Posts Tagged ‘health myths’

Five Men’s Health Myths

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Christina Spaccavento is one of MB’s community network members and she is a brilliant therapist. Recently she contributed to an article in NewsLifeMedia’s Body & Soul. Here it is….

Myth 1: Low-carb beers don’t make you fat


It might be marketed that way, but dietician Kate diPrima says there’s much more to it. “This is a 150 million dollar segment of the industry, which thought they’d catch some health-conscious males,” she says. “Generally, beer is low in carbohydrates. It’s the total kilojoule content that makes a difference to your beer gut. Fat has 37kj per gram, alcohol has 29kj per gram and carbohydrates have 16kj per gram. So it is far better, from a health perspective, to choose a low-alcohol or reduced-alcohol beer and overall, to drink less. Try drinking a pot (285ml), rather than a 375ml stubby.” she says.

Myth 2: Impotence happens to everybody

True and false

“About 30-40 per cent of men will experience impotence,” says Christina Spaccavento, Acting CEO of Impotence Australia, sex therapist and relationship counsellor. Impotence can occur as a result of a medical, psychological or emotional condition, lifelong; or situational, Spaccavento notes. “Younger men will experience a higher level of psychological impotence, although this does tend to pass if they can deal with the emotions surrounding this. Older men tend to be affected for medical reasons, such as prostate, diabetes or heart issues,” she says. If you’re young and have experienced some level of erectile dysfunction make a visit to your doctor who will be able to look at the causes and, if necessary, make referral to sex therapist or specialist. For older men, Spaccavento advices to get a health check, “as it may be a sign of cardiovascular disease,” she says.

For more information call Impotence Australia on 1800 800 614.

Myth 3: Only women get PMT


A study by psychologists from the University of Derby, England, found that men suffer cyclical moodiness, discomfort and loss of concentration, just as women may during PMT. However, not all PMT is created equal. “Men’s mood can also be influenced by normal fluctuations or drops in testosterone levels with age,” says psychologist Dr Elizabeth Celi.

“This isn’t necessarily clinical or of concern. Our hormones naturally regulate our reproductive systems as well as our mood, and therefore our information-processing abilities. Men have normal psychological systems with mood fluctuations like anyone else: to reduce it to a PMT-equivalent is somewhat simplistic. Women’s menstrual cycles aren’t the only thing to affect their moods either,” she says.

Myth 4: Only women get the blues


“Men tend to be less emotional, but they still experience strong emotions. The difference is, that they’re culturally trained to not identify or express their feelings,” says Paul Martin, Principal Psychologist at Centre for Human Potential, Brisbane. “When we have emotions in the limbic (emotional) area of the brain, these need to travel through the language area [of the brain] and out the mouth through speech, or by writing issues down. This is called processing our emotions. With men, when there are emotions other than anger, they’re unlikely to express them.”

So that joke about grumpy old men has a degree of truth? “If men never process their feelings, this can result in depression, stress or anxiety. Rather than tears, they’ll withdraw into themselves and become less emotionally available or grumpy,” Martin says.

Myth 5: Do men get ‘man flu’?

True and false

“An understanding of masculinity is important when you’re dealing with men,” says Dr Ronald McCoy from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

“Men usually hold the supportive role: we put a lot of responsibility on men to be the provider and to not be ill. Women are used to dealing with their health: pap smears, breast checks, childcare, and pregnancy. So when men get ill, it can be stressful and quite a shock to their emotions. Also, people overestimate how terrible a common cold can make you feel. It’s all about an individual’s response to their illness.” We women may think it’s humorous, but perhaps we should take their temperature before we get dismissive.