Remember, Remember the Meaning of Movember!
Take a look around your workplace right now. Are you seeing more moustaches sprouting up on your male colleagues than usual? No, they haven’t lost some unfortunate bet with their mates, or just trying to keep upper lip warm as the temperatures plummet. In fact, they will be taking part in one of the most popular men’s health initiatives on the planet – ‘Movember’, the moniker that has long been given to November’s Men’s Health Awareness Month. Movember was actually founded back in 2003 by some mates in pub just outside of Melbourne, Australia. Sipping their beers, they decided on their mission – formulate a men’s health campaign that would involve the growth of a moustache with like-minded people, and to have fun along the way. The term ‘Movember’ was then coined. The month-long awareness campaign hopes to reach out to all men, urging them to talk about real issues and to improve the face of men's health, one moustache at a time. Movember has now rapidly spread across the world, with campaigns in more than 20 countries. Closer to home, it seems many British men are still reluctant to see a GP and discuss any lingering health concerns, deciding to instead neglect their worries. Shockingly, around one in five men will die before reaching their 65th birthday. A little look at some alarming facts could bring some answers however. Men’s Health Forum state that a staggering 67% of men are overweight or obese, far more at risk of dying from heart disease and cancer, twice as likely than women to have diabetes, and four out of five suicides are carried out by men. If all that wasn’t enough, men are more prone to alcohol abuse and smoking to excessive levels. Even with all this in mind, men are only half as likely as women to see their GP or dentist about a health worry or speak to a pharmacist for health advice. Therefore, they are more likely to require hospital treatment due to not being given a diagnosis at an earlier stage and will die an average of four years before women. For 30 days during the month of November let your moustache transform you into a walking, talking advertisement for men’s health and remind everyone about the importance of getting regular health checks, which in turn will lead to an earlier diagnosis of potential serious conditions. Here we take a look at just some of the conditions that can affect men and what to do about them: A lump: Testicular cancer remains as the most common cancer in men aged 25-49 years. Like everything else, an early detection is the key and the cancer is highly treatable and curable if found early enough. Testicular cancer begins as an abnormal growth or tumour that develops in one or even both testicles. Although there are many types of testicular cancer, the most common is the germ cell tumour. Those particularly at risk include men with a family history such as a brother or father diagnosed with testicular cancer, men that have experienced a previous occurrence of testicular cancer, and men who have undescended testes at birth. Though most lumps are not cancerous, see a GP if you spot any kind of lump, swelling, pain, or if the testicles feel heavier than normal or have changed in shape or size. Check your testicles regularly, a warm environment is best to do this, for example, the shower. Make sure you find somewhere you can relax and won’t be disturbed. Roll one of your testicles between your thumb and fingers to check for any lumps or swelling, then repeat on the other testicle. Erectile Dysfunction: Male impotence is fairly common, affecting up to half of men between the ages of 40 and 70. The cause could be rooted towards psychological issues (such as anxiety, stress, or depression), or physical problems. Suffering with impotence long-term and not looking to have it treated, may in itself then lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, or depression. It is important to see a GP if you are experience erectile dysfunction, not just to discuss erectile dysfunction treatment, but the fact it could be a sign of underlying physical issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. For men experiencing difficulties in the bedroom, it is also wise to talk about this with your partner instead of fabricating reasons to avoid sex altogether, as this could lead to feelings of rejection, or even suspicions of an affair from the partner. The most popular treatments for erectile dysfunction include Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. Change in bowel habits: The fact remains that men are 35% more at risk than women of developing bowel cancer, and the disease totals 10% of all deaths from cancer in men. It is important for men to understand the early warning signs and not just see the doctor merely after being nagged for months by a loved one. Most people can experience a change in their bowel functions occasionally, but if this noticeable change has been going on for three or more weeks, or if there is blood within the bowel motions, it’s imperative to get to a doctor as soon as possible. Also be aware of symptoms such as a pain or lump in the abdomen, breathlessness, dizziness, tiredness or unexplained weight loss. The above symptoms could simply be irritable bowel syndrome, but bowel cancer has to be ruled out – the earlier the better as then it can be treated. If you are aged between 60 and 74 in England, you can obtain a bowel cancer testing kit by phoning 0800 707 60 60. Mental Health and Suicide: As highlighted earlier, four in five suicides involve men, and untreated mental health conditions dramatically increase the risk of suicide. Factors that are closely linked to a higher risk of suicide include drug and alcohol abuse, family history of mental illness, isolation or loneliness, and stressful life problems such as unemployment, relationship difficulties, or the death of a loved one. The distress by men at these times can often mean they cannot see any way out of their rut and typically shun those around them who try to offer help or support. If you, or someone you happen to know, has consistent low moods, this should be taken seriously and not ignored. Things to look out for include struggling to concentrate, aggression, insomnia, unable to focus at work and losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy. The first step to the road of recovery is acknowledging there is a problem. Talk to a GP, they are not there to judge or mock, they will listen intently to you and discuss the appropriate course of action to take with regards to treatment. This could be counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and/or medication. Friends and family of anyone with these problems should remember that simply talking, listening and always being there for the person can prove massively beneficial. Medical Specialists® Pharmacy hope we have enlightened men everywhere about Movember and the importance behind its meaning, which is ultimately boost awareness and understanding of serious male health conditions. We ourselves have long understood the stress can be caused by male oriented conditions such as impotence, premature ejaculation, male pattern baldness, etc., and are proudly supporting Men’s Health Awareness Month. We know that the aforementioned problems can all damage confidence and create a loss of self-esteem - unless discussed with loved ones and a GP to decide on how to go forward from there. You can get involved with Movember today by growing your moustache and get ready for a much hairier month! On the Movember Foundation’s website includes plenty of ways to support the awareness month, such as fundraising, hosting an event, how to donate, and even style tips on how to make your moustache stand out from the crowd!