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Most Shocking Men's Health Problems I Treat in the ER



Today, we’re checking out 5 of the craziest or little-known emergency medical conditions that men need to be aware of! Whether you were born male, identify as it or just care about the men in your life and wanna make sure they stay nice and healthy, these are some more concerning medical conditions that you should definitely be aware of.


5. Testicular Torsion

Up first on our weird male medical condition topic of discussion, testicular torsion. Yes, I know what you are thinking, Ummm what in the what?! Alright bear with me, this may be painful for some to just even hear about, but a testicular torsion is a real deal medical emergency in which the spermatic cord, aka the part of the testicle that provides blood flow to the area, becomes twisted or rotated. Maybe from an injury or possibly something else, but basically the blood supply to the testicle or scrotum is cut off causing possible atrophy or shrinkage to the area. If the blood supply isn't restored, or the area isn’t untwisted so to speak in a matter of 4-8 hours, the testicle could infarct or die. I’m not joking either, this is a very serious emergent situation that affects males more than you may realize. Although it is typically seen more in younger teenage boys, males of any age can experience a testicular torsion at some point in their life.


Treatment for this serious situation? Surgery is usually required to correct it but in some cases, a doctor might be able to untwist a testicle by pushing the scrotum manually, although you still may have to undergo surgery at some point to prevent it from happening again. Okay, how do you know if you have a torsion? Symptoms like: strong pain in that area, swelling, redness, feeling sick, or one testicle might be positioned higher up than the other. If you have any concerns you or someone you know has a torsion, make sure you see a doctor IMMEDIATELY as you really do not, I repeat not want to lose blood supply to this area.


4. Bladder Stones

Pain in the lower abdomen, feeling like you have to constantly urinate, pain in the penis or testicles. This isn’t a fun one either! Not to be confused with kidney stones, Bladder stones are hard masses of minerals found in your bladder. They can develop when the minerals in concentrated urine crystallize and form stones. So yes technically anyone can get bladder stones, but Men for some reason especially those over the age of 50 are more likely to get them. Men over the age of 50 have benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH and BPH causes the prostate, an organ located below the bladder in men, to get larger. An enlarged prostate can often make it difficult to drain the bladder completely which can cause stones to form when urine sits in the bladder for too long.


Other people, who are at risk for bladder stones? Those with any nerve damage like a spinal cord injury or those who may have previously had surgeries on the bladder or intestines. Okay, how do you know if you have bladder stones? Well things like changes in urine color, frequent need to urinate or stopping and starting the flow of urine, and of course pain, can all be symptoms. In extreme cases, leading to serious complications like: damage to the bladder, kidneys, uremic poisoning, and even death could result but that's in severe cases. Most bladder stones pass on their own or can be removed. Often a doctor will first do a cystoscopy to find the stones and then use a laser or some other tool to break up the stones into pieces so they can be flushed out. If the stones are too large, surgery could be an option as well.


3. Gynecomastia

Man boobs, moobs, you’ve heard all the not-so-nice slang for it, but did you know that gynecomastia is a real condition in which the overdevelopment of breast tissue occurs in men or boys. Often seen when a pre-teen or teenage boy is going through puberty and a ton of hormonal changes are happening to the body, breasts can grow larger, grow unevenly, and be very tough to cope with. Although not typically a life-threatening condition or associated with cancer, sometimes people with this condition can experience pain, lumps, nipple discharge, and more.


So what causes gynecomastia? In a nutshell, this is often caused by changes of hormone levels like estrogen and testosterone in one’s body. However, it could be caused by other things as well. Factors like: taking certain medications, certain medical conditions like Kidney disease, liver disease, or consuming foods that may be higher in estrogen hormone levels such as milk or soy, Also using things like illegal drugs or anabolic steroids could also cause gynecomastia. Interestingly enough newborn babies sometimes have short-term forms of gyno as it has to do with a mother’s estrogen staying in a baby's blood a while after birth.


How does one treat this condition? Well in some cases it may go away a few years after puberty, but in other cases, hormone therapy and even surgery may be used to treat it as well.


2. Runner’s Hematuria

Although technically anyone can get our next condition, Hematuria is often more commonly found in male patients and is defined by the presence of red blood cells in the urine. It can cause your urine to become bright red, pink, or even brown.


Possible causes for the blood in the urine could be urinary tract infection, Kidney stones, tumors of the bladder or kidney, trauma and maybe one of the most common reasons is Exercise. Often called runner’s hematuria, Marathoner’s hematuria, and more, this condition is usually a benign condition in which there is blood in the urine after working out. It's especially common in runners, those who participate in long endurance events, and or people who are experiencing poor hydration. For instance, in a small study of 25 male 100-kilometer (km) ultra-endurance runners, 17 were shown to have hematuria post-race Prolonged activity modifies hematological parameters and promotes anemia, leading to decreases in hemoglobin and hematocrit level.


In other words, this exercise-induced hematuria can last for a few hours or even days after working out, but if you find yourself still experiencing symptoms or blood in the urine after 72 hours, definitely contact your doctor as more studies and medical treatment may be needed.


1. Priapism

Sounds interesting enough but I can assure you as a male, this is nothing that you want to happen in your life. And if you do come to see me in the ER with this condition, you may just hate me afterward. Okay, I'll explain, priapism is a condition that can occur in males of all ages in which prolonged erections happen and is usually unrelated to any type of sexual activity. Yep, an erection that just won't go away no matter what you do!


What causes this prolonged penis pump of sorts? Well, things like taking erectile dysfunction medications, other non-ED medications, blood thinners, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs or even other conditions like sickle cell disease can all cause priapism. And again this can happen at any age.


Ischemic priapism specifically, aka low-flow priapism is the most common form of priapism and is the result of blood not being able to leave the penis. In other words, blood is trapped in the penis, and cannot flow out of the veins. This is bad news and seriously requires immediate medical care. If you have an erection lasting more than four hours, you need to seek emergency care immediately, I’m not joking. If you don't treat this it can cause serious complications and destroy tissue inside of the penis. Not only that but it can lead to possible Erectile dysfunction later on and you could in severe cases actually lose the penis. So if you think you are suffering from priapism definitely get to the hospital ASAP.

To try and reduce short bouts of extended erection, try putting ice or a cold pack indirectly on your pelvic area for 10-20 minutes at a time.


Now if you do come into the hospital after having an erection for a prolonged period of time, forewarning The ED docs such as myself have to physically drain the blood from the penis with needles. It's not a fun process but definitely better than losing your member altogether.


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