Men's Health Archive

Articles

Considering testosterone therapy?

35% of men over 45 may have low testosterone levels.

Testosterone therapy is more popular than ever, with global sales expected to reach $5 billion by 2017. The hormone offers the potential to reverse the clock by improving energy, mood, and sex drive, to name a few benefits. But the therapy may not be right for everyone, and may pose risks for some.

Should you get a PSA test?

The latest thinking on this controversial screening.

If you're wondering whether to have your PSA tested, you're not alone. Some experts think you should have the test, but others disagree. In May 2012, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued its final report concerning screening for prostate cancer using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. After weighing the best evidence, the expert panel concluded that PSA screening for prostate cancer should not be offered routinely to all men.

When used as a screening tool, the PSA test aims to check seemingly healthy men for hidden cancer at an early stage, when (hypothetically) it may be more curable. To date, the most positive research findings have shown that screening with PSA, at best, prevents about one death from cancer for every 1,000 men who have the test. This means many men are diagnosed and treated for cancers that would not have made them sick or shortened their lives. For such men, the treatment—which can produce side effects—is worse than the disease.

Should I worry about finasteride side effects even after stopping the drug?

Some men who took finasteride for urinary problems (Proscar) or balding (Propecia) have reported permanent sexual side effects such as low sex drive or ejaculation problems. It is not established for certain that the side effects are caused by the drug.

Your PSA test result: What's next?

If the test result hints at cancer, your doctor will need to rule out noncancerous causes and may perform additional tests.

When you take a test for a serious medical condition, most of all you want certainty: Do you have the disease, or do you not? But the only thing that you can rely on about PSA testing for prostate cancer is that the results will be uncertain.

When it's okay to delay hernia surgery

Unless a hernia is causing you distress or limiting your activities, you can safely delay repair.

A dull ache and a lump in the groin or scrotum—these are the typical signs of an inguinal (groin) hernia. According to an August 2012 report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, about 40% of men will develop an inguinal hernia at some point in their lives.

What you need to know about: vaccines

Now that flu season is here you may be scheduling your annual vaccination against influenza. But this can also be a good time see if all of your shots are up to date. It's important, since immunization to disease doesn't last a lifetime.

"Pretty much everything gets weaker as we age—our joints, heart, lungs, kidneys, brain. The same thing happens to our immune system," explains Dr. Paul Sax, clinical director of the division of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Should you skip your PSA test?

The science is uncertain for now, so arm yourself with deep knowledge of the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening.

In May 2012, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued its final report concerning screening for prostate cancer using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. After weighing the evidence, the expert panel concluded that PSA screening for prostate cancer should not be offered routinely to men—typically as part of a regular physical exam. Screening means testing a seemingly healthy person for signs of a hidden disease, like prostate cancer.

Calcium supplement basics

Q. I am 72 years old and in good health, but I am lactose intolerant and can't drink milk to obtain calcium. Should I take calcium supplements?

A. Osteoporosis (low bone density) is less common in men than women, although one in 15 men will have a hip or spinal fracture in his lifetime. Risk factors for osteoporosis include smoking, low body weight, sedentary lifestyle, and low testosterone levels.

Testing your testosterone: It's tricky

Diagnosing and confirming low testosterone requires thorough lab testing and careful interpretation of the results.

Feeling less pep in your step? Less interested in sex? Befuddled by a persistent brain fog that hobbles your mood and mental performance? There are many reasons why you might feel this way. Testosterone deficiency is but one possibility.

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