Fitness Advice

Introduction to men’s health.Stress and Men’s Health.

The average life expectancy of a man born in the United States in 2016 is 79 years and 8 months. The life expectancy for a man has increased dramatically in the past 50 years. How long we live is important; however, the quality of life is equally important. The ability to enjoy life to its fullest requires investing time and effort into health maintenance and disease prevention. This investment pays dividends almost immediately and it is never too late to begin. A man who was 65 years old in 2018 could expect to live to age 84, and a 75-year-old could expect 11 more years of life.

Our bodies are incredibly complex machines that require fuel components (food, water, and air) to grow, function, and repair itself. Like any machine, the body requires routine maintenance to make it last a long time and to function well throughout a person’s life expectancy. Using the body as it was intended and minimizing abuse also increases its ability to perform. When we buy a car, we expect to routinely change the oil, filters, rotate the tires, and avoid driving too aggressively to keep the car running smoothly and last a certain length of time. As in life, accidents happen and cosmetic injuries occur, but it is the “guts” of a car, the engine, transmission, and brakes that will decide if it will be happily driving down the road or sitting in the junkyard.

Our bodies suffer through illnesses and accidents and many are unavoidable. Taking care of your body also includes scheduled maintenance and screening examinations to detect illnesses at an early stage, which increases the potential for cure and a return to health. Learning to listen to the body’s warning signs and symptoms is the same as paying attention to the check engine light in your car, neither should be ignored.

A healthy lifestyle is not just an absence of disease, but an opportunity to enjoy the years of life available to each person. Medical care can help the body maintain its performance as it ages. A longer life expectancy should not be considered a jail sentence to inactivity. As the body ages, there is an expected and normal physiologic change in some of the hormones in the male body.

Stress and the Male Sex Drive

Viewer Question: I’ve been under a prolonged period of stress, which seems to have diminished my sex drive. I recently read that stress can affect hormone levels. What can I do to counteract stress and improve my sex drive?

Doctor’s Response: You are not alone in your concern. A diminished interest in sex is one of many symptoms that can develop as a result of increased psychological stress, and studies show that a decreased sex drive is a common complaint in people who have stressful jobs and work long hours. Fortunately, taking steps to manage your stress can help you regain some of your lost sexual energy.

Stress management is a highly individual practice, and each person must choose the stress control techniques that work best for them. However, stress control methods most often include a combination of exercise, relaxation techniques (deep breathing or meditation exercises), adhering to a regular sleep cycle, and proper nutrition. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural stress-fighting hormones, so any type of physical exercise is a good stress control measure…

The prostate is a unique male organ. It is located beneath the bladder and connects it to the penis. Its function is to produce part of the seminal fluid that is alkaline, which helps lengthen the life span of semen when it enters the vagina. The prostate also has involuntary muscles that contract to help expel semen during ejaculation.A common condition in men that is part of the normal aging process is benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH or enlarged prostate). The urethra is a tube that passes through the prostate and drains the bladder. A man with an enlarged prostate (BPH) often has difficulty emptying the bladder because the urethra is being compressed by prostatic tissue. This compression of the urethra makes it difficult for the bladder to generate enough pressure to overcome the obstruction (enlarged prostate). Over time, the bladder itself begins to weaken making urination even more difficult.

Symptoms of BPH include:

  • Urinary frequency (urinating more often)
  • Urinary urgency (the feeling that he has to empty the bladder urgently or risk wetting himself)
  • Urinary hesitancy (difficulty starting the urine stream)
  • Urinary straining (requiring more pressure or bearing down to empty the bladder)
  • Poor urine stream and dribbling

Treatment of BPH (which may include medications or surgery) depends upon the man, any underlying medical conditions, and the severity of symptoms.