NEWS FLASH! Men’s health is in trouble. Big trouble! It’s been called a ‘silent crisis’. Why? Because it’s (deadly) serious, it affects millions of men, but no one seems to be talking about it. Until now. Kim asked me to talk about this important issue with you. Consequently, here I am!
I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you’re probably a woman. So… let’s explore what’s happening in men’s health and how that affects the men (and boys) in your life. Most importantly, I want to suggest 5 things YOU can do right now to make a positive difference and help solve this crisis – at least in your part of the world.
Just the facts, ma’am…
What exactly does this crisis look like? Here are some facts and figures:
- Australian men are dying nearly 5 years earlier than their female counterparts. And male deaths are more likely than female deaths right across the age range.
- Men are more likely to get sick than women.
- Men smoke more, drink more and are more likely to use illicit drugs.
- 71% of adult males are overweight or obese
- 51% of adult males don’t get enough exercise
- Australian males are three times more likely to commit suicide than females.
- Men are much less likely to see a doctor (only 43% of GP patients are men).
As a bloke, I find it confronting to read these statistics. Something is not right!
Let’s Talk Testosterone
Now, you can’t talk about Men’s Health without talking about testosterone – the key male hormone. As a matter of fact, it’s what helps us stay strong, lean, healthy, happy and dare I say it… horny! So, let me share one more scary statistic. A recent study, based on results from 43,000 men in 50 countries across the world, showed that men’s sperm counts, in Western countries, dropped 43% between 1973 and 2011. Significantly, that rate of decrease is showing no signs of slowing down.
Testosterone levels are dropping and that is certainly having a major effect on men’s health and wellbeing. What’s causing this sudden drop? One of the biggest reasons is the rise of xenoestrogens in our lives. And by the way, these toxic, but very common, chemicals are also the cause of hormone disruption in women (and girls) as well. More about these bad boys down below.
Solving the Men’s Health Crisis
So, the six million dollar question is – what can YOU do?
Here are five easy (well, pretty easy!) and practical actions you can take right now to help prevent this crisis from growing. AND you’ll be making a huge difference in the lives of the men and boys in your life:
#1 Talk about it!
There’s a reason it’s a ‘silent crisis’ and I’ll be totally honest about it – most of us men are undeniably hopeless at talking about our health issues. There are all kinds of reasons for this:
- the ‘silent, macho man’ stereotype
- a fear of being thought of as weak or ‘girlie’ if we show any vulnerability
- a lack of role models who are talking about health issues
- even a fear of discovering that there’s something seriously wrong if we start looking at our health too closely
The strange thing is, when you can create an atmosphere where it’s okay to talk about this stuff, most men will admit that they have concerns and that they know they’re not really looking after themselves. Start gently and be persistent, without nagging. It’s okay to say, “Look, I know it’s hard for blokes to talk about their health… but I love you and I’m concerned about you.” See this conversation as a work in progress.
#2 Get educated
There’s lots of information online about the many toxic chemicals we have in our lives. I’ve put together a short video, specifically for men (and the women who care about them) which talks a bit about xenoestrogens – their effects and why we’re better off without them. You can find that here.
Additionally, for an in-depth article about the effects of xenoestrogens on women, take a look at Kim’s post, ‘Why are my hormones out of balance?’ It’s a great read.
As Kim says, ‘Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know.’ The better informed we are, the better the choices we can make about our health and well-being. So, get educated!
#3 Create a toxic-free home
There are some things in life we have no control over – air pollution, water pollution, the other drivers on the road, our kids (most of the time!). But there are also areas where we have almost total control. These include what happens in our homes and what we put on our bodies.
Some men have to work in situations or with substances and chemicals that are toxic. So, when they come home, the best thing that you could do is create a toxic chemical-free house. A safe zone, if you like. This will reduce the toxic load that you and your family’s bodies have to deal with.
Think about reducing the amount of plastics you use (especially BPAs), ditching the dangerous chemicals in your cleaning products. And focus especially on the stuff that you’re going to breathe in or put onto your bodies – hand wash, dishwashing liquid, laundry liquid, toothpaste, air fresheners… the list goes on! The thing is, most of these products have xenoestrogens in them, which are disrupting the hormones of the men and boys and women and girls in your house.
If you come to our house, we’ve ditched all that toxic stuff and switched it with natural, non-toxic alternatives. Kim used to make her own natural cleaners, until she discovered Young Living’s Thieves range of products. Thieves has become our best friend. We know they’re all safe to use and they do a great job in every area of our house. It may sound crazy, but when I was living by myself and Kim helped me to ditch and switch, I could feel the difference in my health almost immediately. Create a safe, toxic-free zone and your whole family with thank you.
#4 Upgrade your men’s personal care products
I confess – for years I sprayed toxic chemicals under my armpits. It frightens me to think about it now. But men are putting xenoestrogens on their bodies on a daily basis – in their shaving cream, after-shave, deodorant, cologne, shampoo and conditioner.
One more scary fact for you – a 2017 study on PubMed researched men’s use of personal care products and found that within 6 hours of use, parabens and phthalates (both xenoestrogens) were appearing in significant concentrations in men’s urine. There’s no question that these chemicals get into our bodies.
My answer to that was Young Living’s Shutran range. They smell great and there’s soap, shaving cream, after shave lotion, beard oil and even the Shutran essential oil blend which works really well as a cologne. All natural. And of course, all xenoestrogen free.
#5 Encourage them!
As I said, Men’s Health can be a difficult topic. But it’s one that needs to be addressed, urgently! So, every step in the right direction needs to be encouraged. Ultimately it’s all about changing the culture and yes, women can help men to do that. Talk with your friends – male and female – about these issues. Get the word out there.
And when it comes to the men and boys in your life, take the positive approach. Just like women, men like to feel attractive and appreciated. They also need to know that you care. As you’re working to create a toxic-free home or encouraging your man to ditch his dodgy personal care products and switch to something more hormone-friendly, comments like these may be helpful:
- I appreciate being able to talk to you about this stuff.
- I love you… and really don’t want to lose you. I know that sounds dramatic, but…
- I love that new aftershave lotion! So smooth!
- Mmmm! You smell good.
- I knew this would smell good on you!
- I just want to create a home that’s safe and toxic-free for our family
You get the idea. After all, you’re a woman! To conclude – if we all do what we can, together we can solve this men’s health crisis.