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5 Symptoms No Man Should Ignore

Men tend to seek medical care later than women, perhaps partially contributing to the gap in life expectancy between the two genders – women 81 years and men 76. So if you experience any of these 5 symptoms, it's time to visit the doctor ASAP.

By
Sanaz Majd, MD
3-minute read
Episode #175

In a previous episode, I talked about the 5 vital symptoms that no woman should ignore. This week I tackle the other 50% of our population. 

Generally speaking, men tend to seek medical care later than women.  For that reason, sometimes their disease states can progress further, perhaps partially contributing to the gap in life expectancy – women in the U.S. live an average of 81 years, while men live to 76.

Therefore, it’s imperative for men (and for the women with important men in their lives) to learn what symptoms are potentially serious in order to seek care earlier, rather than later.  Although the list of possible red flags is much longer than I can cover in one episode, here are 5 concerning symptoms that no man should ignore.

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Many of us may know that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the U.S., and that chest pain requires immediate medical attention (especially if you have risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or a family history.

But what are some of the other possible concerning symptoms men can experience that requires urgent medical attention? Let's find out today.

Symptom #1: Bleeding

Bleeding from any orifice in men is not normal.  Although prostate issues (infection, enlargement, or cancer) are the most common reason for blood in urine, bladder cancer can present similarly.  And although hemorrhoids are the most common reason for rectal bleeding, colon cancer can also cause bleeding in the stool and should be ruled out first. 

Symptom #2: Abnormal Urine

Besides bleeding in the urine, other issues with urination in men can signify a deeper medical issue, such as prostate enlargement or cancer, urinary tract infections, uncontrolled diabetes, or kidney stones.  Here are a few examples of such urinary symptoms that need to be checked out immediately:

  • Difficulty initiating a stream
  • Difficulty maintaining flow with a stream
  • Burning or pain with urination
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Urgency with urination
  • Leaking of the urine

Symptom #3: Testicular Discomfort or Lumps

Testicular cancer is the most common solid cancer in young men between the ages of 15 and 35. But it is also one of the most curable if caught early (recovery rates are as high as 95%).  The classic presentation is of a young man who reports painless testicular swelling.  However, acute pain is experienced in about 10%.  Patients can also complain of a pulling or heavy sensation in the scrotum or even in the lower abdomen. 

In addition, inflammation or infection can also cause discomfort or pain in the testes.  Either way, discomfort or a lump in the testes is not considered normal and should be urgently evaluated by your doctor.

Symptom #4: Unintentional Weight Loss

Many of us would be ecstatic to easily shed some extra pounds.  But, as I explained in my earlier episode about concerning symptoms for women, any weight loss that is non-intentional, meaning without you making an effort to lose the weight through diet and exercise, is equally concerning in men. 

Cancer cells often replicate rapidly requiring extra energy. Your body expends this energy in order to meet up with the demands of these abnormal cells, thereby causing weight loss.  Make sure you talk to your doctor if you are losing a significant amount of weight without trying to.

Symptom #5: Fatigue

Just like in women, this symptom is quite common in men as well. 

Men also lead busy, stressful lives, rendering them susceptible to fatigue.  Although a vague and common symptom, it can be a sign of something more serious.  Stress, depression, and anxiety are top causes of fatigue. 

But occasionally, I catch a diagnosis of thyroid disorder, anemia, and rarely even leukemia by running a blood test on patients who present with fatigue.  I have covered this topic in more detail in a previous episode called Top 9 Causes of Fatigue, so please check it out if you are experiencing this vague symptom.

And there you have it, 5 symptoms that no man should ever ignore.  Remember, any persistent symptom, whether it’s a cough, joint pain, acid reflux, or anything else, should receive medical attention.

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Sick man image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only.  This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider.  Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

 

 

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

About the Author

Sanaz Majd, MD

Dr. Sanaz Majd is a board-certified Family Medicine physician who graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Her special interests are women's health and patient education.