THE MANLY TRIFECTA Prostate Health, Testosterone and Bedroom Breakthroughs
1. Prostate Health – Facing the FearFor men, the infamous P-word is often the first topic that springs to mind when discussing men’s health, and having to do a rectal exam is something that most men would prefer to rather not have to think about. We’re going to cover some basics here to help you to be more informed, so you can chill.
When is D(RE) day?The Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa recommends that black South African men consider screening from the age of 40 and that other ethnic groups should start screening from 45. There are two types of prostate tests, your doctor will most likely recommend doing both so here’s the low down on each of them:
The Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)This is the test that generally causes the most anxiety for men. If you’ve never experienced one before, here’s a brief outline of what you can expect during a prostate exam.
- It’ll be over before you have time to get uptight about it! It typically lasts less than a minute.
- Using lubricated surgical gloves, your Doc will insert a finger into your rectum to check for any irregularities in the size, shape, or texture of your prostate gland.
- It should be a pain free procedure, but it can be a bit uncomfortable, (a small price to pay for early detection if any issues are discovered.)
- If you have haemorrhoids or anal fissures, these conditions could cause higher levels of discomfort so please tell your doctor beforehand if this is the case.
- Remember – for your doctor, this is just another day at the office, so nothing to be self-conscious about.
The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) TestThis is a blood test that measures the quantity of a protein that is produced by both normal and malignant prostate gland cells in your blood. PSA 101 Tips:
- Avoid sex, masturbation, cycling, horseback riding or any strenuous exercise 3 days before the test because these may elevate your PSA levels and make it difficult to interpret your results.
- If your results are high your doctor will probably order a second test to confirm the results.
- If your doctor is concerned he may want a more detailed picture of your prostate, and he may request an MRI and then recommend next steps depending on the results.
2. Spilling the T » Testosterone Highs & LowsTestosterone affects everything from muscle mass to mood. While low testosterone tends to occupy more conversations, both high and low levels come with their share of complications. High testosterone may leave you feeling great in the short term, but ultimately causes more harm than good later on. For example, the body converts excess testosterone into oestrogen to help compensate which can lead to erectile dysfunction, and high testosterone can also put strain on the heart and cause hypertension, muscle, and ligament damage.
Tips to keep your testosterone levels in check:
- Know the symptoms of low testosterone and get tested if you’re experiencing them on an ongoing basis:
- Low energy
- Mood changes
- Sleep disturbances and/or feeling sleepy during the day
- Poor concentration and/or feeling forgetful
- Feeling depressed and/or weak
- Decreased muscle mass and strength
- Putting on fat
- Less frequent than usual erections
- A decrease in your sex drive
- Symptoms of high Testosterone:
- Increased aggression or irritability
- Oily skin and acne
- Excessive body hair growth
- Sleep disturbances
- Increased muscle mass
- Changes in libido (including erectile dysfunction or low libido)
- Enlarged prostate
- Testicle shrinkage
- Fluid retention
- Fuel up on zinc-rich foods like oysters, lean meats, and beans (Zinc is like the unsung hero in your nutritional line-up. It helps enzymes break down food and also helps build proteins. If you’re not getting enough zinc, your testosterone levels can dip.)
- Physical activity can help with maintaining healthy testosterone levels so make time for exercise. If you’re open to trying new things, consider Pilates (athletic) – it combines core strength, flexibility, conditioning, and balance training and while it looks passive, you’ll work up a serious sweat and discover muscles you didn’t know you had.