There are several health conditions that can affect men more than women.
This includes physical and mental concerns – men can often be reticent to seek out help when they need it 🤫!
But it’s okay to admit when you need help, and it’s important to approach your health with care.
Today, we’re going to talk through some common spinal conditions that affect men more often than women.
We hope to give you the information you need to care for yourself and the men in your family 👨👩👧👧.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is considered a long-term condition, when the spine and other parts of the body become inflamed 🔥.
Over time, AS can cause the small bones in your spine to fuse together 🦴, which makes the spine less flexible and can create a hunched-forward posture.
AS tends to first show up in teenagers and young adults, and it happens to be about twice as common in men than in women.
The symptoms include:
– Stiffness and back pain in your lower back and hips, especially in the morning 🌅 or after any periods of inactivity
– Neck, hip and shoulder joint pain 🤕
– Pain and swelling in other parts of the body, caused by joint inflammation (i.e. arthritis) and inflammation where a tendon joins a bone (i.e. enthesitis)
– Fatigue and extreme tiredness
Check in with yourself by paying attention to pain in your body.
Check if it comes on slowly, starting in the lower back or buttocks region, and gets worse in the morning ☀️.
Another sign can be if the pain improves after exercise 🏃♂️but gets worse with rest. If you get any painful red eye symptoms 👁, or experienced severe light sensitivity and/or blurred vision, this can also be an early sign of AS.
Reiter’s Syndrome (RS) or Reactive arthritis is a condition that makes your joints red and swollen (in other words, very inflamed 🔥!) This can be especially present in the knees, feet 🦶, toes, hips and ankles 🦵.
RS can usually develop after having an infection, in particular a sexually transmitted infection like chlamydia, or a bowel infection, like food poisoning. You can get RS if someone close to you has had glandular fever as well.
It’s all about the body trying to give you an appropriate immune response – but RS can form when the immune system overreacts to infection, starting to attack healthy tissue instead so that it becomes inflamed.
In a lot of cases, RS clears up within a few months without causing any long-term problems 💁♀️.
Again, this one is more common in men and in people aged 20-40 years old.
– Pain and swelling in joints
– Joint stiffness, particularly in the morning 🌅
– Pain and tenderness in some tendons, but especially those at the heels🦵
– Pain in your lower back and/or buttocks
– Swelling in fingers and toes 🤚
– Sometimes men can experience pain when urinating, or discharge from the penis
– Eye pain, red eyes, watery eyes, swollen eyelids, sensitivity to light, and/or conjunctivitis 👀
You can sometimes also get flu-like symptoms, fever, weight loss, mouth ulcers and a rash on hands and feet.
Check in with yourself if you’ve had an infection or any of the symptoms of an infection (like diarrhoea, pain when urinating, etc). Get checked at your local genitourinary medicine clinic if you suspect you might have an STI.
Don’t freak out! Check yourself early and seek treatment, as most people find they can return to normal life within a few months at most, and symptoms don’t tend to last longer than 12 months all up.
Taking care of your whole health
Don’t forget your mental health, as well as your physical health.
Talking to someone when you’re in need is important for all of us – it is both common and normal.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start having a confidential chat 🗣, consider coming in to speak to our own Lorna – our in-house Empowerment Therapist. She can provide an initial assessment to get the help you need.
There’s no shame in treating your mind and body as equally important parts of your holistic health.
For any physical niggles, make sure to give us a call and make an appointment – we can definitely get you the advice you’re looking for, and start creating a treatment plan that suits both your needs and lifestyle.
We’re here to support you! 💪