National Men's Health Month: What Every Woman Needs to Know

Man and woman walking outside

Capital Women’s Care is dedicated to caring for the health of women at every age. With that, we recognize most women have important men in their lives. Whether it is your partner, father, brother, uncle, son, or friend, men’s health plays a significant role in your own well-being. June is National Men’s Health Month, so we’ve put together a guide to help women advocate for the health of the important men in their lives.

Five Things All Women Should Know to Keep the Men in Their Lives Healthy

1. Proactive measures are crucial

Encouraging men to be proactive regarding their own health is the best way to set a pattern for healthy living. Just like women, men should eat a heart-healthy diet of lean meats, whole grains, non-saturated fats, and an abundance of fruits and veggies. If you are responsible for the grocery shopping and/or cooking, stick to a healthy shopping list with pre-planned meals. Make sure that these meals provide enough fiber, calcium, and omega 3 fatty acids; if you and your loved ones are not getting an adequate amount from your diet, consider supplementation.

Take advantage of the warm weather by incorporating outdoor activities into your daily schedule. Enjoy time with your loved ones by going on bike rides, hikes, or competing in a family sports night. Staying active promotes optimal heart health and encourages a healthy weight, both of which are important overall health.

2. Regular screenings are vital for men’s health

Often, men are not aware of the regular health screenings they should attend. Based on issues that typically affect men, as well as conditions that are passed genetically, the following exams/screenings are recommended for most men:

  • Colorectal cancer: Beginning at age 50, men who are at average risk for colorectal cancer are encouraged to receive Fecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT) every year, Proctosigmoidoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy, Fecal Immunochemical Testing (FIT-DNA), and Computed Tomographic Colonography (CTC) every three to five years, and a colonoscopy every ten years. Men who are at higher risk for colorectal cancer (those with a family history of colorectal cancer or those suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Chronic Ulcerative Colitis (CUC), or Crohn's disease) should ask their doctor about screenings before 50.
  • Blood pressure & cardiovascular: The doctor should check blood pressure with every visit. However, if trips to the doctor are irregular, your loved one may need to make a separate appointment to ensure his blood pressure readings are within a healthy range. A cardiovascular exam may also include checking cholesterol levels. Checking these two markers is vital to verifying the health of the heart.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: Women and men should be screened at least once a year for syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Men should receive more regular screenings if they are having casual or anonymous sex. Gay or bi-sexual men should also be screened regularly (every three to six months) for HIV.
  • Skin Cancer: Like many illnesses, predisposition to skin cancer can be passed genetically. Men who have a family history of skin cancer, work in the sun, or have developed lesions or strangely shaped or colored moles should be screened for skin cancer.
  • Prostate & Testicular: Doctors should perform a testicular exam at each regular physical, but they recommend men regularly perform self-exams as well. Prostate exams are less common because there is no standardized exam. Men should discuss their risks and concerns about prostate cancer with their doctor to determine when and how often they should be screened.

3. Self-checks are often better when administered by someone else

Doctors recommend that men perform self-checks for a variety of health concerns, including several varieties of cancer. For skin cancer, another person can be a valuable asset for a self-check because that person is easily able to view someone else’s back for lesions and unusual moles. If your male loved one needs help, offer your assistance. 

Even if you are not specifically administering a self-check for your loved one, you can observe his overall health and behavior. If something seems off or wrong, encourage him to visit the doctor or a mental health professional. Men are less likely to visit the doctor than women, and often need to be prompted to take action about their own health.

4. Bad habits will have lifelong consequences

In both men and women, smoking and excessive drinking can have lasting, negative effects on physical and mental health. If your loved one smokes, talk to him about the lasting impact cigarettes can have on health. Challenge him to quit smoking; challenge yourself to something too, so that you can participate in something with your loved one. Work together with your loved one to list out goals, milestones, and rewards to work toward.

No more than two alcoholic beverages a day are recommended for men. If your loved one regularly exceeds that number, it may be time to talk about any underlying reasons for drinking. You can research and connect your loved one with support groups or professionals that may be able to help. If your loved one is a father, you can gently remind him that he is a role model for his children in all things, but especially his health.

5. Pay attention to men’s mental health

There are many reasons why people, and men in particular, may struggle with mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Some people are genetically predisposed to depression, while others experience depression triggered by stressful events or circumstances. No matter the cause, men are less likely than women to seek treatment for mental health problems through therapy or medication. This may be because men are socially conditioned to speak less about their feelings. Many men struggling with depression or anxiety can feel like it’s a weakness. However, left untreated, mental health struggles can wreak havoc. Some men rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs and alcohol; others may even consider suicide as a means of escape. Suicide rates among men are four times higher than the rates for women.

Lead by example and take control of your own health. Contact the team at Capital Women’s Care to learn about steps you can take in your health so you can be a supportive role model for all the men in your life.

Our Mission

The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.

 

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