Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Unprotected sex is common among older Australians, with research showing 40 per cent of men over 40 who have casual sex never use condoms. Results of a national survey on men’s health show that safe sex practices are being ignored by older men, who are putting themselves and their partners at risk of sexually transmitted infections
And while only nine per cent of men in this age group were having casual sex, 40 per cent of them admitted they did not use a condom – considerably higher than rates among younger men.
Many people find sexually transmitted infections – STIs (also known as sexually transmitted diseases or STDs) very difficult to discuss, but it is vital that you have as much information as possible to allow you to make informed choices. Do not be embarrassed to discuss your concerns with a doctor as this may be your opportunity to safeguard your future health. Both men and women should have regular sexual health check-ups, particularly if they have more than one sexual partner.
Safer sex reduces the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection. It includes:
using a condom during intercourse; and
abstaining from sex if you or your partner has a sexually transmitted infection or symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection. Remember, some STIs do not show any symptoms (such as Chlamydia) so the only way to find out if you’ve got one is to have an STI check up.
STI check-ups don’t take long. A quick check and treatment if necessary can prevent your or your partner’s sexual health from being seriously affected by STIs. Check-ups have proven to be highly effective and in some cases, early screening has literally saved lives. If left untreated, some STIs can lead to more serious health problems such as infertility.
If you are diagnosed with an STI/STD:
avoid sex until the STI/STD has been treated and has gone away;
always use condoms if you have sex; and
make sure your partner is checked out and cleared of infection before you have sex again.
Practicing safer sex will help protect both men’s and women’s sexual health.
Men are still often extremely reluctant to seek out information about their sexual health and to talk about men’s sexual health generally. This can lead to misconceptions.
Findings from a major independent survey of 1000 men, found that 24% of men wrongly believed that having a vasectomy is ‘really painful’. The research also indicated that men are reluctant to talk about contraception and their own sexual and reproductive health.
Did you know?
The vasectomy procedure can be over and done with in 10-15 minutes
There is a no-scalpel technique
Vasectomy is the only permanent method of contraception for men
If you feel your family is complete or are certain that you don’t want to have children, vasectomy may be the right choice of contraception for you.
However it is a permanent procedure and should be considered very carefully before going ahead. Visit www.vasectomyinfo.com.au for more information on the procedure.
Time to Test Your Testosterone
The concern of suffering from low testosterone should not be left to your dad or grandpa. 1 in 200 Australian men under the age of 60 experience testosterone deficiency. This treatable condition could, without a doubt, ruin your daily life.
What is it?
Testosterone (a.k.a. androgen) deficiency is when the body is not creating enough of the hormone testosterone for the body to operate normally. Testosterone is critical for a male to be sexually active and reproduce as well as for them to develop proper male features.
Why you may have it?
Having low testosterone at a young age can be a result of a bad signal from the brain to the testes which is often related to genetic disorders or it may be to do with the testes themselves. Your testes can be in danger due to infections, medications, chemotherapy and cancer.
What to look out for:
The symptoms can include: fatigue, low sex drive, weaker erections and orgasms, excessive sweating, hot flushes and an increase in ‘bad’ cholesterol, body hair loss, increased body fat around the abdomen and sometimes breast development.
Do you have “Male Menopause”?
No. Low testosterone is often referred to as male menopause but don’t worry, it is not the same thing. Menopause refers to the ending of a woman’s menstrual cycles which usually happens over a short period of time. Unlike women, men’s testosterone levels slowly decrease over their lifetime.
Although suffering from testosterone deficiency can’t result in a loss of life it can result in a change of lifestyle. With a simple visit to your GP, a health check and blood test can be carried out to diagnose the problem. If you are indentified to have low testosterone, you and your GP can work together to treat the deficiency to improve your quality of life.
Testosterone levels are easily treatable by increasing intake of testosterone. Treatment can be carried out in many ways, these include: oral capsules, injections, implants and patches, depending on the man’s needs. Management of the deficiency has to be continued for the entirety of a man’s life.
Men who suffer from prostate cancer will not be prescribed to take testosterone replacements as it may result in the growth of tumors.
As testosterone deficiency can cause an increase in ‘bad’ cholesterol which in turn can lead to serious heart problems and obesity, it is also important that the hormone levels are balanced with treatment to prevent any possible severe illness.