Brookwood Baptist Health Blog

Stories and tips for a healthy lifestyle

Ask the Doc: Men’s Health

Jun 17, 2016

Ask the Doc: Men’s HealthDid you know men have a shorter life expectancy than women? According to MensHealthMonth.Org, on average, men live about 5 years less than women, which isn’t surprising when you consider that one in two men will develop cancer in their lifetime, while also having higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, and suicide.

We celebrate Men's Health Month in June to bring awareness and education to important health issues for men. We spoke with Dr. Alan McCool, an urologist at Walker Baptist Medical Center to learn more about the health concerns men face.

What are the most common health problems for men?

The most common health issues for men are heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity. These are some of the deadliest health issues for men. From a urology standpoint, it would be enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, and incontinence. Many of these conditions can be controlled or alleviated with the right medical intervention.

How can men be healthier?

I believe the most important thing is diet and exercise. Appropriate diet and exercise has been shown to prevent or alleviate close to 99% of all health problems. Exercising for 30 minutes a day can make difference in your health.

Prevention is also key. From a urology standpoint, men should have routine urological exams at least once a year beginning (generally) at age 5O.

Are there any symptoms or health issues men should watch for?

For general health issues, men should be concerned if they start to feel short of breath, find any unusual lumps, or start to feel unusual. If you experience any of these, visit your primary care physician.

For urologic issues, if men start experiencing difficulty or straining to void, getting up at night to urinate more than usual, blood in urine or stool, decreased energy level and libido, or difficulty with erections, they should see a urologist.

How often should men go the doctor?

Family history and age of the patient dictates this answer. Generally speaking, men should see their primary care doctor at least once a year and their urologist once a year for routine screenings. You should see your doctor more often if there is a family history of certain medical problems.

What kind of screenings should men have and when?

If there is no family history of prostate cancer, then men should have a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam every year beginning at age 5O for white men and age 45 for African Americans. If there is a positive family history then white men should begin at age 45 and black men at age 40. Generally speaking, all men should have a colonoscopy at the age of 5O.

Why are preventative screenings so important, especially for men?

Preventative screenings are essential to identify a disease process early when it is more easily managed and possibly cured. If a patient skips screenings or annual visits, it can lead to a later diagnosis of a potentially dangerous health problem. On average, men make half as many physician visits for prevention as women, so it is vital that they don’t skip visits to the doctor. Prevention is the key to being healthy.

What are the most common issues you see with male patients?

From a urology standpoint, most of what I see would be enlarged prostates, prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, and incontinence. Luckily, many of the issues I see are treatable.

What should men keep in mind for Men’s Health Month?

Overall, be self-aware of one's health and stay on top of annual screenings. These can be vital to staying healthy. Also, I would love for men to have a renewed commitment of a healthy diet and exercise.


Do you have a question you would like a doctor to answer? Please email and you might see it in the next column!

If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. McCool or another Brookwood Baptist Health physician, please call 877-844-3258 or visit Ask the Doc is brought to you by Brookwood Baptist Health.