Men’s sexual health – what counts as normal? What could be a warning sign of other health problems? CKNW’s Health Check took a moment to chat with Dr Nathan Thakur, Medical Director with Copeman Healthcare, to ask these and other questions.
So up until about 10-15 years ago, men’s health was a bit of a “taboo” subject. How are you finding it now?
We definitely get a lot more patients who are freer with this discussion. They actually bring it to us, and as physicians we appreciate it. Unfortunately we do still have a number of men who are a bit intimidated by the topic of men’s health, and so it’s good to be able to talk about it in settings like this to bring more awareness to the issues.
When it comes to libido or sexual relations for men, what are the most common concerns that you hear?
The most common concerns may not actually be thought of first and that’s the root causes of the problem. Things like low testosterone levels, excessive sleep and sleep apnea are all symptoms of men’s health issues. The most common concerns that we do tend to hear more about are regarding performance issues or low sex drive, and those of course can lead to relationship difficulties or other issues. It’s a shame because in a lot of cases, it doesn’t have to end up like that.
On the topic of performance-related questions, do you find a lot of people are asking “is this normal” regarding their sexual function? If so, what is normal?
There really is no normal. We’re having younger men as early as in their 30’s, all the way up to the end of their life experiencing these issues. That being said, many men who are north of 70 still have preserved sexual function because they’re doing a good job of exercising and just taking care of their bodies. We would love for everyone to be that way, but if they aren’t there are a number of treatments we can use to bring them back up to speed.
What are the most common causes of a decreased libido?
Decreased libidos are often related just to age and how hormones change. Testosterone declines north of 50, in addition to decreased amounts of sleep, increased stress, poor diet & exercise, all which have the ability to reduce a man’s vigour. When you don’t have that, you’re not excelling in many parts of your life, especially sexually.
The other cause that men don’t often consider is cardiovascular disease. Any time those small blood vessels are affected in your heart, they’re also being affected in your genitals.
What are some of the typical recommendations you give to male clients?
When these men come in it’s fairly individualized. We investigate how much of it is due to cardiovascular issues, whether it’s related to low or abnormally low testosterone, or if it’s simply a result of lifestyle factors such as sleep and exercise.
For guys who might think that it’s “just age,” what are some things they can do to correct it?
At Copeman the first thing that we do is give them a cardio assessment to determine the root of the problem. As far as treatment goes, there are a few medications out there that can help to establish blood flow, and there is also hormone therapy with testosterone. Our hope at Copeman is that we can help men to feel more confident, and better about their overall health.