Men’s Health Month: The Doctors and Specialists Who Keep You Healthy

Just as there are doctors who specialize in women’s health, such as gynecologists, there are also doctors who help men stay on top of their health. Here are the ones you should know about and visit:

  1. Primary Care Physician: It is essential to find a primary care physician (PCP) with whom you can communicate well. Men should establish a relationship with a primary care doctor  starting at age 18. Your first visit should review your preventive medical needs, including reviewing immunizations, Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk. After establishing a baseline at the first visit, you and your doctor can decide how often follow-up visits are needed.  Your PCP can help you establish personalized goals to stay healthy, overcome modifiable risk factors such as smoking, and coordinate specialty care if needed. If you are 50 years old and don’t have a PCP, you are way overdue!
  1. Urologist: Urologists are physicians who treat diseases of the urinary tract and male reproductive system. Among other things, urologists screen for and treat testicular cancer, prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction and other specific sexual health conditions. Your PCP can help you decide if and when to make an appointment with a urologist.
  1. Cardiologist: With heart disease remaining the leading cause of death amongst both men and women in the U.S., it’s critical to keep your heart healthy. Cardiologists are the specialists who are able to assist your PCP in running tests, creating treatment plans and monitoring progress for those who have heart disease or are at a high risk for developing the disease.
  1. Gastroenterologist: This specialist focuses on diseases of your entire intestinal tract, treating conditions that affect the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends a colonoscopy every 10 years for men starting at age 50, and continuing until age 75. If you experience any other symptoms (such as irritable bowel syndrome, signs of celiac disease or other bowel issues), your PCP may provide a referral to a gastroenterologist.
  1. Dermatologist: As the doctor in charge of caring for your skin, dermatologists routinely check moles as well as treat chronic conditions like rashes and acne. Your skin health is important as it is the largest organ of the body and may show signs of larger health issues (such as cancer). It is especially important that men see a dermatologist regularly. Men diagnosed with melanoma between the ages of 15 and 39 were 55 percent more likely to die from the cancer than females diagnosed in the same age group.
  1. Psychiatrist: Recent findings show that men have shied away from therapy in the past because talking about their feelings was viewed as negative or not masculine. Feeling depressed or down is common, but taking the steps for support is often the largest hurdle. Talk with your PCP about a referral to a mental health physician who is right for you.

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Photo credit: Yuri Samoilov

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