Men’s Health

Do men need to take a calcium supplement?

DEAR DOCTOR K: Many years ago, my doctor told me that men, like women, should take calcium supplements. So I have been. Now I hear that it's a bad idea. What do you think?

DEAR READER: All of us -- patients and doctors -- wish we had all the answers, and that the answers never changed. Unfortunately, the way the human body works, and malfunctions, is very complicated. To understand it, we conduct research. But no study is perfect, and the answers sometimes change as larger and better studies are conducted.

Should I try testosterone treatment to treat low-normal testosterone?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I'm a 68-year-old man who has been feeling more tired and less "sexy" over the past several months. My doctor says my blood testosterone level is normal, but "low normal" -- a little bit above low. I know that some men take testosterone gel as a treatment for this. My doctor is not so keen on that. What's your opinion?

DEAR READER: I don't know nearly enough about your health or your symptoms to offer you personal advice. But I'll tell you what I think research has shown, at least so far. I'll warn you: It is a controversial area, and I reserve the right to change my mind as new research is published.

Do I need to take medication for BPH?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have BPH. The symptoms don't interfere with my work or home life very much. My doctor says there are medicines that might reduce the symptoms, but I like to avoid taking medicines. What's your advice?

DEAR READER: Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is the most common cause of prostate enlargement. As the name suggests, BPH is harmless; it does not lead to prostate cancer.

Are there any effective treatments for Peyronie’s disease?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have Peyronie's disease. Are there any effective treatments for this condition?

DEAR READER: Peyronie's disease is, fortunately, relatively uncommon. About 5 percent of men in the United States may have it. The condition affects the penis. It causes inflammation and then scar tissue to form in the area of inflammation. The scar tissue accumulates and hardens, causing the penis to bend when it becomes erect, and potentially keeping it from becoming fully erect. This can make sexual intercourse difficult and painful. (I've put an illustration, below, showing the effect of Peyronie's disease.)

What can I expect during a prostate biopsy?

DEAR DOCTOR K: My last PSA test result was abnormal, so my doctor has scheduled a prostate biopsy. What can I expect? Is there anything I can do to make the procedure more comfortable and reduce the risk of complications? DEAR READER: An abnormal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test result often leads to a prostate […]

What is the most effective way to treat premature ejaculation?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I've been experiencing premature ejaculation. What is the most effective way to treat this?

DEAR READER: Premature ejaculation (PE) occurs when a man reaches orgasm and ejaculates too quickly and without control. In other words, ejaculation occurs before a man wants it to happen. Several factors may contribute to this problem. Diabetes, problems with the thyroid gland or inflammation of the prostate are common culprits. Stress, depression and other emotional factors can also play a role. But most men with PE are healthy.

What should I know about testicular cancer?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I'm in my 30s. A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. What should I know about this cancer? Should I be screened for it?

DEAR READER: Testicular cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both testicles (testes). Nearly all testicular cancers start in germ cells. These are the cells that make sperm. The testicles are located in the scrotum, behind the penis.

Can a vasectomy be reversed?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I had a vasectomy many years ago. I've since remarried, and my new wife wants to have children. Can my vasectomy be reversed?

DEAR READER: A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure that is done to make a man sterile (unable to father children). Normally, sperm -- the male reproductive cells that fertilize a woman's egg -- are made in the testicle. Sperm travel away from the testicle through a tube called the vas deferens.