Five health symptoms men shouldn't ignore

British men are paying the price for neglecting their health: more than 100,000 men a year die prematurely.

On average, men go to their GP half as often as women. It's important to be aware of changes to your health, and to see your GP immediately if you notice something's not right.

Below are five important health issues for men and the symptoms you should never ignore.

A lump on your testicle

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 20 to 35. Nearly 2,000 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in the UK.

If you notice a lump or abnormality in your testicles, first see your GP. Most testicular lumps are not cancer, but it is essential to have any abnormalities checked. This is because treatment for testicular cancer is much more effective if the cancer is diagnosed early.

Moles

Check your moles regularly and be aware of any change in colour or shape, or if they start bleeding. Most changes are harmless and are due to a non-cancerous increase of pigment cells in the skin.

See your GP if a mole looks unusual or becomes itchy. It can then be checked and removed if necessary.

To minimise your risk of skin cancer, avoid exposure to the sun between 11am and 3pm. Cover up and use sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15 when you're in the sun.

  • Could you have a cancerous mole and not know it? Use our mole assessment to find out.
  • Read more information about moles.

Feeling depressed

If you're depressed, you may lose interest in things you used to enjoy. If you've been having feelings of extreme sadness, contact your GP.

Depression is a real illness with real effects on your work, social and family life. Treatment usually involves a combination of self help, talking therapies and drugs.

Depression is more common in women, but men are far more likely to commit suicide. This may be because men are more reluctant to seek help.  

Trouble urinating

When the prostate is enlarged, it can press on the tube that carries urine from the bladder. This can make it hard to pass urine, which can be a sign of prostate disease, including cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. More than 30,000 men are diagnosed with it every year. Other symptoms include pain or burning when you pass urine and frequently waking up in the night to pee. If you have any of these symptoms, see your GP.  

Impotence

Most men have problems getting or keeping an erection (impotence) at some point. See your GP if your erection problems last for several weeks.

Generally, lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and exercise, can correct the problem. Some men may need medication such as sildenafil (also known as Viagra).

Your GP is likely to assess your general health because impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, can be a sign of more serious conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.

  • Half of all men over 40 have had trouble getting an erection at least once. Read about the causes of impotence and where to get help.
  • Find out more about impotence.

Page last reviewed: 01/02/2016

Next review due: 01/02/2018

Ratings

How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 345 ratings

All ratings

39  ratings
21  ratings
13  ratings
15  ratings
257  ratings

Add your rating

Services near you

Find addresses, phone numbers and websites for services near you

Blood in your urine

Finding blood in your urine can be scary and must be investigated by a doctor, but it's not usually a sign of anything life threatening

Men's health 18-39

Health for men aged 18 to 39, including eating well, exercise, how to lose the gut and secrets of a sex doctor

NHS screening

Find out about the different types of screening offered by the NHS in England