Men's Sexual Health: Must-Have Medical Tests Every Man Needs
In this blog, topics such as the importance of maintaining optimal sexual health as a man ages, the challenges men might encounter while attempting to pursue this goal and the specific medical tests that could make reaching the quest easier will be examined.
The Importance of Maintaining Mens' Sexual Health
For many men, sex is an enjoyable physical activity that strengthens the bond they share with their significant others. Sustaining men's sexual health often hinges on a man's ability to avoid developing one or a combination of any illnesses that might result in physical or mental manifestations that could threaten his ability to enjoy sex and perform at his best while engaging in the activity.
The Challenges Men Face
A relatively recent study conducted by researchers representing the Johns Hopkins University opine that, in comparison to women, men have inferior access to sexual and reproductive health. These same scientists believe this unfortunate circumstance is so because the medical community as a whole has failed to establish needed guidelines suggesting the specific reproductive and sexual system examinations men should receive, when they should receive them and how often they should be administered.
How Can Men's Sexual Health Be Maintained?
That said, medical professionals also maintain that men may experience better sexual and reproductive system health by taking the initiative and ensuring they periodically receive several specific medical tests, particularly as they age. Such health examinations include:
The Male Hormone Test
As men grow older, bodily production and concentration of hormones vital to libido and their ability to performing at a high level sexually will steadily decline. In some instances, hormonal decreases might occur as the result of various medical conditions such as andropause (in which men experience a rapid decline in testosterone production) and illnesses of hormone-producing organs and glands.
The male hormone test measures blood levels of substances like testosterone, estradiol, DHEA, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), SHBG, insulin-like growth factor and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). Hormonal imbalances can precipitate low libido and erectile dysfunction (ED). Diminished hormone levels might also be symptomatic of other more serious illnesses. The male hormone test is recommended for men age 40 and older or those who are experiencing manifestations of hormonal decline.
Before initiating a therapeutic protocol, it is important for a man's doctor to identify the specific factors that are precipitating the imbalance. Once the underlying cause or precipitators are pinpointed, balance might be restored using certain drugs, executing lifestyle changes or through the intake of a variety of natural substances possessing hormone-stimulating properties.
Prostate Cancer Screening
As PSA measurements are included in the male hormone test, it is a critical indicator when screening for prostate cancer. An elevated PSA score could indicate the presence of prostatic malignancy. In addition, rectal prostate exams, which can be performed during a routine checkup are also recommended. It is suggested men age 50 and older receive both a rectal prostatic and PSA test. Medical professionals also recommended that men with family histories of prostate cancer begin receiving these exams by age 40.
There are a wide variety of treatment options for prostate cancer. The appropriate treatment protocol will depend upon the man in question's age, overall health, severity of his condition and the presence of other health problems.
Testicular Cancer Screening
Though rare, testicular cancer is most prevalent in young men typically between the ages of 15 and 34. A doctor (or patient) can routinely perform this examination by rolling each testicle between the examinee's fingers to feel for lumps or other abnormalities. It is recommended that males begin self-screening on a monthly basis beginning during their teens and for the duration of their lifetimes. Most instances of testicular cancer are treated with the removal of the afflicted testicle followed by a course of radiation or chemotherapy.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Many sexually active people do not always practice safe sex. Men who are sexually active or whom have engaged in sexual intercourse with multiple partners are strongly advised to undergo testing for various sexually transmitted disorders (STDs). Various STDs such as syphilis, hepatitis C and even AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) might not become symptomatic for extended durations (sometimes many years) following the initial infection. Therefore, an unsuspecting person runs the risk of infecting a sexual partner. Many STDs can be treated with varying medications.
The health of a man's semen could determine his ability to father children. Men preparing to start a family or those who have experienced difficulty conceiving a child, a semen analysis might be indicated.
Other Vital Tests
In addition to maintaining sexual and reproductive health, optimal overall health may also be achieved by receiving several other important health examinations. Such tests include: blood pressure screenings, blood cholesterol measurements, eye, vision and hearing checks, colonoscopy, diabetes screening, skin cancer examinations, bladder cancer screening, thyroid function examinations, BMI (body mass index) and fecal occult blood test (which checks a examinee's fecal matter for blood not visible to the naked eye).
The majority of these tests should be performed during yearly routine physical examinations. Should an individual have associated risks for any particular illness that any of these examinations could detect, recommended screenings might need to occur on a more frequent basis.