ISSUES below the belt should never be ignored, but many men struggle to talk through their problems, experts have warned.
Sure, it can be embarrassing talking about your bits but opening up to your GP or even your partner could be key to your health.
Unfortunately many men ignore symptoms and let them linger, with some dismissing their issues and shrugging them off as nothing.
This could be deadly, with the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) stating that women are expected to live longer than men.
On average men are expected to live until they are 79.4 years old and women 83.1, and data from Harvard University suggest that this is due to a range of factors – including the fact that men ignore doctors.
They found that men are far more likely to skip routine health screens – which means men could be missing important health issues and symptoms.
New data from Lloyd's Pharmacy's Online Doctor and Time To Raise It (TTRI), the campaign dedicated to open and honest discussion about erection problems found that less than half of men who suffer from issues down below have confided in their partner.
The campaign found that a third of women struggle to talk to their male partners about erection issues.
With around one in four men suffering with this it's clear conversations need to be opened up when it comes to men's health. Here are the seven things you should never ignore down below.
1. Erection problems
Dr Sameer Sanghvi, Clinical Technology Lead at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, says we need to get better at having open and honest discussions about erection trouble.
Having issues with erections is nothing to be embarrassed about and around 27 per cent of men suffer with erectile problems.
Not discussing your issues could lead to depression and anxiety and Dr Sameer said you shouldn't 'suffer in silence' as there are plenty of treatments available from talking therapies to medication.
He explained: "It affects more people than you’d think. If you are suffering from erection problems you think you’re the only one, simply because you can’t have an honest conversation about it.
"Erection problems affect most men at some point in their life. For many, it’s often something that happens a few times and doesn’t become a recurring issue, so it’s nothing to worry about.
"However, if it happens to you regularly, it’s something that you don’t have to suffer in silence about."
2. Trouble urinating
Earim Chaudry, Medical Director of men’s health platform Manual said difficulty urinating, or pain when urinating could be a sign of prostate disease or cancer, which shouldn’t be ignored.
He explained: "When the prostate is enlarged, it can press on the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder) which can make it difficult to pass urine.
"Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer for men in the UK, according to the NHS. This type of cancer also develops slowly, which means it can go undetected for many years.
"You might notice an increased need to urinate, straining while you urinate or the feeling as though your bladder isn’t fully emptied. While these symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have prostate cancer, it is important to visit your GP as a precaution."
3. Unusual lumps
While many cancers develop with age, testicular cancer is usually diagnosed in younger men from ages 15 to 49, with around 2,300 new cases every year.
Earim said: "Symptoms include new lumps on either of the testicles, which can either be painful or painless or any changes to the shape or feel of the testicle. It is also important to recognise what feels normal to you, to monitor any changes in the shape.
"If you notice any changes or unusual lumps, be sure to get this checked with your GP. It is also one of the most treatable cancers in the UK, with 99% of men surviving for a year or more after being diagnosed."
4. Penis rash
Experts at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor said a rash on the tip of the penis could be a sign of Balanitis.
They explained: "While this isn’t usually a serious condition, it’s definitely worth seeing your GP as a precaution so they can work out what’s causing your symptoms and potentially offer you some treatment to stop the issue.
"Balanitis is typically caused by not washing the foreskin, which can lead to a buildup of natural lubricant which ultimately causes smegma – which is a breeding ground for bacteria and can cause a rash, soreness and even swelling.
"Other causes that can cause this are: phimosis (a condition where the foreskin is too tight to pull back), Thrush (otherwise known as a yeast infection), an STI that causes discharge (chlamydia and gonorrhoea for example) or even high levels of sugar in your urine (typically caused by diabetes)."
Genital warts are small fleshy growths that can grow anywhere around the crotch/anus area and can become inflamed or itchy – or even bleed in some cases.
The experts explained: "They are infectious as they can transfer from skin to skin contact and are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). While they don’t pose any harm to people in terms of threats to your health, some find them unsightly and want them removed.
"Medical treatments to remove the warts include remedies you can apply yourself like topical creams or lotions, or you can opt for the physical removal of them by a trained medical professional."
6. Sudden pain
Experts at the Urology Care Foundation said that sudden testicular pain should never be ignored.
They said the pain will usually feel like the sensation that comes with a sharp kick to the groin area and that it's likely if you have this then you will struggle to walk.
They explained that this could be down to testicular torsion.
"This condition is when the flow of blood to a testicle gets cut off because the cord that connects the testicles to the body becomes twisted.
"Get to a doctor right away. If you do have testicular torsion, it's an emergency because the testicle will become damaged without proper blood flow."
7. Enlarged scrotum
If the pouch containing your balls is enlarged then this could be a sign of a inguinal hernia.
It's likely that the swelling here is painful and it might be that the lump itself goes away when you lie down.
The NHS states: "Inguinal hernias can sometimes appear suddenly after putting pressure on the abdomen, such as straining on the toilet if you have constipation or carrying and pushing heavy loads.
"They have also been linked to having a persistent, heavy cough."
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