These conditions are only associated with women, but men are still at risk. Here’s what every man should know.
Let’s face it: women are more open to talking about their health between themselves and with doctors. As a result, awareness of diseases such as breast cancer has risen dramatically and millions of lives have been saved.
However, there are some illnesses where women make up such a majority of cases that male sufferers are shocked to find they can get the disease too.
1. Male breast cancer
Even though this illness is rare in men –male breast cancer accounts for just one per cent of all breast cancers – it can be just as deadly if left untreated. Because many men don’t associate changes in their breast tissue with the possibility of cancer, a significant number only seek help when the disease is relatively advanced and as a result the health outcomes are often less successful.
Symptoms: nipple discharge, change in the appearance of the nipple, nipple pain and swollen nymph glands in the armpit.
This excruciating condition, in which people feel pain in joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissue, is nine times more common in women than men. Complicating correct diagnosis is the outdated Aussie male stereotype that pain is something to be endured with either silence or a flippant joke.
Symptoms: In addition to muscles that are extremely sensitive to pressure and a burning skin sensation, fibromyalgia is also accompanied by a sense of fatigue.
Any problems “down there” multiply the male reticence in seeking medical help exponentially. However, the fact remains that just because more women are diagnosed with thrush, that doesn’t mean it’s exclusively female. What’s more, the shame factor among men is exacerbated because thrush occurs on the penis and it’s therefore often automatically assumed the infection has been transmitted by sexual activity. This is not always the case; poor personal hygiene, a compromised immune system and even diabetes can all make men more likely to get thrush.
Symptoms: irritation, a burning sensation and inflammation of the penis head, itching, redness or small spots, discharge and an unpleasant smell.
4. Postnatal depression
According to the Post and Antenatal Depression Association of Australia, 10 per cent of new dads are diagnosed with postnatal depression. Often viewing depression as some sort of weakness, they are overwhelmed by the responsibilities, lack of sleep and having to rapidly acquire new skills that comes along with being a parent. Especially if it’s for the first time.
Symptoms: increased alcohol or drug use, finding it hard to take minor personal criticisms, moodiness, unwillingness to socialise and loss of interest in once pleasurable activities such as sex or exercise.
5. Human papilloma Virus (HPV)
Best known as the cause of 70 per cent of cervical cancers and the subject of a nationwide immunization program for 12 to 13 year old girls, young boys can also benefit from being vaccinated from HPV, even up to the age of 26. In males, this medication has been found to prevent 90 per cent of genital warts, which in turn not only protects the men involved but also their partners in later life.
Symptoms: None and this is why vaccination is vital as the mouth and throat cancers which can result from HPV can often take decades to develop after infection.