Male reproductive system diseases account for 14% of the burden of health in Filipino men.
The male reproductive system is composed of two main parts. These are the testes and the penis. The testes is where the sperm is produced while the penis is the primary male sexual organ.
The penis is connected to both the urinary and reproductive system. This means that the penis is also the tool used for urine to leave the body. The testes on the other hand are located on an external pouch called the scrotum where the temperature is slightly colder than your body temperature to help facilitate the creation of sperm.
The male reproductive system’s main function is to produce, maintain, and transport genetic material. Male reproductive function involves sexual arousal, erection, orgasm, and ejaculation of semen during sexual intercourse.
Most men put pride in their reproductive system and use it as a gauge of their virility. When a problem occurs in their reproductive system, most of the time, most men will be too embarrassed to consult with a doctor.
This should not be the case especially since some male reproductive system diseases require medical attention. Some of the male reproductive system diseases are:
- Congenital malformations (undescended testes/cryptorchidism and hypospadias)
- Testicular and prostate cancer
- Male infertility
- Erectile dysfunction
- Diminished libido
- Abnormal ejaculation
Amongst these male reproductive system diseases, this article will discuss the three most common male reproductive system diseases, their symptoms and treatments.
Always remember that you should never self medicate. If you feel any of the symptoms listed below, consult your doctor immediately.
In the Philippines, prostate cancer awareness month is being held by the Department of Health every June to help Filipino men feel more comfortable consulting their doctor if they believe that they may have prostate cancer.
Worldwide, there are an estimated 1,3 million new cases of prostate cancer annually, making it the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. In the Philippines, 19.3 out of every 100,000 Filipinos have prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer that is treatable if caught at the early stages. It starts at the prostate gland which sits between the penis and the bladder.
Its purpose is to produce fluid that nourishes and transports the semen as well as aid in urine control. This is also what helps to produce the protein that helps semen retain its liquid form.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
There are normally no major symptoms to identify prostate cancer. This is why men are advised to undergo prostate cancer screening annually starting at 50 years of age. For some men though, they experience the following:
- Difficulty urinating
- Frequent, night urination that is also painful
- Pain during ejaculation
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Difficulty having an erection
- Pain when sitting down or keeping knees closed
Treatment of Prostate Cancer
As with any type of cancer, treatment will depend on the stage of the cancer. It’s best to consult with your doctor when it comes to treatment options.
In the Philippines, 1 out of 10 couples have fertility problems though in the study done, it was not clearly stated how many percent was caused by men and how many were caused by women. For this article, our focus will be on male infertility.
One of the most common male reproductive system diseases is male infertility which is the lack of ability to produce a high sperm count or having an abnormal sperm function or blockage which prevents the delivery of the sperm.
Male infertility can be caused by health problems, illnesses, injuries, lifestyle choices, chronic health problems, as well as other factors. Though this can be extremely frustrating especially for men who want to have a child, there are infertility treatments that are available.
Symptoms of Male Infertility
The main symptom for male infertility is the lack of ability to conceive a child even after a year of actively trying. In approximately 35 percent of couples with infertility, a male factor is identified along with a female factor; in approximately 10 percent, a male factor is the only identifiable cause.
Normally, this is the most common symptom though there are other things that can manifest infertility in a man such as:
- Problems with sexual function including erectile dysfunction, diminished libido, or abnormal ejaculation.
- Issues with their sperm (unhealthy sperm, do not have enough sperm, or no sperm at all)
- Problems in the testicles (painful or swollen testes)
- Having low levels of the hormone testosterone (necessary to produce mature sperm)
- Genetic problems that men might be born with
There are certain risk factors that have been linked to male infertility:
- Drinking alcohol
- Use of illegal drugs
- Mental health problems such as depression
- Infections and exposure to toxins
- Trauma to the testicles
- History of undescended testicles
Treatment of Male Infertility
There are three categories for the treatment of male infertility.
- Hormonal treatment to increase sperm counts or non-invasive methods to collect sperm. Some men have low hormone levels and can be treated with hormone shots.
- Surgery to open up blocks in the testicle. For example, a man who had a vasectomy in the past can have surgery to reopen the tube that sperm travels through.
- Assisted reproductive techniques, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI). These are usually used for non-specific male infertility.
Most of the male infertility problems can be treated without having to undergo surgery.
A common male reproductive system disease is erectile dysfunction. This is the inability of a man to get his penis erect or to maintain the erection as long as it is needed to perform its function. This sexual dysfunction affects around 40% of males on occasion.
This male reproductive system disease can happen when blood flow in the penis becomes limited or the nerves are damaged. It can also when there is too much emotional stress.
Sometimes, an erectile dysfunction can also signify a bigger problem such as atherosclerosis, heart disease or high blood pressure.
Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble keeping an erection
- Reduced sexual desire
Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction normally starts on a physiological level which is why your doctor may start treatment by telling you to start taking care of your heart and vascular health.
You may also be asked to do a lifestyle check and apply changes to it especially with food, sleep, and vices such as smoking, drinking, or use of recreational drugs. You may also be asked to increase your workouts if you have one.
Other options would be:
- Use of oral drugs or pills known as phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors such as Viagra or Cialis
- Penile injections
- Vacuum-assisted erection devices
- Penile implants / prostheses
- Intraurethral medication
As a last resort, surgery can be done if needed. Penile vascular surgery though is not recommended for older men with hardened arteries.
Male reproductive system diseases are still something that most Filipino men are not comfortable talking about. However, awareness and early detection are still the best thing to help address these problems.
If you feel uncomfortable asking someone about these, book an appointment with your doctor who will be able to answer all your questions without judgement.
Learn more about Men’s Health, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.