Men's Health Archive


Is there a connection between Flomax and cataracts?

In short, yes. If you take Flomax (tamsulosin), be sure to tell your eye doctor before having cataract surgery.

Harvard experts discuss surgical options for benign prostatic hyperplasia

Three doctors describe some surgical options for treating an enlarged prostate, including the ones they think patients prefer.

What to do about hemorrhoids

Bulging blood vessels in the backside can be a pain, but you have many options for treating them.

Some women have a passing encounter with hemorrhoids during pregnancy. By midlife, many more of us have had one or more of the classic symptoms, which include rectal pain, itching, bleeding, and possibly prolapse (protrusion of hemorrhoids into the anal canal). Leakage of feces may also occur. Although hemorrhoids are rarely dangerous, they can be a painful recurrent bother. Fortunately, there's a lot we can do about them.

GERD: Heartburn and more

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. 

Doctors call it gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Millions of men call it heartburn, and many others have coughing, wheezing, or hoarseness without realizing that GERD is to blame. By any name, GERD is common, bothersome, and sometimes serious. It is also expensive, draining the American economy of more than $9 billion a year. But once you know you have GERD, you can control it and prevent complications.

Treating prostate cancer: No rush to judgment

At your annual check-up, your doctor discusses the pros and cons of a PSA test. You decide to go ahead, and a week later you get a call with the unwelcome news that the result is high. The next step is a repeat test, with another week of waiting. High again, so you're referred to a urologist. It takes three weeks to get the appointment, another week to get your ultrasound-guided prostate biopsy, then a really long week of waiting. Now the verdict: You have prostate cancer. Fortunately, though, it looks like early disease that's very likely curable.

By now, nearly two months have elapsed since your first PSA test. Since your PSA was just 6 nanograms per milliliter, your risk of widespread disease is extremely low, and so you don't need to spend time lining up scans and waiting for more results. You're eager to get on with treatment, but your primary care doctor tells you it's not so simple. You have a choice of treatment, since surgery, radiation, and even deferred therapy ("active surveillance") are all reasonable. Your doctor sets up appointments with the urologist, a radiation oncologist, and a medical oncologist so you can get a full range of opinions. It takes another month to make the rounds, and then you spend a long weekend at a country inn to think things over with your wife.

Breast disorders in men

The male breast is much smaller than its female counterpart, and it cannot produce milk. Because of this smaller size and simpler structure, breast disease is much less common in men than women. Still, men can develop important breast problems, both benign and malignant. Early detection is the key to a successful outcome, so every man should understand the basic elements of male breast disease.

Jogger's nipple

Irritation of the nipple is more common than enlargement of the breast itself. Pain, redness, and even bleeding of the male nipple are fairly common complications of intense, prolonged exercise — hence the common names "jogger's" and "marathoner's" nipple. The cause is not running itself but the mechanical irritation of the runner's shirt rubbing up and down against his chest, especially in hot, humid weather.

You don't have to give up running to cure jogger's nipple. Instead, apply some petroleum jelly to your nipples before you run. Plastic Band-Aids are even better; round "spots" are particularly handy. Or simply run without a shirt when it's hot or humid.

Lifestyle therapy for prostate cancer: Does it work?

Prostate cancer is the most common internal malignancy in American men; it's second only to lung cancer among the leading causes of male cancer deaths. That makes it an urgent problem, and it is finally getting the scientific respect it deserves. Still, despite thorough investigations that have yielded major advances, many aspects of the disease remain unknown.

One area of uncertainty is the cause of prostate cancer. Genetics certainly play an important role, but heredity cannot explain most cases. Lifestyle factors have also been implicated; the leading candidate is diet. A high consumption of saturated fat from animal sources is linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, while whole grains, tomatoes, some vegetables, fish, and soy appear protective. Although the data are less complete, red wine may be protective, while a very high consumption of calcium may be harmful. Some studies also implicate alpha-linolenic acid, the omega-3 fat in flaxseeds and canola oil, as a risk factor. Other lifestyle elements that have been linked to the disease include obesity, lack of exercise, and heavy smoking and drinking.

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