Breaking the Silence on Men’s Health Issues

When it comes to embarrassing health topics, men tend to be strong and silent, while women are 40% more likely to visit their doctor routinely. One of our goals at Urology of St. Louis is to change this statistic by encouraging men to feel comfortable talking about uncomfortable topics. In this blog, I’m going to break the silence on a few of the common conditions I know men would probably prefer to avoid discussing; erectile dysfunction, penile curvature, vasectomies and prostate cancer.

Erectile Dysfunction

The most common sexual problem men seek advice and treatment for is erectile dysfunction (ED). It’s estimated that 15 million to 30 million men experience some form of ED, and it is a common condition half of men over 40 face. Like many other medical conditions, ED is common, and there is no need to feel embarrassed about it.

Erectile dysfunction varies, ranging from a total inability to achieve erection to an inconsistent ability to do so, or having only brief erections. ED often has a physical cause, such as disease, injury, or side effects of drugs.

As a physician, I regularly see patients with a range of health concerns, and I take pride in being a resource to discuss affordable treatments, procedures, and medications. At USL, we go beyond what a typical free-standing “men’s health clinic” can offer because our approach is to provide patients with the most comprehensive care options, from oral medication to surgery. Significant advancements in treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED) have yielded highly effective solutions, resulting in promising outcomes for individuals seeking treatment.

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Penile Curvature

In the US, it’s estimated that approximately 9% (1 in every 11) of adult men have penile curvature or Peyronie’s disease. Peyronie’s disease is caused by scar tissue (or plaque) that develops in the erectile body of the penis. It is possible for scarring to develop after severe trauma to the penis or after incidental mild trauma during normal intercourse. This scar tissue leads to curvature or bending of a man’s erection. The curvature of the penis may make sexual intercourse painful, difficult, or sometimes impossible. Peyronie’s disease may be treated by surgical and non-surgical treatments.

As a urologist, I can assure you that slight curves in your penis are normal. You don’t need to worry about a curve in your penis as long as it doesn’t disrupt your sex life or cause pain. However, if you are experiencing pain with an erection, a bump or lump under the skin, changes in the shape of the penis when erect such as curvature, an indentation, or narrowing or shortening, it’s time to get it checked out.

At USL, we make diagnosis easy and ensure that you feel comfortable. We understand that it can be difficult to discuss but remember we’re here to help, and we’ve heard it all. Due to the varying severity and types of penile curvature, each case is unique, which is why seeing an expert in this area is even more important. The good news is that there are surgical and nonsurgical treatments available. Your doctor will discuss all options with you and create a treatment plan.

Vasectomies

The politics of birth control has been a hotly debated topic recently. Because of new legislation, vasectomies are on the rise. In the past six months, our practice has seen the number of vasectomies performed at USL almost double.

We typically perform vasectomies in our office under local anesthesia. The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes, and the patient is able to walk out of the office and go home immediately afterward. The discomfort experienced during and after the procedure varies from person to person but is usually minor.  We now utilize a discreet, at home test for confirmation of sterility 3 months afterwards.  In many cases, insurance companies cover most, if not all, of the procedure’s costs.

Men’s health can impact a family’s goals and plans for having children in a variety of ways. Whether a man is seeking assurance regarding the effectiveness of his vasectomy or seeking answers regarding the absence of successful pregnancies, understanding male fertility issues becomes paramount. At USL, we can provide at-home mail-in fertility testing kits to ensure men have access to an easy, convenient way to do this in the privacy of their own homes, and a member of our staff can discuss results and next steps with you.

Prostate Cancer Screenings

Cancer is never something anyone wants to think or talk about, but it’s important for men to understand their risks when it comes to prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men, second only to skin cancer. I urge all my patients to prioritize regular screenings for prostate cancer because early detection is the key to positive outcomes.

The most effective early detection screening for prostate cancer is regular PSA testing. Establishing a baseline through these screenings is essential, as it enables healthcare providers to identify any changes that may occur over time and take appropriate actions. All men should start screening at age 55. However, black men with a family history of breast, prostate or ovarian cancer can benefit from earlier screening, between the ages of 40 and 55.

Through collaborative efforts, the USL team will develop a comprehensive treatment strategy utilizing the latest cutting-edge therapies tailored to your unique situation. We also provide our patients with a nurse navigator to serve as a resource throughout their treatment, ensuring access to:

  • Education about your diagnosis
  • Answers to your questions
  • Timely treatment options and quality care

As a board-certified physician, I am committed to helping you discover a solution for your urologic and sexual health concerns. At our center, we don’t settle for the limitations of a typical men’s health clinic. Instead, we strive to offer the most comprehensive care options available.

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