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.
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.
From a young age males experiment with risk taking behaviour more so than females. Risk taking behaviour 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.
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, there is a 1 in 6 chance of getting prostate cancer by the age of 85. There were 24,000 new cases in 2022 and it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. Surgical management for prostate cancer is very effective. However, it 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.
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 MEN CAN DO TO HELP IMPROVE THEIR HEALTH
Keep active – It is widely recognised that regular activity has a positive effect on stress, anxiety and depression. Doing only 30 minutes of physical activity a day will help with fitness, heart and lung health and weight loss.
Eat well – Getting 5-7 servings 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.
Important things to check are blood pressure, lipids and cholesterol, blood sugar, prostate health, metal health and eye health.
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.