Aging, stress, chronic and acute health conditions, inappropriate health style – all that contributes to the development of typical male diseases. For you to prevent and cure them better, you need to understand the nature of malaise. Some of them have pretty much the same symptoms, so it’s important to know the difference. We have prepared an ultimate guide on male diseases: they are compared side-by-side for your convenience.

Erectile dysfunction (ED)

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability of a man to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for his sexual needs or the needs of his partner. The term “erectile dysfunction” can mean the inability to achieve an erection, an inconsistent ability to do so, or the ability to achieve only brief erections. These various definitions make estimating the incidence of erectile dysfunction difficult.

Incidence and Prevalence

Most men experience this at some point in their lives, usually by age 40, and are not psychologically affected by it. According to the National Institutes of Health in 2002, an estimated 15 million to 30 million men in the United States experience chronic erectile dysfunction. According to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), approximately 22 out of every 1000 men in the United States sought medical attention for ED. The incidence of the disorder increases with age. Chronic ED affects about 5% of men in their 40s and 15–25% of men by the age of 65. Transient ED and inadequate erection affect as many as 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70.

Signs and symptoms

Some men experience chronic, complete erectile dysfunction (impotence), and others, partial or brief erections.

Causes and risk factors

Diseases (e.g., diabetes, kidney disease, alcoholism, atherosclerosis) account for as many as 70% of chronic ED cases and psychological factors (e.g., stress, anxiety, depression) may account for 10–20% of cases. Between 35 and 50% of men with diabetes experience ED. Erectile dysfunction has many causes, most of which are treatable, and is not an inevitable consequence of aging.

Possible complications

Frequent erectile dysfunction can cause emotional and relationship problems, and often leads to diminished self-esteem.

How to cure the disease?

  1. To cure underlying health disorders.
  2. Take ED pills (Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, etc).
  3. Solve problems in relationships.

Premature ejaculation (PE)

Premature ejaculation (PE) is a term used to describe a condition in which a man regularly ejects semen (i.e., ejaculates) very soon after the onset of sexual arousal, or sooner than he or his partner wishes. This condition, which is also called rapid ejaculation, is the most common type of sexual dysfunction in men under the age of 40. Premature ejaculation can be primary (in men who have had the condition since puberty), or secondary (acquired; in men who previously had control of ejaculation). It may develop in men who have erectile dysfunction (impotence) and are anxious about maintaining an erection during sexual intercourse.

Incidence and Prevalence

Premature ejaculation affects males only and can occur at any age of adulthood. The condition is most common between the ages of 18 and 30. It is estimated that premature ejaculation affects from 30–70% of men during their lifetime.

Signs and symptoms

In premature ejaculation, the man ejects semen (ejaculates) very soon after the onset of sexual arousal, or sooner than he or his partner wishes. This condition is not a serious health problem, but it may cause conflict between the man and his partner.

Causes and risk factors

The cause for premature ejaculation is unknown, although, in most cases, it is thought to be the result of psychological factors (e.g., anxiety, guilt). Rarely, the condition is caused by a physical problem, such as oversensitivity of the genitals or abnormal hormone (e.g., testosterone) levels. Certain medications (e.g., psychiatric drugs) may cause premature ejaculation. Risk factors for the condition include erectile dysfunction (impotence), stress, and health conditions that cause anxiety during sex (e.g., angina, previous heart attack).

Possible complications

Premature ejaculation that regularly occurs before penetration can prevent pregnancy. If it is not treated effectively, infertility treatment may be necessary if the couple wishes to have a baby. Besides, it affects man’s self-esteem and relationships.

How to cure the disease?

  1. Ask for a psychologist’s help.
  2. Practice safe sex with a regular partner.
  3. Find out whether there are some underlying health issues.
  4. Learn to deal with anxiety.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is not simply a case of too many prostate cells. Prostate growth involves hormones, occurs in different types of tissue (e.g., muscular, glandular), and affects men differently. As a result of these differences, treatment varies in each case. There is no cure for BPH and once prostate growth starts, it often continues, unless medical therapy is started. The prostate grows in two different ways. In one type of growth, cells multiply around the urethra and squeeze it, much like you can squeeze a straw. The second type of growth is middle-lobe prostate growth in which cells grow into the urethra and the bladder outlet area. This type of growth typically requires surgery.

Incidence and Prevalence

It is difficult to establish the incidence and prevalence of BPH because research groups often use different criteria to define the condition. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), BPH affects more than 50% of men over age 60 and as many as 90% of men over the age of 70.

Signs and symptoms

  1. Frequent urge to urinate.
  2. Increased urination at night.
  3. Weak urine stream.
  4. Dribbling at the end of the urination process.
  5. Inability to empty the bladder fully.

Causes and risk factors

  1. Infection of the urinary tract.
  2. Stones in the bladder or kidneys.
  3. Cancer of the bladder or the prostate.
  4. Prostate inflammation.
  5. Scarring of the bladder neck because of previous surgeries.
  6. Problems with nerves that control the bladder.
  7. Narrowing of the urethra.

Possible complications

An enlarged prostate can develop cancerous formations and affect the urinary system.

How to cure the disease?

  1. Take specific medications.
  2. Surgical treatment is often required.

Testosterone deficiency (TD)

Testosterone production declines naturally with age. Testosterone deficiency (TD) may result from disease or damage to the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, or testicles that inhibits hormone secretion and testosterone production, and is also known as hypogonadism. Depending on age, insufficient testosterone production can lead to abnormalities in muscle and bone development, underdeveloped genitalia, and diminished virility.

Testosterone is the androgenic hormone primarily responsible for normal growth and development of male sex and reproductive organs, including the penis, testicles, scrotum, prostate, and seminal vesicles. It facilitates the development of secondary male sex characteristics such as musculature, bone mass, fat distribution, hair patterns, laryngeal enlargement, and vocal chord thickening. Additionally, normal testosterone levels maintain energy level, healthy mood, fertility, and sexual desire.

The testes produce testosterone regulated by a complex chain of signals that begins in the brain. This chain is called the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. The hypothalamus secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to the pituitary gland in carefully timed pulses (bursts), which triggers the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland. Leutenizing hormone stimulates the Leydig cells of the testes to produce testosterone. Normally, the testes produce 4–7 milligrams (mg) of testosterone daily.

Incidence and Prevalence

Testosterone production increases rapidly at the onset of puberty and decreases rapidly after age 50 (to 20% to 50% of peak level by age 80). Approximately 8 million men in the United States experience testosterone deficiency; approximately 600,000 receive treatment.

Signs and symptoms

Signs depend on the age of onset and the duration of hormonal deficiency. Congenital testosterone deficiency is generally characterized by underdeveloped genitalia (testes that do not descend into the scrotum) and, occasionally, undeterminable genitalia. Acquired testosterone deficiency that develops near puberty can result in enlargement of breast tissue (gynecomastia), sparse or absent pubic and body hair, and underdeveloped penis, testes, and muscle. Adult men may experience diminished libido, erectile dysfunction, muscle weakness, loss of body hair, depression, and other mood disorders.

Causes and risk factors

Testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism) may be present at birth (congenital) or may develop later (acquired). It is classified by the location of its cause along the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis:

  • Primary, disruption in the testicles
  • Secondary, disruption in the pituitary
  • Tertiary, disruption in the hypothalamus

The most common congenital cause is Klinefelter’s syndrome. This condition, which is caused by an extra X chromosome, results in infertility, sparse facial and body hair, abnormal breast enlargement (gynecomastia), and small testes. Congenital hormonal disorders such as luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) deficiency and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) deficiency (e.g., Kallmann’s syndrome) also may cause testosterone deficiency. Other congenital causes include the absence of the testes (anorchism; also may be acquired) and failure of the testicles to descend into the scrotum (cryptorchidism).

Acquired causes of testosterone deficiency include the following:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Damage occurring during surgery involving the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, or testes
  • Glandular malformation
  • Head trauma that affects the hypothalamus
  • Infection (e.g., meningitis, syphilis, mumps)
  • Isolated LH deficiency (e.g., fertile eunuch syndrome)
  • Radiation
  • Testicular trauma
  • Tumors of the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, or testicles

Possible complications

Testosterone deficiency has been linked to muscle weakness and osteoporosis. In one study, proximal and distal muscle weakness was detected in 68% of men with primary or secondary hypogonadism. Spinal, trabecular, and radial cortical bone density may also be significantly reduced in testosterone-deficient men. Thirty percent of men with spinal osteoporosis have long-standing testosterone deficiency, and one-third of men have subnormal bone density that puts them at risk for fracture.

How to cure the disease?

  1. Lead a healthy lifestyle.
  2. Go through hormonal treatment (pills).
  3. Exclude factors that contribute to low testosterone production.
  4. Break unhealthy habits (binge drinking, smoking).

Infertility

Infertility is the inability to conceive after at least one year of unprotected intercourse. Since most people are able to conceive within this time, physicians recommend that couples unable to do so be assessed for fertility problems. In men, hormone disorders, illness, reproductive anatomy trauma and obstruction, and sexual dysfunction can temporarily or permanently affect sperm and prevent conception. Some disorders become more difficult to treat the longer they persist without treatment. Sperm development is ultimately controlled by the endocrine (hormonal) system that comprises the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Because sperm development takes over 2 months, an illness that was present during the first cycle may affect mature sperm, regardless of a man’s health at the time of examination.

Incidence and Prevalence

According to the National Institutes of Health, male infertility is involved in approximately 40% of the 2.6 million infertile married couples in the United States. One-half of these men experience irreversible infertility and cannot father children, and a small number of these cases are caused by a treatable medical condition.

Signs and symptoms

The main sign of infertility is the inability of a female partner to conceive. Men with infertility have weak, slow spermatozoids.

Causes and risk factors

The primary causes of male infertility are impaired sperm production, impaired sperm delivery, and testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism). Infertility can result from a condition that is present at birth (congenital) or that develops later (acquired). Causes of infertility include the following:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Defect or obstruction in the reproductive system such as failure of testes to descend into the scrotum (cryptorchidism) or absence of one or both testicles (anorchism)
  • Disease (e.g., cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, sexually transmitted diseases [STDs])
  • Hormone dysfunction (testosterone deficiency; caused by a disorder in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis)
  • Infection (e.g., prostatitis, epididymitis, orchitis; can cause irreversible infertility if they occur before puberty)
  • Injury (e.g., testicular trauma)
  • Medications to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and digestive disease
  • Metabolic disorders such as hemochromatosis (affects how the body uses and stores iron)
  • Systemic disease (high fever, infection, kidney disease)
  • Testicular cancer
  • Varicocele

Retrograde ejaculation occurs when impairment of the muscles or nerves in the bladder neck prohibit it from closing during ejaculation, allowing semen to flow backward into the bladder and causing infertility. It may result from bladder surgery, a congenital defect in the urethra or bladder, or disease that affects the nervous system. Diminished or “dry” ejaculation and cloudy urine after ejaculation are signs of this condition.

Testicular trauma, resulting from injury, surgery, or infection can trigger an immune response in the testes that may damage sperm. Though their effects are not fully understood, antibodies can impair the ability of sperm cells to swim through cervical mucus or to penetrate a female egg.

Possible complications

The disease doesn’t cause physical complications. Its main downside is man’s inability to have children. That can cause psychological distress, affect self-esteem and his family.

How to cure the disease?

  1. Improvement of lifestyle (more rest, regular exercise, healthy eating, optimal timing of intercourse).
  2. Medications for better sperm production and quality.
  3. Surgery is prescribed in certain cases, for example, when sperm is blocked.
  4. Sperm retrieval.

Prostate cancer

Adenocarcinoma of the prostate is the clinical term for a cancerous tumor on the prostate gland. As prostate cancer grows, it may spread to the interior of the gland, to tissues near the prostate, to sac-like structures attached to the prostate (seminal vesicles), and to distant parts of the body (e.g., bones, liver, lungs). Prostate cancer confined to the gland often is treated successfully.

Incidence and Prevalence

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men in the United States, other than skin cancer. The ACS estimates that about 230,900 new cases will be diagnosed in 2004 and about 29,900 men will die of the disease. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, exceeded only by lung cancer.

Prostate cancer occurs in 1 out of 6 men. Reports of diagnosed cases have risen rapidly in recent years and mortality rates are declining, which may be due to increased screening. African American men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer, and Asian and Native American men have the lowest incidence. Rates for Asian and African men increase sharply when they emigrate to the United States, suggesting an environmental connection (e.g., high-fat diet, smoking). The risk of developing prostate cancer rises significantly with age, and 60% of newly diagnosed cases occur in men over the age of 70.

Signs and symptoms

  1. Frequent urination.
  2. Blood in the urine or semen.
  3. Pain or burning sensations during urination.
  4. Erectile dysfunction.
  5. Weak urine flow, or its interruption.
  6. The urge to urinate at night frequently.

Causes and risk factors

  1. Aging. About 80% of men after 65 develop prostate cancer.
  2. Ethnicity. Prostate cancer affects white men more often than non-white Hispanic. The highest chances of developing prostate cancer are in northern Europe and North America, as well as other urbanized environments, for instance, Singapore, or Hong Kong.
  3. Family history. Cancer is inherited from relatives in 5% of cases. Some genetic changes also contribute to prostate cancer development.
  4. Eating habits have a great role, as well. Obesity is associated with prostate cancer, as well.

Possible complications

A cancerous tumor can grow affecting other organs, including the bladder and intestine. Prostate cancer in the last stages can be lethal. However, men usually reveal it before it starts harming other organs.

How to cure the disease?

At early stages, prostate cancer is treated with medications and radiation therapy, as well as androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT). Advanced prostate cancer is treated by chemotherapy that’s followed by surgery (prostatectomy) – the tumor is cut out.

Now when you know which male diseases are the main threats to your health, you should do everything possible to prevent them. Remember that prevention is always easier than treatment.