Ask the Doctor: Men's Health 101

The ins and outs of men's health from a doctor's perspective.

by Anna Dixon | Thu, July 13, 2017

We talk to Dr. Frank Morris-Davies from SinoUnited Health Clinic about men's health, embarrassing problems and a reluctance to seek help even when it’s needed.

Are there routine tests that men should have? What are they and what age should they start having them?

Dr. Morris-Davies: Routine screening for adult males should include:

• Height, weight, BMI, blood pressure.

• General bloods including CBC, glucose, kidney, liver, thyroid and a lipid test in men over 35.

• STD screening.

• Screening for cancer of the colon in men over 50.

• Screening for prostate cancer in men over 40.

• Screening for abdominal aortic aneurism in male smokers over 65.

What's the most frequent question you get asked by men in a general exam? Is there a specific concern that a lot of men share?

Dr. Morris-Davies: Most male patients that see me have the same issues as female patients but I get asked often about erectile dysfunction, which is an embarrassing topic for many men. Other problems I see more commonly in men are issues with infection of the male organs related to STDs. Another question I get asked is about hair loss, usually from young male patients who have already started to lose hair.

Are there any conditions or diseases more common in men than in women? And if so, why?

Dr. Morris-Davies: There are issues that exclusively affect men such as enlarged prostate or prostate cancer and testicular cancer, but there are also health problems more common in men including:

• High blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. Men are at higher risk of developing these problems, so are at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

• Obesity and poor diet: Keeping weight within healthy limits is often a challenge for men. Obesity increases the risk of developing pre-diabetes and diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, heartburn, cancers (colon), fatty liver, chronic kidney disease and erectile dysfunction.

• Alcohol: drinking alcohol is more common in men and excessive drinking can be associated with multiple medical problems such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, pancreatitis, heart problems, high blood pressure and neurological problems.

• Psychiatric problems including alcohol dependency, depression and anxiety.

• Social problems such as poor work performance, relationship problems, increased violence and antisocial behavior.

• Smoking: This is the single greatest cause of illness and premature death in the UK and in most countries. It causes multiple diseases including lung cancer, COPD, heart disease, cancers of the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder etc, hardening of the arteries, erectile dysfunction and premature aging.

Would you say that men are more reluctant to visit the doctor? If so, why?

Dr. Morris-Davies: I think men are more reluctant to go to see a doctor because they often feel embarrassed and it is still part of the "male culture" to be brave, strong and tough. Typical phrases commonly used are "be a man", "man up", etc. so going to see a doctor maybe feels like losing a bit of your masculinity.

Dr. Frank Morris-Davies is a Family Physician and the Chief Medical Officer at SinoUnited Health Clinic with outpatient and inpatient experience. He has over 25 years experience running a multi-disciplinary team. He has a special interest in Clinical Dermatology, Pediatrics, Travel Medicine and Sexual health. Dr. Frank is currently the official appointed physician of the Italian Consulate.