Men’s health awareness month

As Movember draws to an end along with National men’s health awareness month, we thought that we would put together some health issues that affect men more than women. You can read this after you have shaved off your moustache (but lets face it, who is really shaving right now when you can hide behind your mask anyway?!) 😷

Firstly, an issue that is being highlighted more but still is something of a taboo subject for men are mental health issues. There is certainly more awareness and campaigns such as ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ but still, three times as many men die by suicide compared to women. Only 36% of men with mental health issues have accessed mental health services in the UK, men are much less likely to get help. Men are also more likely to become dependent on alcohol than women. This leads to other illnesses which are again more prevalent in men such as cirrhosis of the liver.

So let’s look at some spinal conditions that affect men;

Ankylosing spondylitis

AS is a type of arthritis and is considered a long term condition in which the spine and other parts of the body can become inflamed 🔥

Over time the bones of the spine start to fuse together making the spine less flexible and giving the hunched over posture.

AS tends to show up in teenagers and young adults and is twice as likely to affect men than women.

Symptoms include;

  • Back pain and stiffness; especially in the morning or of you have been still for a while
  • Neck, hip and shoulder pain
  • Pain and swelling in other parts of the body which is caused by inflammation. Also pain where the tendons attach to the bones 🦴
  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue) 😴

Pay special attention to what time of day the pain starts and if for example it eases after running or walking but gets worse with rest.

Another sign or symptoms of AS is an eye infection, sensitivity to light or blurred vision 👀

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is always better to get checked out, the sooner, the better.

Reactive arthritis

Previously known as ‘Reiter’s syndrome’ RA is a condition that causes redness and swelling of the joints of the body, especially the knees, hips, feet, toes and ankles 👣

RA usually begins after an infection, usually a sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia or a bowel infection such as food poisoning 🍽️

RA usually clears up after a few months with no ongoing problems and can effect both men and women but it is more common in men between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.

Along with joint and tendon pain, RA can also have the following symptoms;

  • Genital tract pain causing pain when urinating or discharge.
  • Eye pain causing redness, a sticky discharge (conjunctivitis) and rarely, inflammation of the eye 👁️

If your eye starts to become painful and vision misty then it is important to go to A&E immediately 🏥

Check yourself early and if you think that you may have an STI, book in at your local sexual health clinic. The earlier you receive care and treatment, the better! Don’t freak out!

 In honour of Movember, remember a couple of things too:

 Know your nuts! 🥜

Get to know the feeling and shape of your testicles in the same way as woman are taught to do the same about their breats. This makes it esier to spot any changes earlier so you can get help.

Know your numbers!

At 50, speak to your GP about getting a PSA test to check for early signs or prostate cancer. If you are of African or Caribbean descent or have a father or brother with prostate cancer, this conversation should be had a 45 years old.

And finally…

We are here to support you. If you want to speak to someone confidentially or need help with the musculoskeletal symptoms of arthritis, we are here for you. Do not suffer in silence! 💪