Research continues to prove that too many men wait until their health concerns hit crisis mode—think persistent agonizing pain that stays on 10—before they’ll even see a doctor. According to a recent study released by the Journal of Health Psychology, guys are also more likely to lie about the severity of what’s going when they finally do speak with professionals. We get it. It’s easy to ditch scheduling annual physician appointments when you’re feeling great and scary to make them when you know something is wrong. But it has to be done.
Here’s a great tip for guys: make a vow to schedule your maintenance health business every year in June. Why? Because June is Men’s Health Month—a natural reminder. Health professionals encourage folks to celebrate by placing an emphasis on disease prevention and early detection; both are achieved with annual check-ups. Prevention is the key to living longer and having a higher quality of life— health is the first form of wealth, right? And let’s address that big what if? If the worst case scenario happens and you do have a major health issue, early detection increases the chances of stopping the progression of an illness and getting you back to healthy. Don’t let youth fool you into thinking your body is all good. Men, including those under 30, grapple with major health issues. Luckily, the body gives us warning signs.
Want to stay fly, happy and virile AF? Check out the warning signs below and schedule and appointment with a licensed health professional ASAP if any of them sound familiar.
1Fewer Hard Times
Erectile dysfunction is unusual for young men and may be indicative of a more serious problem. Stress, steroid use, drug and alcohol use may be the culprits, but it may also be an indicator of diabetes or due to obesity (note: you don’t have to be morbidly overweight to be clinically obese)—and both lead to greater problems. Head to a primary practitioner or urologist who can give you further advice if this occurs.
2You’re Lightening Up
Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eye, and often is a precursor to more serious issues. Gallbladder stones, which occur as a result of fatty foods, and excessive alcohol drinking (what is considered “too much” will differ per person) can cause the condition. Untreated jaundice can lead to liver failure. Schedule an appointment with your primary practitioner or hematologist (liver, gallbladder and pancreas doctor) if you notice any of these symptoms.
Young men who are physically fit may experience chest pain as a result of weight lifting. However, if you experience sharp, dull or crushing pain associated with activity, seek medical advice. Heart disease is the number one killer in the world. Do not smoke and if you do, stop. Heart disease creeps up on you, so if you begin to experience symptoms see your primary practitioner or a cardiologist (heart doctor) for further testing.
4Real Crappy Experiences
Stool is supposed to be brown and can vary to some degree based on the foods we consume. Black stool is abnormal and indicates the presence of blood. Blood in stool can be a result of hemorrhoids, ulcers, or even cancer—all of these conditions can be treated if caught early. Your primary practitioner may refer you to a gastroenterologist for follow up testing.
5 Can’t Stop Pounding
Headaches are common but if they are consistent they may be a warning of more serious conditions. High blood pressure, eye strain, brain abnormalities, stress, or cavities all cause headaches. Go to your health care provider ASAP to determine the source of yours.
If there is pain present when you urinate, medical attention is needed. Sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections cause painful urination. The pain associated with urination may be a tingling, or excruciating but ignoring it may lead to bladder and kidney infection, or ever sterility.
7 Hole in 1, 2 and 3
Brushing and flossing your teeth are the most important things you can do for your heart health. Yes, heart health can be jeopardized by infections in your mouth. Visit your dentist regularly.
8 Your Back’s At It
Lifting heavy objects or weight lifting may be stressful on your back, however some back pain may not be associated with muscle aches. Lower back pain, or flank pain, can be caused by kidney infections or kidney stones. If pain persists after taking muscle relaxants or applying heat, see your primary care provider.
9Can’t Get Your Footing
Whether you play in a pick up game in the park or football at your family reunion, injuries can happen. Some sports injuries require medical attention and if ignored can lead to deformities, recurring injuries and in some cases surgery. An orthopedic surgeon can diagnose, treat or refer you to therapy if needed.
10 Yuck Mouth
It may not be that salami sandwich with onions that’s causing your bad breath. Conditions such as gum disease, cavities, mouth ulcers, sinus infections or stomach disease may cause malodorous breath. Masking the odor is not recommended so start off with a visit to the dentist who will fix the problem or refer you to a specialist.