Men's Most Embarrassing Health Problems

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Men's Most Embarrassing Health Problems

Ever wondered why you're still getting zits? Curious about why your breath smells like something might be dying inside of you?

You don't say anything to your doctor, though, because you're too afraid that you're just being crazy, or worse, there might actually be something severely wrong.

Men tend to get macho when it comes to personal health. The truth is that most of the health problems you don't want to talk about are easily cured.

Hemorrhoids, bad breath, zits, STDs -- more often than not, these things can be addressed in a simple conversation with your doctor.

Don't worry. Your doctor won't tell anyone. He or she can't, legally.

Here are the key ailments guys don't bring up (but should). Read on; chances are you're going to find something you've clammed up about.


Acne, typically thought of as a teenage blight, can plague people well into their late 20s, and beyond.

Your doctor is likely to assume you don't mind it unless you tell him or her otherwise.

These days, there are a number of simple, cheap and effective treatments for zits.

Over-the-counter creams work for most simple outbreaks. For more severe cases, your doctor can prescribe drugs that often make a great difference in just a few days to a few weeks.


Warts are not from something you did but rather a gift passed on by others. This includes foot ("plantar") warts, which are commonly transmitted in communal showers in places such as dorms or gyms.

Your doctor can freeze them off with nitrogen or burn them off with acid -- that manly enough for you? These treatments hardly hurt at all.


Even ancient Sumerians endured the sensation of urinating shards of glass rather than admitting to an irresponsible romp that might have caused a sexually transmitted disease.

But for those who are suffering, you're not alone. According to the American Social Health Association, there are approximately 19 million new cases of STDs each year.

Docs have heard all the stories (and all the excuses). So, speak up. The sooner you talk, the sooner the pain goes away.

There are about two dozen STDS. Most are curable, sometimes with just one treatment or a few days of pills.

Bad Breath

Bad breath commonly results from bacteria feeding on food stuck in your teeth and gums. The simplest treatment, in that case, is good oral hygiene: proper brushing and flossing.

Other common causes include post-nasal drip (leaking sinuses), infected gums, bad heartburn (acid reflux) or not eating or drinking anything for a while. On rare occasions, more serious causes can be identified, such as oral abscesses or even oral cancer.

Chances are, it isn't serious. Your doctor can easily help you sort out the cause and ways to treat it.


In your colon lives a multi-cultural community of bacteria that helps you digest food and extract its nutrients.

Farts are commonly from what's left over.

The frequency and amount can also be related to the foods you eat -- some are more prone to cause gas.

The smell associated with flatulence is typically related to the food you've consumed; particularly sulfur-containing foods such as garlic, onions and eggs. People with lactose intolerance are missing an enzyme, and the result may cause more gas.

Your doctor can explain ways to adjust your diet to improve your situation, although you'll never be completely rid of it. Other causes are possible, as well, which a frank conversation with your doctor can sort out.

Body Odor

Body odor commonly results from the presence of bacteria that normally live on the skin and break down sweat. Sometimes, better hygiene fixes the odor. Yet excessive sweating can itself be a burden for some people. For extreme cases, some doctors are now treating the problem with Botox.

Diet also affects your personal bouquet. That garlic aroma from the pizza you ate not only winds up on your breath but also in your pores.

In rare cases, body odor can be a sign that your liver isn't working properly or that you have a skin infection. Even certain medicines can affect how you smell.

A simple conversation with your doctor can help identify potential problems.

Jock Itch

Jock itch is a misleading name, as even us Wii warriors can suffer from this pesky fungus.

Doctors pick up on these kinds of fungal skin problems all day, even when they're not the reason the patient is visiting the office.

Yet if you don't bring up the problem, your doc will assume it doesn't bother you.

Jock itch, like most skin fungi, is typically treatable with over-the-counter medicines. Your doctor can point you to the ones that are the most effective.


While other STDs cause embarrassment, HIV causes tremendous fear. The situation only gets worse if the disease is left undiagnosed and untreated. And don't think just because you don't have symptoms you're disease free. You can have HIV for as long as ten years and still not show signs of it.

Any time you're worrying about an STD, you should also think about HIV, and vice versa. These days, testing for HIV is confidential, quick, accurate and easy, often involving no needles.

The effects of going untreated, not to mention the risks of infecting others, far outweigh any potential embarrassment. Get tested.


Reluctant to discuss that pain in your butt?

Consider that your doctor is one of the only people to whom you can say the word "hemorrhoids" and not hear some kind of snicker, joke or commentary worthy of a fourth-grader. That alone should make the topic easier to bring it up.

You can rest easy -- most cases are treated successfully with very simple steps such as dietary changes and medicated creams. Some cases can be cured in a couple of days.

Erectial Dysfunction

While everyone considers erectile dysfunction a problem for older guys, the fastest-growing population of Viagra users is 25-to-44-year-old males.

For many men, impotence is the most embarrassing and terrifying problem imaginable, and, as a result, they have great difficulty talking about it. Yet doctors deal with it all the time; usually no medicines are needed, and when they are, medication is cheap and effective.

Mental Health

Men have a particularly difficult time recognizing the symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as more debilitating illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

It's often a girlfriend or spouse who picks up on them.

Depression is so common, that it's said one in five men suffer from it at some point. Mental health issues are legitimate medical problems, and there are a variety of effective treatments.

Weight Gain

In high school you could scarf down burgers and pizza and still be thin as a rail. Once you get into your 20s, your metabolism slows down.

Society may say only women should worry about their weight, but men are just as often concerned about that spare tire.

Being overweight brings a host of potentially serious health problems. Is your cholesterol increasing? Your blood pressure rising? Are you becoming diabetic? A doctor can check. And being overweight can have side effects that you don't expect, like having trouble sleeping.

Your doctor can outline a diet and exercise routine that will get your weight in line, as well as check and see whether you're one of the few who might be an appropriate candidate for gastric-bypass surgery.-

Speak Up

All doctors worth their salt will listen without judging and will simply do what they can to help. If you get a whiff of judgment, find a new doctor. That doesn't mean that he or she might not give you some tough love, but most docs will leave it at that.

Confidentiality is not only a professional obligation, it's the law. Doctors are simply not allowed to discuss specifics of your care with anyone else, not even with other doctors, unless they get your written permission first. This makes talking with your doctor more secure than your wireless Internet.

Believe it or not, doctors want to hear this stuff. Asking questions, even those you may find too embarrassing or too stupid, lets a doctor know you actually think about your health. Doctors actually appreciate when you trust them enough to tell them embarrassing stuff or ask questions.

Want to learn more about how to successfully navigate the doctor's office? Check out 10 Questions You Must Ask Your Doctor and Men's Embarrassing Sexual Health Topics.

Dr. Ken Spaeth is a physician and Research Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is also co-author of the Bioterrorism Sourcebook. You can E-mail him your questions.

Is your cell phone causing your spirm count to drop?

A Tough Call

For the past two decades, fertility rates have dropped in industrialized nations (Europe and the United States) without any clear explanation why. While it's possible that factors such as pesticides or obesity may be influencing the population decline, many scientists are looking at something you may have in your hand at this very moment: the cell phone. Could it be damaging your sperm? While the research isn't definitive, click to read facts that Dr. Ken Spaeth, a Research Fellow at Harvard School of Public Health, says you should keep in mind.

Cell Phones and Sperm

Researchers have found that cell phone signals can alter four essential features of fertile, grade A sperm: 1. Mobility -- How well they move; 2. Viability -- How tough they are; 3. Sperm count -- How many there are; 4. Morphology -- Proper composition.

What Studies Show

In men who use cell phones, multiple studies have shown that at least one, and sometimes all four of these categories were impaired compared with the sperm of men not using cell phones at all, and the groups that clocked more hours on the phone had correspondingly worse results.

Making the Call

What's causing the damage? Theories vary. Many researchers suspect radio frequency (RF) energy, a form of electromagnetic (EM) energy necessary for making a call. EM waves are a common part of modern life and include technologies from radios to X-ray machines. The higher the EM energy emitted, though, the more damaging it can be. While cell phone RFs are considered low energy, young sperm cells are fragile and easily damaged, and thus may be sensitive to even low energy waves. Another possibility is that cell phone use impairs the brain's regulation of the hormones that control sperm production.

Connecting the Signal

Other research suggests that radio frequencies increase the temperature of the newly forming sperm, essentially frying them. (And the closer you're keeping the phone to your boys, such as in your front pocket, the higher the chance for impact.)

More than Just Your Boys

While the jury is still out, there's also evidence that radio frequencies may impact the brain, the heart, blood pressure and the ability to concentrate, as well as slowing our reflexes.

Change Your Plan?

Should you throw away your phone? That's probably unnecessary (not to mention impractical), but being cautious about what's still a relatively new technology isn't a bad idea. When the option is available, use a land line rather than your cell phone. (This also saves you calling-plan minutes.)

Use Your Head

An earpiece is never unreasonable and may be protecting that other sexual organ, your brain.

A Little Breathing Room

Another reasonable option: maintaining some distance from your phone even when it's not in use. When you can, try to avoid keeping your phone in your lap or pocket. Given the minimal research data available, it's tough to say how far a phone should be kept from you, and there are comfort, practical and dorkiness considerations, to be sure. Your Man-bag, your backpack and even a clip-on holder that's positioned at your side rather than in front are all better options than keeping it in your front pocket.

Judging the Signal

Why isn't everyone concerned about these findings? First, the studies on this are few and small-scale, so many are unconvinced. Additionally, evaluating the safety of cell phones is tough for several reasons: 1. The technology changes rapidly and varies between different makes and models. 2. Callers don't use cell phones at the same rate or exactly the same way. Even use by a single user varies in frequency within a day and from day to day. 3. It may be years before any health problems arise. So health effects may not be picked up for a potentially long time. Given what is known and what is not known, it's not unreasonable to be as careful as you can. -- Article by Dr. Ken Spaeth Curious about how to increase your libido? Take a look at these tips on natural remedies

Need Some More South of the Border Advice?

If you want to improve your love life check out these tips on increasing your libido, naturally

Source: Dr. Ken Spaeth,

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