trauma.  Guiding the insertion of the penis with your or your partners hand reduces the risk of the penis from striking your partner’s body.
 
In addition to protection, focusing on minimizing inflammation is a key to the prevention of Peyronie’s disease.

A diet high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids like olive oil, mixed nuts, avocados, flax oil and seeds will reduce the inflammatory changes which may lead to the development of Peyronie’s disease.
 

Phimosis

Inflammation and poor hygiene resulting in skin infections of the foreskin are common causes of  phimosis.  It is the swelling of the foreskin from inflammation and infection that causes  tightening of the skin which is difficult to retract.

How to prevent phimosis:
The removal of excessive tissue on the foreskin by circumcision have been employed by physicians to prevent further problems associated with pathological phimosis.

A physician had observed that phimosis occurred when males engaged in specific masturbation practices.  When the patients were advised to stop such types of masturbation techniques, the physician noted that he did not have to recommend circumcision.  So if you masturbate, mimic the action of sexual intercourse by moving the foreskin up and down to prevent phimosis.

Personal hygiene is a very important aspect of prevention. Regularly clean under the retracted foreskin and return the foreskin to cover the glans or head afterward.  The use of lubricants during sexual activity can cause irritation and inflammation to the foreskin.  Clean the penis after using such lubricants, wearing condoms and especially after all types of sexual activity.
 

Prostatitis

prostatitis

Bacterial infections are the most common cause of prostatitis

Bacterial infections are the most common cause of prostatitis.  It is suspected that bacteria from the urine enters the prostate gland due to its close proximity.  Other causes of prostatitis may include dehydration, disorders of the immune and nervous systems in addition to injury or trauma to the prostate.

How to prevent prostatitis:
A study published in the Journal of Urology found that men who consumed certain beverages and foods like coffee, alcohol and spicy foods were more susceptible to prostatitis.  In particular, spicy foods containing the compound capsaicin which has been linked to other bowel and bladder disorders.

Italian researchers found that men who participated in a brisk walking program three times a week for 18 weeks reported less pain associated with prostatitis compared to men who participated in a  strength training program.

Staying hydrated will also prevent prostatitis.  The Institute of Medicine recommends 125 ounces of total fluid intake a day for men from water and other beverages in addition to food.  It has been known that approximately 80% of our water intake comes from drinking beverages including water while the remainder comes from water within food.

The Institute of Medicine recommends the consumption of water and other beverages for men should be approximately 12-13 cups day.
 

Adenoma of the prostate

The cause of an adenoma of the prostate is believed to be result of a hormonal imbalance between estrogen and testosterone.  Another suspected cause is a substance derived from testosterone called dihydrotestosterone that accumulates within the prostate in older men.

This substance has been shown to contribute to the growth of glandular cells.

How to prevent adenoma of the prostate:
Studies show that a diet rich in specific vitamins and minerals can lower the risk of developing an adenoma of the prostate.  Sesame and pumpkin seeds, oysters and almonds are high in zinc which has shown to reduce the risk.  Salmon, walnuts, canola oil and kidney beans are high in omega-3 fatty acids which discussed earlier inhibits inflammation and may prevent enlargement.  Finally tomatoes, watermelon, apricots and papaya are high in lycopene which has shown to lower the risk of enlargement and cancer of the prostate in lycopene.

Researchers found that the following factors were associated with a lower risk of developing an adenoma of the prostate.  Individuals who engage in regular physical activity and had little to no abdominal fat, ate a low-fat diet, five or more servings of vegetables in addition to consuming two servings of alcohol a day were less likely to develop an enlarged prostate.
 

Varicocele

Valves within the vein, which open and close and move blood along, malfunctions causing blood to back up.  The pooling of blood in turn causes the vein to swell and widen.  Usually painless, varicoceles however may cause infertility by affecting the nearby cord that contains sperm.

How to prevent a varicocele:
Exercising regularly improves circulation and vein strength throughout the body.  Also, since it is believed that obesity may contribute to vein dysfunction, weight loss could possibly be apart of varicocele prevention.

A low-salt diet may prevent water retention that can cause excess swelling in the veins within the scrotum.
 

Male infertility

Male-Infertility

Causes of male infertility can affect the health of the sperm

Causes of male infertility can affect the health of the sperm and is divided into three categories.  These are medical, environmental and lifestyle causes.

Medical causes include the aforementioned erectile dysfunction, varicocele and prostatitis, soon to be discussed male menopause and sexually transmitted diseases in addition to anatomical defects that affects the tubes from which the sperm is stored and the process of ejaculation.

In some men, a gastrointestinal disorder called Celiac disease has been linked to infertility by causing the body to respond less to testosterone.

Environmental causes result from the exposure to industrial chemicals, heavy metals and radiation.  Also, exposing the testicles to high temperatures like hot tubs or using a laptop for an extended period of time may affect fertility.

Finally, the lifestyle causes of male infertility include alcohol, tobacco and drug use along with obesity, anxiety and recreational bicycling may cause infertility.

How to prevent male infertility:
Many of the ways to prevent male infertility are covered in the erectile dysfunction, varicocele, prostatitis, male menopause and sexually transmitted disease sections since they are known causes of male infertility.

Avoid restrictive clothing, especially undergarments.  The pressure of tight clothing can impair blood flow to the testes and affect sperm production.  Another complication of restrictive clothing is that it may increase the temperature within the groin which will reduce sperm counts.

Research presented in Reproductive BioMedicine Online links a diet high in substances called antioxidants may increase sperm counts.  Specifically, vitamin C and E, glutathione, and coenzyme Q10 have all been shown to help prevent male infertility.  These protective substances can be found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products.

Celiac disease often goes undiagnosed due to men not exhibiting symptoms or having nonspecific symptoms.  A study in the Journal Gut showed that infertile men with Celiac disease who consumed a gluten-free diet had improvements with sperm characteristics that enhance fertility.
 

Male menopause

male-menopause

Male menopause results when the production of testosterone in the testes declines

Male menopause results when the production of testosterone in the testes declines.  The slow and steady decline in testosterone as men age mirrors the decline in estrogen production by the ovaries in women during female menopause.  Fatigue, poor concentration, weakness, depression and sexual problems consistent with male menopause have two basic causes.  The first directly involves a problem with the testes producing testosterone.  Examples include the iron overload disorder called hemochromatosis, the mumps virus, trauma or direct injury to the testes, along with chemotherapy and radiation in cancer treatment can all negatively affect the testes producing testosterone.  The second type involves problems that indirectly affect testosterone production from outside the testes.  More specifically, disorders of glands that send signals to the testes, obesity’s affect on enzymes and hormones, endocrine disrupting chemicals including bisphenol A (BPA) in addition to the normal aging process will externally impact the testes and the production of testosterone.

How to prevent male menopause:
The University of Chicago showed that cutting back on sleep significantly reduces testosterone levels.  The reduction of total sleep to just five hours a night for one week lowered testosterone.  So, try to get about 7-8 hours of sleep each night to maximize the release of your body’s testosterone production.

Another study in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrated a correlation between reduced dietary zinc intake to a decline of testosterone. The study showed  that when dietary zinc intake was restricted in men for 20 weeks, a decline of testosterone occurred.   More importantly, older men who were deficient in zinc were given supplements for six months experienced an increase in testosterone production.  Include foods high in zinc include oysters, beans and yogurt into your diet as part of preventing male menopause.

Go BPA-free. Several studies have provided a link to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in common plastic food and drink containers to a decrease in testosterone production in men.  Bisphenol A is one of several chemicals that may affect testosterone production by affecting a gland that signals the tests and the testes directly by mimicking estrogen.  An increase in blood levels of these estrogen-like chemicals have been found to directly lower testosterone.

Exercise regularly but do not overdo it.  Levels of testosterone peak two days after lifting weights.  The higher the intensity of the exercise correlates with higher levels of testosterone.  However, excessive exercise increases cortisol production, another hormone that competes with testosterone.  Researchers found that such excessive training can lower testosterone levels in men.   Perform exercises using weights such as squats, bench pressing and seated rows that work large muscle groups will increase your ability to produce testosterone.  Give yourself at least two days off to prevent cortisol from negating the attempts to raise your testosterone.
 

Sexually transmitted diseases

STD

Preventative tips will help prevent the possibility of transmission

Simply stated, sexually transmitted diseases are infections that men can contract during various acts of oral, vaginal and anal sex.   There are many types of sexually transmitted diseases that are either categorized into bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic or protozoal cause.  All causes result in the transmission of these diseases from an infected person during sexual acts which are unprotected.  Visible and more commonly, non-visible breaks in the body’s tissues allows for the entry of the infected bodily fluids.
 
 
How to prevent sexually transmitted diseases:
Abstaining from all sexual acts will absolutely prevent transmission.  If sexually active, the remainder of the preventative tips will help prevent the possibility of transmission.  First, it is recommended to mutually remain monogamous with one uninfected sexual partner.  This would require testing for sexually transmitted diseases amongst partners and communication early in the relationship.   Testing and communication is important prior to engaging in unprotected sexual acts.

Casual sex with partners met online or at bars and other establishments at random increases your risks of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.  Until partners can verify that they are not infected with sexually transmitted diseases, the use of condoms and dental dams, used in oral sex, are recommended to provide a barrier between your body’s tissues and bodily fluids that may come in contact with them.  Proper use of condoms and dental dams may not protect you from exposed genital sores consistent with herpes or the human papillomavirus however.

Another way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases include vaccinations.  Vaccines for human papillomavirus, hepatitis A and B are currently available.  Also, avoid drinking alcohol in excess or using drugs.  Men under the influence of alcohol and drugs are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.  Finally, circumcision has been linked to a reduction of contracting HIV, human papillomavirus and herpes.

In conclusion, there are several ways to prevent 10 diseases that impact men’s health.  Now armed with the insight of each cause, you will be more aware of yourself and better able to detect changes.  British playwright Tom Stoppard may have said it best when stating “a healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others.  Be a carrier.”  That is the most important aspect of disease prevention.