It may come as no surprise that men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor in the past year. Some men feel that they are not “real men” if they complain or can’t deal with pain and will wait until the ache, lump, or rash gets too bad to ignore before consulting a healthcare professional. However, even the most proactive, informed men fall victim to widely circulated health myths. In honor of Men’s Health Month, we think it’s time to set the record straight about these common men’s health myths:
The Lie: If your workout isn’t hurting, it’s not working.
The Truth: Pain does not indicate gain. Working out until it hurts can actually cause injury.
The Lie: Wearing a hat or blow drying your hair can cause baldness.
The Truth: Baldness is caused by genetics – and not just on your mother’s side of the family, as another common myth claims – and hormonal influences. Hot air from a blow dryer or wearing hats will not damage your hair follicles and cause you to go bald.
The Lie: Men who wear briefs have fewer sperm.
The Truth: Though extended exposure to high temperatures can affect sperm count, there has been no conclusive evidence that wearing briefs can lower your sperm count.
The Lie: Only women get breast cancer.
The Truth: Though women are about 100 times more likely to get breast cancer, men still have breast tissue and can be affected. It is estimated that about one in 100 men will contract breast cancer. Look for lumps, thickening of breast tissue, any indentation or redness of the nipple, or nipple discharge, as these are all signs of breast cancer.
The Lie: Knocking back too many cold ones will give you a “beer belly.”
The Truth: Storing extra fat around your midsection can be caused by ingesting excess calories of any kind, not just from beer or other alcoholic beverages. However, alcohol tends to be high in calories, and it can be easy to overdo it while drinking.
The Lie: Men hit their sexual peak at age 18.
The Truth: Though a man’s testosterone peaks at around age 18, this does not equate to a peak in sexual appetite or performance. Additionally, men who invest in their overall health may actually be able to boost their sexual hormones in their 20s, 30s, or even 40s.
The Lie: Erectile dysfunction isn’t a real health issue.
The Truth: Though it may feel awkward to bring up erectile dysfunction, or ED, with your doctor, it is important that you do. ED can be an early sign of heart disease and can make existing heart disease more dangerous. Both are related to atherosclerosis, which is a buildup of plaque in the arteries, but your doctor can recommend lifestyle changes, such as cutting down on alcohol or quitting smoking, to keep the condition from worsening.
Looking for a physician?
Saint Agnes Care has several providers who are accepting new patients at locations in Fresno and Clovis. Request an appointment online at samc.com/choose-saint-agnes-care, or by calling (559) 450-7267.