Calling all men

There are many sources of information about the aging process for women but what about men? Aging is a natural part of the cycle of life and men are not ‘immune’ to this; in fact, research shows that the male menopause or ‘andropause’ is a much more gradual process but nevertheless just as unsettling.  There are signs that show you’re getting older and let’s face it not all of them are fun!

Skin softening, memory loss, body fat replacing muscle, erectile function issues, constipation, bladder control and baldness are some of the indications, which can cause distress and discomfort, but before you rush out to buy a Harley Davison and a leather jacket to prove you’ve still ‘got it’, you need to know there are things you can do to help this natural passage of time. A healthy diet, regular exercise, alcohol in moderation, not smoking and mental stimulation can all help counteract some of these issues.

Firstly some symptoms cannot be ignored. If you have problems with slow stream, difficulties starting or getting up in the night to urinate, then please get them checked out by your GP as an enlarged prostate could be the cause. The prostate gland enlarges with age but prostate cancer in its early stages is symptomless and the most common cancer in men, worldwide; so, you need to be brave and get tested. It is a simple blood test to check your PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels this is a protein naturally produced by the prostate and this will indicate any changes which may be occurring. 

Baldness is traumatic for most men. Did you know 50% of men in their fifties are bald? There are many treatments to help with baldness ranging from creams and shampoos through to non- invasive Dracula therapies and on to hair replacement surgery. I met a man recently who told me about his recent hair treatment within the first ten minutes of our meeting. To be honest after seeing his before and after pictures I thought he looked fine in both but it clearly was an issue to him and the result looked completely natural and had obviously helped his self- esteem. If you are noticing your hair is thinning and don’t like it, then take control and investigate your options!

Now for the biggie: erectile function. Did you men know you have a refractory period? Thought not. This is the time the male body needs to recover after intercourse. This is a period during which it is physiologically impossible to have an orgasm again.  When you’re young it can be as little as 5 minutes but gets longer as you get older. With about 20 hours for some men it can cause unnecessary anguish but it is a natural process. If you have difficulty getting an erection, don’t panic, leave it a while and communicate with your partner, they’ll understand, I promise. If the issue persists then of course get it checked out. What about your erections when you get them? Are they not as firm as you’d like or do they take longer to happen? Don’t panic and reach immediately for the Viagra. If your erection doesn’t sustain then maybe try a penis ring. There are many types out there and can be pleasurable for both you and your partner. However, choose a stretchy one as wood, plastic or metal don’t stretch so you might have difficulty removing it! What about longer foreplay? Or maybe a tingle lubricant? Try them and see!

The key issue around ageing is to talk; nothing is as bad as it seems if you pay attention to your body and mind and get checked for any changes you notice and whilst I understand that men aren’t great at communicating about their problems, this needs to change! So this is where I give full permission to the wives and girlfriends out there to start nagging and to the men out there? My advice is ‘man up!’ 

Sarahjane Patterson

Dip. Psysextherapy