Men usually get bad press in terms of looking after their health… but if you are reading this you are taking a first step in terms of finding out information and taking care of yourself. Sexual health has quite a far reaching impact in other aspects of our lives so it is important to give it some attention. Both men and women need to be aware of their bodies and know when something is not normal. Quite often if you go early to get something checked out it will reduce a lot of worry and stress but the problem will also be much easier to treat.

Safer sex is important for men to consider. Taking care to ensure that the person you are engaging in any sexual activity has had recent sexual health testing, that you use condoms properly and that you are in a relationship where there is respect and consent.

Using condoms properly will prevent the exchange of any bodily fluids. This is important as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are mainly spread through the exchange of bodily fluids however some are spread through close skin-to-skin contact. Always ensure condoms are in date, the packaging is intact and that they are of a recommended standard; they should display the CE mark on the packaging. Be careful when opening the condom not to damage it and it should then be placed over an erect penis and should roll down easily. Condoms only roll on one way so if it does not go on easily it probably is on the wrong way. This means it will need discarded as it will have come into contact with bodily fluids. Always have spare condoms available. Ensure following sexual activity that the condom is checked for any leaks or tears and if there is any problem that you and your partner present for STI testing and pregnancy testing if this is a risk.

Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is a term used to describe when a man ‘cannot get’ or ‘cannot maintain’ an erection. This happens 1 in 10 men throughout their lives. Quite often there is another issue going on which results in ED. It is very important that men experiencing this discuss this with their GP. Some examples of other issues could include:

  • A reduction in the flow of blood to the penis. The main causes are usually conditions causing narrowing of arteries which can result in poor blood circulation e.g. high blood pressure, smoking, cholesterol problems and heart disease. Erectile dysfunction can be the first sign of heart disease e.g. poor circulation to the heart, legs or brain: so it is important to mention erectile dysfunction to your doctor who can assess the risk for, and treat, any underlying causes before anything worse happens.
  • Illnesses such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis cause problems with the nervous system, blocking the electrical signals between the brain and the penis. These brain signals normally tell the body to develop an erection when a man gets aroused.
  • Injuries to the nervous system in accidents or surgery
  • Many drugs have an effect on getting an erection. Alcohol and recreational drugs can have an effect. Prescription medication can also result in problems, the commonest drugs causing erectile dysfunction are antidepressants, antipsychotics and blood pressure tablets.
  • Psychological causes are varied and can usually be addressed in counselling to help overcome the problem.

There are treatments available which are very effective through your GP or specialist.
Further information on Erectile Dysfunction

Preventing Testicular Cancer
This is very important as identifying a problem early can mean it is much easier treated. If you have any concerns around any changes in your testicles you should contact your GP. One of the main known risk factors for testicular cancer is smoking. If you would like help to quit or advice/support on stopping smoking or wish to book an appointment with the Smoking Cessation Nurse please contact: The Health Improvement Service Tel: 028 2563 6602 (your contact details will be taken and a referral will be made to the Stop Smoking Service. The Smoking Cessation Nurse will contact you to make a suitable appointment time).

Useful information on how to check your testicles

Page last updated:23 December 2014