THE COMPLEXITIES OF MEN
Men’s health is a complex and rarely spoken about topic. It encompasses not just disease or absence of, but the complete state of physical, mental and social well being as experienced by men. Balance Health aims to break down the barriers that men face in managing their health care and enable men to create an environment where health is a priority, which will be passed on through the generations.
MEN LIVE SHORTER LIVES THAN WOMEN
Did you know men live on average 4-6 years less than women? Men are more likely to commit suicide, suffer from heart disease, die of cancer and have major accidents. Some of these issues are a result of the Y chromosome, such as prostate and testicular cancer, however many men’s health issues are controllable through lifestyle choices.
RISK TAKING BEHAVIOR WORSEN HEALTH OUTCOMES
From a young age males experiment with risk taking behavior more so than females. Risk taking behavior is tied in closely with a societal view of masculinity. Men will play rougher, drive faster, lift heavier and choose to wait longer seeking help if any issues arise. It is a natural progression for men to downplay or ignore health care management, and wait until a catastrophic event occurs before taking action!
THE Y CHROMOSOME – PROSTATE CANCER, ITS LEGACY, AND HOW PHYSIOTHERAPY CAN HELP
Physiotherapists at Balance Health are passionate and qualified in men’s health. In particular, they are able to work with men before and after prostate cancer surgery to maximise their recovery.
In Australia almost 400,000 men have prostate cancer. It is the most common reported cancer by men (24%). Surgical management for prostate cancer is very effective. However, has many severe, life altering, side effects that are widely unknown or talked about. Some studies show up to 90% of men still suffer with urinary incontinence one year post radical prostatectomy, and 65% experience erectile dysfunction.
PELVIC FLOOR STRENGTHENING
Often surgeons and GPs will give men advice to do their pelvic floor exercises. Unfortunately without the right guidance, they are often done incorrectly and will not be as effective in managing the condition.
To maximise your recovery following prostate surgery, the evidence shows a much faster recovery of continence when pelvic floor strengthening is begun 3 months prior to the surgery. When men undertake rehabilitation guided by a physiotherapist, the statistics are reversed, in that more than 90% of men make a full recovery at one year follow up . If you are a friend or a family member of someone who has undergone this surgery, you can help too. Ask them how they are going! Help them to seek the right advice if they are struggling.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH
Keep active – Inactive men are 60% more likely to suffer mental illness. Meanwhile, men who walk 5 blocks a day are 25% less likely to have a heart attack!
Eat well – Getting 5-7 serves of fruit and veg each day can help lower your risk of high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.
Drink less alcohol - men who drink 10 drinks or more per week are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to men who drink 4-10 drinks per week.
Get regular health checks with your GP especially over the age of 50.
Get Social – Check out some of the groups on Phillip Island.
There are regular meetings at the Men’s shed held at the Phillip Island RSL on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a Men’s Breakfast is run regularly on Friday mornings at 7am. There are many other great initiatives to get involved in around Phillip Island.
Change the construct of masculinity so our children and those to follow will have a new normality. Make your health a priority and you won't regret it!
DON'T SUFFER IN SILENCE! Seek help if you need it.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need a referral to see a Physiotherapist?
No. Physiotherapists are Primary Health Care Practitioners. You only need a referral if you qualify to receive extra funding under the Enhance Primary Care program through Medicare or Veterans Affairs.
I am having a prostatectomy. When is the best time to visit a Physiotherapist?
The ideal time to visit a Physiotherapist is 6 weeks prior to your surgery. Evidence shows that you will have a much quicker return of bladder control and erectile function following your surgery if you begin pelvic floor strengthening prior to the surgery.
What should I expect from my Physiotherapy session?
Kara Cassells is trained in perineal assessment of the Male Pelvic floor using Real Time Ultrasound. She will take a detailed verbal assessment regarding your current condition and work out what you feel your main problems are. If you are due to have prostatectomy or suffering with any form of incontinence Kara can assess the quality of your pelvic floor contraction to see if that is part of your problem or to ensure it is working correctly prior to your surgery. This involves placing an ultrasound head on the perineum. You can leave your underwear on for this procedure. It is the most effective way to ensure a correct contraction of the pelvic floor muscles.