Men’s Health: Don’t put off your visit to the doctor

by Dr. Greg Eckel
Nature Cures Clinic physician

In medical school I was taught that men do not go to the doctor as often as women. That idea is also present in medical literature.

Image courtesy mikebaird - flickr.com
Image courtesy mikebaird - flickr.com

Out here in practice, I’d say this tends to be the case as well. The box that has been drawn around men is one that doesn’t allow us to talk about ourselves. We are to be “men.” Unfortunately, being “men” means we tend to wait longer before going in and talking about aches, pains, or other symptoms that our bodies are experiencing. Putting off the visit can be deadly at worst and prolong your suffering.

If you have seen me talk, you know there is nothing “normal” about having a symptom. I’ll encourage you (or your loved one) to take action and come in and talk about it. We offer a complimentary consult for new patients to the practice, to see if we are a good fit and if we think we can help them.

A quick scan of men’s health topics on the internet reveals prostate issues, performance issues (such as erectile dysfunction) and libido concerns. While these are definitely concerns, surely men aren’t that shallow. Thankfully, clinical practice proves otherwise. Men do come to the doctor’s office with a wide array of health concerns. Heart disease, cancer, and accidents are the leading three issues for men that result in death. (CDC, 2006) You can find all sorts of information on our website with particulars on each of these topics.

While women’s menopause is a well known transition, men’s andropause is just starting to make the headlines. Symptoms of andropause include a loss of strength, bone loss, mood changes, and fatigue. The amount of stress in our daily lives contributes to this change and can lead to early abnormal aging patterns. I always will stop people from talking about their symptoms as just normal aging. One note on “normal” aging, I lived in Austria as an undergraduate and remember hiking mountain trails with 70 and 80 year old friends. That is what I call “normal” aging. We do quite a bit of hormone testing in the clinic to get to the root of one’s issue.

Any discussion of men’s health will eventually mention the prostate. All men will have prostate issues at some point in their lives. On autopsy, most men in their 8th and 9th decade had some beginning sign of cancer of the prostate — it’s just not what they died from. Vitamin D levels are integral to a good prognosis of the prostate. Cancer rates are lower with ideal levels of Vitamin D. If you develop cancer of the prostate, prognosis is better if you have ideal levels of Vitamin D. There are way too many biopsies of the prostate based on prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels alone.

For most people, when you hear you may have cancer, you’ll do just about anything to make sure you don’t. However, the research shows a watch/ wait and retest approach to be the best route for this process. I have seen way too many men on the up/ down psychological roller coaster of testing and biopsy. With a thorough blood workup that is looking at optimal wellness levels and whole person approach, we can help with the process if you happen to be on the roller coaster.

Our purpose is to help as many as we can achieve optimal wellness through natural healthcare! If you have been thinking about coming in please take this as your invitation. If you have a man in your life that hasn’t been into the doctor in awhile, please give them a gift, our complimentary consult, to come in and talk.