Let’s Talk About Men’s Health
Some of the most common health issues for men are the sort they may not be thrilled to talk about.
But UF Health Urology experts are committed to helping guide their male patients through sometimes uncomfortable discussions, to ensure that sidestepping the topic doesn’t affect their health and quality of life.
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a common condition that affects 1 in 4 men.
“There are some studies that suggest 50% of men over the age of 50 suffer from erectile dysfunction, so it is very common,” said Kevin Campbell, MD, an assistant professor in the department of urology at the University of Florida College of Medicine.
Although many men over the age of 50 suffer from ED, it is important to note it is not an inevitable consequence of aging. However, those with a chronic disease, such as diabetes or heart disease, and those who use substances such as tobacco, drugs and alcohol have an increased risk for ED.
In most cases, ED can be resolved and there are multiple treatment options, including oral drug therapy, penile injection therapy and vacuum erection devices. Additionally, there are surgical options available. It is important to schedule a consultation with your doctor to determine which treatment option is best for you or your loved one.
Another common condition that affects men is urinary incontinence. Approximately 55 million men across the world suffer from loss of urinary control.
For minor incontinence, behavioral modifications can help. This includes decreasing fluid intake before bed, voiding the bladder frequently and avoiding caffeine, alcohol and activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure, such as heavy lifting. Other treatments for urinary incontinence include external collection devices, such as pads or diapers, an external compression device, pelvic floor physical therapy and surgical interventions.
“Urinary incontinence is one of the most devastating side effects a man can experience after the treatment for some pathological conditions, such as prostate cancer,” said Larry Yeung, MD, medical director of UF Health Urology – Medical Plaza and an associate professor in the department of urology at the UF College of Medicine.
Accounting for nearly 200,000 new cancer cases in the United States annually, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in American men. It tends to occur in men over age 50, with over 65% of cases diagnosed in those ages 65 and older.
For most patients with low risk of prostate cancer, active surveillance is a safe treatment option. Surgery, radiation, focal therapy or a combination of multiple treatment methods are used for patients with an intermediate to high risk of prostate cancer.
“The key to prostate cancer treatment is the balance of cancer control versus length and quality of life,” said Wayne Brisbane, MD, an assistant professor in the department of urology at the UF College of Medicine. “Although prostate cancer treatment is important, you have to be careful not to overtreat.”
ED, urinary incontinence and prostate cancer affect many men. Though it may initially feel embarrassing to talk about, UF Health Urology experts say it’s vital for men to get screened and treated for these conditions to ensure they don’t progress and affect quality of life.
Dr. Yeung emphasized that the UF Health Urology team understands that each patient may have a sensitive subject they need to broach.
“Patients may be anxious, shy or afraid to approach anyone about their condition and it takes a lot of courage for them to wake up and come to the clinic,” he said. “So we make sure every staff member, from check-in to check-out, is very professional and we provide an environment that feels comfortable.”