The month of June was Men’s Health Month, and the goal of this observance is to encourage every man to take charge of his health. This involves increasing awareness of making healthy living decisions and also conditions specific to men’s health.

This is a great way to focus on potentially lethal diseases, such as cancer – however, there are many additional conditions specific to men that not only affect their quantity of life but their quality of life as well.

I practice urology here in Chaffee County. I commonly see men go far too long living with conditions such as low testosterone, sexual dysfunction and bothersome urinary symptoms. These issues have profound effects on a man’s quality of life. Patients often say to me, “Well, this is part of aging.” While this may be true, addressing these issues with a variety of treatments, both simple and complex, can be life changing.

For example, let us examine a topic both bothersome and difficult for men to discuss: urinary symptoms. Many men suffer from urinary urgency, frequency, incomplete emptying and even getting up two to three times per night. This is extraordinarily common. In fact, I often tell my patients in their 50s, 60s and 70s that the vast majority of their peers suffer from this issue as well: Just put a percent sign behind your age and that’s usually how many men have the same problem.

Due to how common these conditions are, there have been many technological advancements to treat these issues in the last five years. For instance, I have been able to get many men relief from their symptoms or off their prostate medications with a clinic-based procedure that uses water vapor to shrink the prostate.

Another topic men I treat have trouble discussing is sexual dysfunction. I understand this can be embarrassing to talk about; however, it is important, as sexual dysfunction can be the first sign of cardiovascular disease in many men, one the leading causes of death in the United States.

It is important to note that every man has different health risk factors based on age, family history and lifestyle. You can be proactive in working to prevent illness and detect disease before it progresses. If you wait for severe symptoms to appear, it could be a warning sign that your condition has progressed to a serious level, and it may be too late to treat successfully.

It is critically important to develop a relationship with a primary care physician who can properly screen and treat for diseases specific to men and appropriately refer you to a urologist or specialist when needed.

I encourage you to use this coming month to educate yourself on men’s health and take steps toward improving your own health. In this process, be sure to seek medical care with any concerns you may have or to discuss what you can do to be proactive in prevention.

A Colorado native, Dr. Cole Wiedel earned his medical degree and completed his residency in urologic surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora. His practice includes men’s health, treatment of prostate and bladder conditions, kidney stones, incontinence, urologic cancer and pediatric urology. He sees patients in the Outpatient Pavilion on Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center’s main campus in Salida.

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