It is a well-known fact that men are less likely to go and see a doctor about a health problem1, but you have made the decision to go and have an appointment about some problems you have been experiencing recently. You sit in the waiting room and nervously wait. The doctor calls you into his office and you begin to describe your symptoms; frequent urination, blood in your urine and a burning feeling during urination2. Your doctor decides it is best to give you a DRE test3 for prostate cancer and asks you if this is something you would be able to partake in now.
You agree and decide it’s just better to go ahead. After the examination is complete your doctor tells you that they need to carry out further examinations to determine the cause of your symptoms. You’ve been told at this stage that you could be experiencing one of three things, acute prostatitis, chronic prostatitis or prostate cancer2.
You and your family have arrived at the hospital, one million and one thoughts are racing through your mind right now. You have been told that you will have an MRI scan, a PSA test, and a transperineal biopsy3, just to be 100% sure that you are clear of prostate cancer. After the PSA test, it is revealed you have raised PSA levels which could indicate prostate cancer4. To be sure the consultant wants to send you for a transperineal biopsy5.
After the procedure, you are taken to a ward feeling dizzy from the after-effects of the general anaesthetic. You are not sure if you can make it to the bathroom on your own. You call for the assistance of a nurse and tell her your issue and she hands you a male urinal from your bedside table and puts a sachet of VernaGel inside. Lucky for you it is one of our Vernacare pulp male urinals, allowing you to relieve yourself in a dignified and risk-free manner. You hand the male urinal to the nurse and she takes it to the sluice room to be disposed of safely and hygienically.
Lying in your hospital bed your mind begins to wonder, you start thinking about your impending diagnosis and how it might affect your life and your family’s lives. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to such a life-changing event. Changes in your body image can affect your confidence and self-esteem. As a male, you are used to the stereotype that you are the provider of the household. You may begin to feel isolated and even though you are told you are cared for and you have the support of your family and friends you can't help but feel alone.
For many men, this is a common feeling, 12.5%6 of men in the UK are suffering from mental health disorders such as:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Panic disorder
It is important for men to break the stereotype of not talking about their health, which is why we at Vernacare have written this blog post. We would like to highlight the importance of difficult conversations and urge all the men reading this blog to have that talk with a friend or family member if you feel like you are struggling with something no matter how big or small the problem.
If you feel like you need to talk to someone about an issue you are facing and are not sure where to go, here are some helpful tips you might find useful:
Don’t “man up” talking is good, talk to someone close to you or someone who can give you professional advice.
Do not try to self-diagnose or use the internet to diagnose you, only use the internet for information.
Remember that you are not alone, there are just under 4 billion men in the world7 at this moment in time, and at some point, any one of them can have a mental or physical health problem.
A healthy body is a healthy mind – make small adjustments in your life such as taking a walk during your lunch time. Walking can help you improve your physical health but also clear your head8.
If you feel like you need to contact someone about mental or physical health follow these links:
1. bbc.co.uk. (2018). BBC News - Women 'more likely to report ill health than men'. [online] Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8588686.stm [Accessed 27 Nov. 2018].
2. Charles Patrick Davis, P. (2018). Prostatitis vs. Prostate Cancer Symptoms and Signs. [online] eMedicineHealth. Available at: https://www.emedicinehealth.com/prostatitis_vs_prostate_cancer_symptoms_and_signs/article_em.htm [Accessed 27 Nov. 2018].
3. Prostate Cancer UK. (2018). Digital rectal examination (DRE). [online] Available at: https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/prostate-tests/digital-rectal-examination-dre [Accessed 27 Nov. 2018].
4. Prostate Cancer UK. (2018). Further help. [online] Available at: https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/further-help [Accessed 27 Nov. 2018].
5. uk. (2018). Diagnosis. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-cancer/diagnosis/ [Accessed 27 Nov. 2018].
6. org.uk. (2018). Key data: mental health. [online] Available at: https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/key-data-mental-health [Accessed 27 Nov. 2018].
7. Anon, (2018). [online] Available at: https://countrymeters.info/en/World [Accessed 27 Nov. 2018].
8. org. (2018). The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise: The Exercise Prescription for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress. [online] Available at: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm [Accessed 27 Nov. 2018].