Most men would rather tough it out than make an appointment with a doctor. However, early detection can help with treatment of many medical conditions. Here are 5 symptoms that can signal an underlying illness and are a sign you need to visit a doctor.
1. Chest pain
Chest pain can be scary because your first thought is often 'heart attack'. While this isn’t always the case, you need to have any chest pain checked out by a doctor straight away, just in case. It might be a sign of:
- a blood clot
- a lung condition such as pneumonia
- heart problems
- a digestive problem such as acid reflux or a stomach ulcer.
All these conditions need a doctor's attention.
2. A big belly
When a guy's waistline is bigger than his hips it’s often jokingly referred to as his ‘beer gut’. However, carrying extra weight around your middle isn't always a laughing matter.
- It's often a sign of obesity and may mean some lifestyle changes are needed.
- Visceral fat (the stuff that hugs your gut) can increase the risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease.
- A stomach can also become larger due to fluid, not fat, from illnesses such as liver disease.
3. Erectile dysfunction
Not being able to ‘get it up’ can be embarrassing. However, a bruised ego isn't the only problem a guy has to face if he's having trouble getting or keeping erections. About 70% of cases of erectile dysfunction are caused by another underlying condition such as:
- cardiovascular disease
- high cholesterol
- kidney disease
- chronic alcoholism
- multiple sclerosis
- vascular disease
- neurologic disease.
If you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction, see your doctor as it may have a medical cause.
While being ‘blocked up’ could be a heads up that you need to change your diet to include more high-fibre and plenty of fluids, it could also be a warning sign of bowel disease.
- Any change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea) that last 2 or more weeks should be checked out by a GP. Both can signal colorectal (bowel) cancer, which is the third-leading cause of cancer-related death in men.
- Other symptoms to watch for include bloody or narrow stools, unexplained weight loss or fatigue, cramping and bloating.
Bowel cancer can be present for several years before symptoms develop, so it’s important to see a doctor if you have any of the above symptoms.
5. Frequent urination (peeing)
If you develop a ‘budget bladder’ and are constantly plagued with the need to pee, you should see your doctor. Frequent peeing may be a sign of:
- a problem in your prostate or a urinary tract infection
- diabetes and that that you’re drinking lots because you’re constantly thirsty – extreme thirst is one of the first signs of diabetes
- an infection or failure of your kidneys, liver and heart.
Read more about bladder control problems in men.
Don't leave your health up to chance. If you have any of the above symptoms, or if it has been 12 months since your last health check, book yourself an appointment with your doctor.