Movember, Men & Anxiety About Health

Tell me if you’re familiar with this stereotype.

Man doesn’t go to see his GP when something’s up. He either doesn’t acknowledge that there’s anything wrong, or he’s not used to opening up about vulnerabilities. Maybe he feels like, as the man, he can’t admit to being ill, like it’s a sign of weakness. Maybe he’s afraid.

Sadly, it appears that there is some truth to this stereotype. According to research, men have a tendency to visit their doctors less than women, and aside from the usual excuses, a fear of embarrassment is often a factor. But although symptoms may seem trivial, putting off seeing a GP could pose a serious risk to your health.

I know it’s not easy. I’ve written about my vasectomy story. I’ve had to deal with varicoceles.

The Movember Foundation has undoubtedly boosted awareness of men’s health issues, bringing attention to potentially serious conditions, like prostate and testicular cancer, and encouraging more men to visit the doctor if they have concerns. So, if you’ve ever experienced eczema on your penis, an itchy bottom or the urgent need to go to the loo, while you may be embarrassed about them, your doctor won’t be.

Common Men’s Health Questions

In a recent initiative,  AXA PPP healthcare have shed some light on some of the most popular men’s health questions they get asked:

I’ve found a small lump on my left testicle

Testicular cancer is a male cancer which should be checked for regularly, and just like other cancers, it can be easier to treat if detected early. By regularly examining yourself, you are more likely to notice if anything changes or feels unusual so it is best to make this a part of your usual daily routine.

The best time to check your testicles is after a warm shower, as this is when the skin is most relaxed, by following the below guide:

  • Rest your testicles in the palms of your hands and compare one testicle with the other for equal heaviness. A lot of men have one testicle which is larger than the other, or one that hangs lower than the other, so don’t worry if this is the case
  • Place your fingers behind the scrotum and gently roll your testicle between your thumb and fingers
  • You are looking out for any hard lump or swelling – or any particular changes in shape. Make sure you check each testicle individually
  • A normal testicle is oval shaped and feels firm, but not hard
  • Most cases of testicular cancer start with a painless lump in the testicle; though sometimes there can be pain or discomfort or a heavy feeling in the scrotum. Make sure you consult your GP as soon as possible if you experience any of these sensations, or if you find a lump

If you experience any of the above symptoms for testicular cancer, make an appointment with your GP.

My penis has started to bend at a strange angle making it difficult to have sex.”

About 5 per cent of men over the age of 50 will develop a condition of the penis called Peyronie’s disease. This is a benign but potentially emotionally upsetting condition in which scar tissue develops on the shaft of the penis sometimes resulting in a penile bend noticeable with erections. This can lead to sexual dysfunction with in some cases the affected man avoiding a sexual relationship altogether.

Axa Health
The AXA Health Website offers health guidance, tips and information

A proportion of affected men will find erections and intercourse too painful although others will simply notice a lump on the shaft of the penis or a minor painless penile bend which does not cause too much trouble. Unfortunately there are no really effective cures for this condition, however we recommend visiting a GP for a more detailed assessment.

I have an itchy bottom now and noticed a pea size lump just inside my anus

If the lump is painful and itchy it would most likely be a pile (or a perianal haematoma). They are caused when the bowels open and the anus is stretched too much. Sometimes a small vein inside the anus can leak or become swollen.

Piles usually get better without any treatment and are not serious. Make sure your motions are soft and you avoid constipation by eating a healthy diet (rich in vegetables and fruit). This prevents further stretching of the anus and will help the pile heal. Keep the area very clean and use a pile/haemorrhoid cream to soothe the itching. If the itch continues, visit your GP for an examination to confirm the diagnosis.

If you are experiencing any of the above, visit your GP, or the AXA PPP healthcare website for guidance, tips and information.




  1. 11 November 2016

    Yep, that definitely sounds like my husband too and I have to nag him every time just to schedule an appointment. Thankfully though, he’s always right and it always turns out to be nothing to be worried about.

  2. 11 November 2016

    Such an important post to have written and u applaud you for doing so!

  3. 11 November 2016

    Such an important post for all men to read. My husband does not like going to the doctors unless he really needed to, best thing any man could do is go and check any worries out..

  4. 12 November 2016

    A friend of my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer after his wife made him go to the GP because he was forever needing the toilet. It is important to get checked

  5. Julie T
    12 November 2016

    I think that you have done a wonderful thing with this post. Many wives (and men too of course) may be reading about symptoms and think that they sound familiar and hopefully your post could be the catalyst to doing something about it. I’m pressed with your openess on these potentially crucial issues.

  6. 12 November 2016

    My husband is the worst for going to the Doctor. Sometimes he makes it, but then doesn’t do the follow up either, He’s also pretty bad at looking after himself and his diet. So important to raise awareness about these issues

  7. Abigail Cullen
    12 November 2016

    Yes I must admit, females, are quicker on the mark to seeing their doctor, than the male gender, and I feel my partner would agree, as he always leaves making an appointment to the last

  8. 12 November 2016

    Sound like my partner, won’t go to the doctor so then has no chose because I’ll end up making him an appointment

  9. My other half is useless he hates going to the doctor and now has stomach issues because he left it that long. This is such and important post for men.

  10. William Gould
    22 November 2016

    Yes, I’m one of the “ignore it and it will go away” brigade! Not that it’s easy to get an appointment at the doctors anyway….

  11. 16 October 2017

    Such an informative and important post! So many men in my life do not like to go to the doctor or admit that something might be wrong with them. I will definitely share this article with them! Thanks for sharing!

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