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5 "Women's Diseases" Your Husband Can Get

5 "Women's Diseases" Your Husband Can Get

Vicki Santillano | DivineCaroline

March 14, 2011

3. Bladder Infections

About 20 percent of women will get at least one bladder infection at some point, while men’s chances start out lower and increase with age. While women’s shorter urethras might be the reason they get infections more often (less distance for bacteria to travel), the fact that men’s prostates get bigger as they age is a common culprit. Anything that blocks urine flow and therefore keeps bacteria inside to multiply, rather than flushing them out—including enlarged prostates, kidney stones, and narrowed urethras—can lead to an infection. Symptoms of bladder infections are about the same for men and women but vary individually—frequent need to pee, pelvic pain, lower-back pain, blood in urine, and a burning feeling.

4. Thyroid Problems

Within our throats lie thyroid glands that produce hormones essential for normal metabolic and organ functions. As time goes on, nodules can grow on these glands and potentially affect hormone production, triggering either too little (hypothyroidism, the most common kind) or too much (hyperthyroidism); about 10 percent of them are cancerous. Only 5 percent of men in the United States experience these conditions, compared with 10 percent of women, but the consequences—weight gain, lethargy, and depression for hypothyroidism, versus rapid weight loss, rapid heartbeat, and increased anxiety for hyperthyroidism—are equally scary.

If you have an autoimmune disorder, you’re more likely to have thyroid problems. People over sixty, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, and those with a family history of these issues are also higher-risk.

5. Depression

As a whole, women are treated for depression more often than men are, but does that mean they’re more depressed, or that they’re more targeted for treatment? What we think of as common symptoms, like overwhelming sadness, aren’t always experienced across genders. Depressed men tend to show anger and frustration, get easily fatigued and discouraged, try to escape their problems (either by focusing too much on work or by developing dangerous drug and/or alcohol habits), and experience more physical pain than usual. They’re less likely than women to seek help, perhaps because there’s more social pressure on them to be stronger, both emotionally and physically.

However, by giving in to societal expectations, countless seriously depressed men are going undiagnosed. The Mayo Clinic’s Web site states that women attempt suicide more, but more men die from suicide attempts overall.

While women stand a greater chance of being diagnosed with these diseases, men need to be just as vigilant when it comes to prevention. As is the case with all health matters, education is key. Know your family history, what lifestyle changes you can make to reduce risk, and what to ask doctors to look out for during routine visits. Even if your chances of falling victim to one of these illnesses are low, there’s no reason to avoid reducing them further, any way you can.

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