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Symptoms every man should have checked

Rub some dirt on it, shake it off, never let them see you sweat! Many men will ignore a nagging pain or symptom of a health issue that should send them to their doctor. There’s no shortage of reasons not to go. However, taking a chance with your health is a dangerous game to play, especially if you have a family and children who rely on you.

"Men are notorious for ignoring health problems until they become so severe they can’t function normally," said Anthony Wylie, DO, a primary care physician at Geisinger Mt. Pleasant in Scranton. "If they would take the time to get it checked out, in most cases they’ll learn it’s no big deal and easily treatable."

Here are 10 symptoms you should never ignore.

Chest pain

A pain in your chest could be caused by something as simple as heartburn or a pulled muscle. However, it could be much more serious, such as a heart attack.

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States," said Dr. Wylie. "Any time you feel pain in your chest, it’s time for a trip to the hospital ASAP."

A lump "down there"

A lump in your testicle, a feeling of heaviness or "dragging" are all reasons you should see a doctor. It could be a symptom of testicular cancer. It could also be something benign, such as an infection, inflammation of the tube that carries sperm or a harmless buildup of fluid.

Shortness of breath

"Shortness of breath is a symptom of a several different health issues," said Dr. Wylie. "It could be congestive heart failure, bronchitis, lung cancer, COPD or pulmonary hypertension."

Excessive thirst

It’s normal to be thirsty if you’re running up and down a basketball court. However, if you’re excessively thirsty when there’s no specific cause, you may have diabetes. Thirst is a classic symptom associated with hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.

Fatigue

In a fast-paced world, it’s easy to get run down. However, if even the simplest tasks wear you out, it’s time to get checked. Fatigue could just be from stress or lack of sleep, but it could also be caused by cancer, heart problems or liver disease.

Erectile dysfunction

"Erectile dysfunction is, in most cases, not directly related to the reproductive system," said Dr. Wylie. "It can be a symptom of other conditions and diseases such as anxiety, depression, diabetes, heart disease, MS, vascular disease and chronic alcoholism."

Multiple trips to the bathroom

Maybe you had your last glass of water too close to bedtime, or maybe you have an enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate can press on the urethra, the tube that carries urine, and can create the urge to go to the bathroom more frequently. You may also find it more difficult to go and have a weaker flow.

Blood in your stool

"Blood in your stool is not normal," said Dr. Wylie. "It could be hemorrhoids or something more serious like colon cancer."

This blood may be your only warning symptom.

Changes to your skin

Any new mole or mole that changes shape or color could be a sign of skin cancer. Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in men, and their risk for developing it as they age increases faster than a woman’s risk.

Unexpected weight loss

If your pants fit looser after improving your diet and exercise, that’s great. If there is no explanation for your weight loss, it’s a cause for concern. Unexpected weight loss is an early symptom of many serious diseases, from cancer and heart disease to celiac disease and many more.

"If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment today," said Dr. Wylie. "The people who love and care for you will be happy that you did."

Anthony Wylie, D.O., is a primary care physician at Geisinger Mt. Pleasant. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Wylie or another primary care physician, please call 570-342-8500 or visit Geisinger.org

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