Is There a Need for Men’s Health?
Did you know that there is a medical specialty that deals exclusively with treatment and preventative care for men? Did you know that such care is readily available to you in Beijing? Dr. Francisco J. Martinez Portillo, a highly experienced and educated andrologist from the Department of Urology at Beijing United Family Hospital (BJU), explains more.
Men often have to face some misguided generalizations about their gender. They can be made to feel like they should be strong and fight through pain. This can lead them to believe that they don’t need to visit the doctor for checkups. But, as with most generalizations, this is simply wrong. For example, in most countries of the world, men have a shorter lifespan, have more severe and later-detected illnesses, or suffer more from accidents or psychological diseases. It can’t be denied that life expectancy for men has increased dramatically in the last 50 years, as it has for women. But, while the length of our lives is an important consideration, so is our quality of life! The ability to enjoy life to its fullest requires investing time and effort into health maintenance and disease prevention. This investment pays dividends almost immediately and it is never too late to begin.
Everybody, even children, knows who a gynecologist is. For some obscure reason, the Greek root “gynaik”, which means “woman”, seems to be very well-known. Nobody wonders about the existence of specific Women’s Healthcare Medical Centers like the one at Beijing United Family Hospital, which provides evidence-based, high-quality comprehensive care and serves the health needs of women of all ages. These facilities offer obstetric and gynecological procedures and checkups that nobody thinks twice about.
Yet “Andrology”, with its identical and obvious Greek roots (“andros” means man), is something that many, even some doctors, haven’t heard of. Does this mean that men don’t need their own branch of medicine? Don’t men also need routine checkups and preventative care? Aren’t there specific men’s diseases? Don’t we need to have prophylactic screening tools for men?
Our bodies suffer through illnesses. Accidents and aging are unavoidable. Taking care of your body should also include scheduled maintenance, screenings, and examinations to detect illnesses at an early stage. These increase the potential for cure and a complete return to health. Learning to listen to the body’s warning signs and symptoms is just as important as paying attention to the engine light in your car; neither should be ignored. From an andrological point of view, there are a lot of things that we as men can do for our own health!
Urology and especially Andrology deals with male health, particularly relating to (but not only concerning) problems of the male reproductive system that are unique to men. It is also known as “the science of men”. It is the male counterpart of Gynecology. With what does an andrologist deal? With impotence (erectile dysfunction) including pharmacological and surgical treatment options; sexual medicine in general – and especially male sexual problems, such as anorgasmy or ejaculatory disturbances; andropause (the male equivalent to women’s menopause) with associated disturbances; male genitourinary disorders such as penile curvatures, micropenis, penile deformities, or penile trauma; penile augmentation or penile reconstruction; scrotal and testicular problems; male infertility including non-surgical and surgical methods for semen retrieval; testosterone insufficiency and other hormonal disturbances; prostatic diseases like prostatitis or prostate enlargment; prostate, testicular, and penile cancer screening; voiding problems; plastic/cosmetic surgeries of the male genitals; and male contraception including vasectomy and re-fertilisation. The options for male impotence and male genitourinary disorders are developing especially quickly, with new treatments ranging from simple oral drugs to complex penile prosthesis implantations in the case of impotence, and complete rebuilding of male genitals after burning, amputation, or trauma.
The best general tool for an andrologist when it comes to the care of his patients is the men’s health checklist provided by the American Urological Association. This checklist, which is offered by the Andrology section of the Department of Urology at Beijing United Family Hospital, provides health considerations for specific men’s-related health problems.
What every man needs to know is: If you have any concerns, ask your andrologist!