Men have traditionally stayed away from the doctor with their health suffering as a consequence. Things have improved over the recent years but they are still slower in coming forward than women. There are a number of health areas particularly, if not exclusively, relating to men:
A major cause of concern for men are their prostate glands. There are 2 common issues. Firstly, as men age the prostate gland gets bigger and can start causing problems with bladder emptying with symptoms such as reduced stream, increasing frequency of needing to go to the toilet, including getting up several times at night, and sometimes inability to pass urine at all (obstruction). This is called benign prostatic hypertrophy and there are various treatment options for this from medication through to surgery. The other condition is Prostate Cancer which, asides from some skin cancers, is the most common cancer in Australian men and generally, in the early stages, causes no symptoms. It is more common in men with a family history of prostate, breast or ovarian cancer. There are some controversies around who to screen and when. We recommend discussing your symptoms with your GP.
Although testicular cancer accounts for only 1 percent of all cancers in men, it is the most common solid malignancy affecting males between the ages of 15 and 35 and most commonly presents as a painless lump in the testicle, a change in shape of the testicle or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum. It is important to self examine your testicles regularly for changes and have a check with your GP if you have any concerns.
There are a number of physical causes for erection problems, such as diabetes and circulation issues, but also, more commonly, psychological causes. Your GP can prescribe medication or refer you for psychological treatment. The GP can also refer you to Urologist/Andrologist if required.
Male pattern hair loss is very common but there is treatment available. Both topical minoxidil (available over the counter from pharmacies) and finasteride tablets (prescription medication available from your GP) have been shown to be effective in clinical trials.
Mental Health Issues
1 in 8 men will experience depression and 1 in 5 anxiety at some point in there lives, 6 out of the 8 suicides occurring each day in Australia are men. Historically men tend to delay seeking help. Please visit organisations such as Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute for further information. Your GP can be the first contact if you are experiencing any mental health issues.
Sexual Health Checks
At Bellbird Medical Centre, we can arrange the full range of sexual health checks and we also have HIV-trained GPs who can look after your HIV and prescribe HIV PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis).
General Health Checks
At Bellbird Medical Centre, we have a strong commitment to preventative medicine and recommend seeing your GP to discuss what check-ups are appropriate for you. In addition we recommend a Prolonged Health Assessment (PHA) for everyone aged 45-49 and over 70. Included in this assessment is:
Body measurements taken – height, weight, BP, pulse etc
Pathology blood test including levels of cholesterol, diabetes, liver, kidney disease, prostate cancer
Lung function assessment
Lifestyle assessment – mental health, family medical history, current lifestyle
The Prolonged Health Assessment (PHA) is completely covered by Medicare (Bulk-Billed) and requires minimum 20 minute appointment. Please inform the reception should you require a longer appointment.