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Men’s reproductive health: Taking charge for overall wellness

Men’s reproductive health: Taking charge for overall wellness

While it doesn’t gain a lot of attention, men’s reproductive health is a key part of their overall health. That’s why we’re taking time this June to highlight the male reproductive system and why it matters. June is designated as National Men’s Health Month, designed to raise awareness about significant issues in men’s health. Keep reading for the facts.

How common are men’s reproductive health issues?

When it comes to men’s reproductive health, health issues fall into two categories—conditions that impact the ability to reproduce and conditions that impact the male reproductive organs themselves. Both are quite common.

Let’s first consider conditions affecting the ability to reproduce. You might think of infertility as something primarily affecting women, but the reality is different.

According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one-third of infertility cases are caused by female reproductive issues and one-third are caused by male reproductive issues. The other one-third are a combination or are related to an unknown cause.

There are also many health issues impacting the male reproductive system, spanning from sexually transmitted diseases to cancer.

What are the most common men’s reproductive health problems?

Men can experience many different health conditions that affect the reproductive system in some way, including:

There are also multiple kinds of cancer that can affect the male reproductive system, with prostate cancer being the most common. Testicular cancer and penile cancer are other types of male reproductive cancers.

Most often, men seek care for these health issues when they begin experiencing uncomfortable or unsettling symptoms, such as genital lumps, pain or swelling, blood in the semen or urine, pain when urinating, a loss of bladder control, or an inability to get or maintain an erection.

If you experience any of these symptoms, seeing your University Medical Center New Orleans primary care provider is your best move. Your provider can do a physical examination, check hormone levels, perform other tests and recommend next steps for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

What can I do to protect my reproductive health?

Your reproductive health is a big part of your overall health and wellness. Keeping your reproductive system healthy can help you grow your family when desired and help you avoid serious medical issues.

Take care of your reproductive health with these steps:

  • Consider getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to protect your partners and lower your risk of many types of cancer, including penile cancer.
  • Familiarize yourself with your genitals, including your testicles, so that you can spot any suspicious changes.
  • If you’re uncircumcised, talk with your provider about whether you should be circumcised to lower the risk of penile cancer.
  • Practice safe sex by using condoms.
  • See your provider regularly for checkups and age-appropriate screenings, including testicle checks and prostate exams.

Beyond these steps specifically related to the reproductive system, there are other things you can do if you’re hoping to help a partner conceive.

In recent years, research has shown that a man’s habits long before conception play a role in the quality of sperm cells. A healthy lifestyle can go a long way, so exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, get enough quality sleep, don’t smoke, limit your alcohol consumption and find healthy ways to manage stress.

Wondering about your reproductive health? An annual checkup can help you keep an eye on your overall health, including those concerns. Schedule a primary care appointment at University Medical Center New Orleans today.