health issues | Keep a Man Healthy
way to a man's health is through a woman
become involved in men's health for three reasons: they are used to
making the healthcare decisions in their families, they tend to know
the most about health and the healthcare system, and men's health
affects their own health, sexual pleasure and way of life.
most women see themselves playing a role in their partner's health.
According to Gary Brice, Executive Director of the McLaughlin Center
at DeGraff Memorial Hospital in Upstate New York:
traditionally—and still today—take on the role of care
giver for their family. They coordinate care of their children and
sometimes their parents. And they also do it for their husbands. It
is very common for the wife to set up the doctor's appointment—to
be the recognizer of symptoms.
women tend to know more about health than men and to be more active
about prevention and treatment. Many women become experienced health
care consumers through years of pelvic examinations as well as through
taking children to the pediatrician. The monthly period and breast
self-examination also help women become attuned to their bodies. Probably
most importantly, most women don't see their bodies as invincible
or have trouble admitting heath problems or weaknesses.
women become involved in men's health because they are concerned about
their own well-being:
30 million partners of men suffering from impotence suffer too, losing
not only intimacy but self-esteem, many assuming that they have become
unappealing or that he's cheating.
to recent studies, 25-30% of men ejaculate certainly within 2 to 3
minutes. This may affect many women’s ability to enjoy intercourse.
Additionally, studies are coming out showing tremendous negative impact
self-esteem, and even quality of life for men and their partners as
a result of premature ejaculation.
he has a sexually transmitted disease, she probably will get it, too.
This is a widespread problem; one in four American adults has an incurable
STD. Many STDs are more hazardous to women than men, yet are less easily
detected because they occur inside the vagina. While the man's symptoms
may be obvious, the women can be infected for several months before
she or her doctor discovers the disease. By that time the infection
may have caused pelvic inflammatory disease, a serious condition that
can lead to ectopic pregnancy, infertility, or persistent pelvic pain.
Also, condyloma and possibly herpes have been associated with cervical
cancer, and of course, AIDS is deadly.
As many women
as men choose sterilization for birth control, although vasectomy is
safer, less expensive and more easily reversed than tubal ligation.
The reasons are male myths and ungrounded fears about vasectomy.
infertility may make pregnancy impossible or difficult. About 40 percent
of the time, a couple's inability to conceive results from a problem
in the male partner.
man's risky health habits endanger his partner; smoking leads to secondhand
smoking, alcoholism can lead to car accidents or abusive behavior,
he becomes disabled, chances are great she will become his primary
care giver. His disability can limit a couple's social activities.
look forward to golfing, traveling, or visiting grandchildren with
their partners during their retirement. They are concerned about
of life in the future.
ultimate effect is living alone. Because many men smoke more, drink
more, don't eat a nutritious diet, visit the doctor less frequently,
and generally refuse to take care of themselves, they die. As a result
a woman can expect to live 7 years longer than her partner — 10
percent of the total life-span. The difference in life expectancy between
a black man and a white woman is even greater, 14 years.
can a woman do to keep a man healthy?
Male Health Center recommends that a woman take these steps to help
her partner live longer and better:
the male approach to health.
The first step is to learn about common male feelings of fear, embarrassment,
and above all, invincibility.
Educate yourself about male health problems. Before you can help the
man, you need to learn about his particular health concerns. The book,
How Men Can Live as Long as Women, available through the Male
Health Center and this Web site, can be a resource tool.
what you learn with your male partner.
woman can talk with her partner about his health, pass along an article
or book, or give him the number of a hotline. The fact is, some men
need to be prodded along to pay attention to their health.
for signs and symptoms.
a flashing red light goes off in a man's car, chances are he will take
it in for service right away. But when a warning sign goes off in his
body, he may well ignore it. Women can help by knowing which symptoms
are flashing red lights, and by encouraging the partner to have them
checked out right away.
men have trouble telling a doctor or a partner about a health symptom.
A woman reported that she asked her husband where it hurt. He just
said, "It hurts all over." He didn't have a vocabulary for
expressing what was happening with his body.
out when men need to have a check-up.
most men know the maintenance schedule for their cars, few know how
often they should visit the doctor at various ages. Also, few men know
how to do self-examinations for cancers. For example, few men know
they should examine themselves each month for testicular cancer, the
most common cancer in men under 40. A survey showed that 97 percent
of college students were unaware of this test. When a group of college
students was instructed in the simple examination, six months later,
79 percent were doing it regularly.
along with him to the doctor.
woman likes for the man to deal with the service department at the
garage or the car dealership. And men don't mind. They're comfortable
garage. But they aren't experienced with dealing with doctors. Women,
however, have tremendous experience dealing with physicians and can
help the man get the most from the visit. After a visit or two, a man
can become more skillful and can go on his own in the future. For example,
frequent changes of "preferred providers," shorter office
visits under managed-care programs, and increased options for treatment
have made it crucial that people ask questions, point out symptoms,
push for tests they need, be able to answer their doctors' questions,
and offer insights that can help with diagnosis and treatment. While
a passive approach to healthcare has created problems in the past,
the future it will have even greater consequences.
him write a list of questions for the doctor.
average woman asks four questions during a doctor appointment; the
average man asks none. At the Male Health Center, we can tell when
a woman has
helped a man before a visit because he comes in with a list of questions.
on a problem together.
health challenges are best handled by the couple together. For example,
impotence is a male problem that can be most effectively dealt with
when the man and woman come in together. The same goes for other sexual
dysfunctions like premature ejaculation, depression and stress. Especially
when surgery is involved, we at the Male Health Center have observed
that men whose partners are actively involved tend to recover more
a health diary.
our current healthcare system, people change providers frequently.
Since the only constant is the patient, a health file is important.
the Male Health Center recommend that you keep a health diary of when
you had your last check-up, what the doctor recommended, etc. You can
help him start and maintain his health diary.
his family's health history.
Ask his parents about their health problems, because he may inherit
them. Doctors are discovering many links between inheritance and the
risk of disease. They are urging people to compile a history of the
diseases that run in the family so that the proper preventive steps
can be taken. Most people don't know how old Grandpa was when he had
his first heart attack or what caused Uncle Bill's death. Did his dad
have prostate problems? Compiling his family's health history will help
him and his doctor identify his health priorities.
how to be his personal nurse.
he develops a serious, long-term illness, the women may become the
primary care giver. She needs to learn how she can help him, and also
can take care of herself during this stressful time.
him to exercise and follow a healthy diet.
in diet and exercise are often most lasting when a couple adopts them
together. Also, if she does most of the shopping and cooking, she can
change what he eats at home.
with other women and men.
out how male problems affect other women, and what other women have
done or not done about them. If he has a certain problem, find other
men who he can talk to with the same problem. Talking with another
who shares the same health problem has enormous impact. Possible sources
are other women, support groups, and health organizations. The man's
physician can also perhaps explore other male patients to see if they
might contact your husband to share experiences.
him to share his feelings.
an early age, men are taught to "take it like a man." The
messages from society and the media are strong, but a woman can go
long way toward changing this mentality by telling him it's okay to
show emotions, to cry, to touch, and to talk about his problems. She
can also make a difference for her son by giving him these new messages
when he is young.
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