Men’s Health Month

06. 08. 2015

It’s no secret that men don’t like going to the doctor. According to a national survey, women are three times more likely to make regular doctor visits than men, despite the fact that men have shorter life expectancies and higher mortality rates in all top 10 leading causes of death (Source: News Medical). Whether it’s that macho man mentality, concern over health care costs or feeling like they just don’t have the time, men don’t visit the doctor as much as they should.

June is Men’s Health Month, a nationwide health education program designed to heighten awareness of preventable illness in men and encourage early detection and treatment. Men’s Health Month gives health care workers, public policy makers, friends and loved ones the opportunity to reach out to men and encourage them to seek routine medical care – even if they feel fine.

An Australian study published in the Archives of Surgery found that men may experience acid reflux differently than women. Researchers surveyed 3,000 adults in the community and another 2,000 GERD patients who had undergone anti-reflux surgery. In both survey groups, women reported more severe heartburn than men and were more likely to take medication to control their symptoms. Men, on the other hand, were more likely to have weak valves and esophageal conditions such as esophagitis and Barrett’s esophagus.

Experts say the study results could indicate that different mechanical processes are responsible for reflux in women and men, but it’s also possible that men are underreporting their symptoms. Men may not see heartburn as a valid or masculine reason to visit the doctor, and reflux may develop into a serious health problem before men finally decide seek treatment (WebMD).

In terms of pain and discomfort, acid reflux may not always feel like a big deal, but it is. Left untreated, the presence of acid in the esophagus can lead to esophagitis, ulcers, esophageal bleeding, strictures, Barrett’s esophagus and an increased risk of esophageal cancer. So guys, if you’ve been putting off that visit to the doctor, don’t wait any longer. Chronic heartburn is never something you should try to “tough out." The sooner you seek treatment, the better your chances are of avoiding a serious health condition. Let Men’s Health Month encourage you to make your health top priority. It’s a decision you won’t regret. 

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