It is very important that you have a doctor, or provider, you can speak with openly and honestly. If you need to find one or make a change, start by asking your friends for a recommendation, or contact a referral service in your area. The Gay Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA.org) features an online search tool of their members.
Test!? What test?
In addition to a routine physical that includes reviewing weight, blood pressure, and lab results, there are some additional areas men need to consider. Keep in mind that these are guidelines, and that your individual health status, history, and situation will determine what is right for you.
Age 18 and up:
• Testicular self-exam. Some providers suggest doing this exam every month from puberty on.
• Skin exam. A review of your skin is recommended each month and during physical exams.
Age 40 and up:
• Prostate screening. A discussion with your provider about your history usually begins around age 40. If you are not a high risk, your provider may suggest waiting to have an actual screening until closer to age 50.
• Colorectal screening. Your provider will likely begin this conversation around age 50, unless there is a history that indicates doing so sooner.
For more information on these exams and screenings, visit the American Cancer Society website at Cancer.org.
How do you feel?
Certainly it is important to take care of all your organs, but what about your emotional body? For many men the idea of emotions and feelings takes a very distant backseat to all other considerations. But there are established correlations between your physical and psychological wellbeing, and there are the commonly recognized modalities available for this work. Some people looking to bring body and mind together benefit from yoga. Others turn to breathwork. Breathwork offers an opportunity for those wanting to begin an empowering and healing practice that combines mind and body. No matter how you choose to do it, take good care of yourself this month, and all year round.
David Allen is a certified Breathwork practitioner. Learn more: Breathworkworks.com.