Men: Don’t ignore these 5 symptoms!

Joanne Hart for

If you’re a man, chances are that you use a simple three-level medical system: broken bones or massive wounds mean a trip to the hospital, blood in your urine will get you to the GP, and for the rest: it’ll just go away.

For the most part, this isn’t a bad system, but there are some common symptoms which could indicate something more serious. And if these come up again and again, visit your doctor to make sure there’s no underlying issue.


If this happens once in a while after you’ve over-indulged at the table, okay. But if it happens often, is accompanied by other symptoms (such as shortness of breath, pain in your arm, nausea, vomiting, or sweats), or antacids don’t make much of a difference, it’s time to see the GP.

Bloody stool

This isn’t a glamorous symptom, but if there’s blood in the toilet bowl, or very dark or almost black stool, it can be a symptom of a harmless haemorrhoid, or something far more serious like gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, or colon cancer. Make an appointment with your doctor, as early diagnosis is the best way to deal with any of these conditions.

Blood in the semen

While this can be caused by injury, rough sex, or an infection in the prostate, it can also be the first sign of prostate or testicular cancer. Unless you’ve had an injury, it’s best to get this seen too – actually, even if you’ve had an injury, rather be safe than sorry.

Erectile dysfunction

If you have this once in a while, it’s normal. However, if it’s an ongoing battle to get or keep an erection, it’s a warning sign for various conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease, chronic alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, vascular disease and neurologic disease. It can also be a side-effect of medication or a result of stress or depression. Either way, this is no way to live – see you doctor so that you can get back to normal.

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Chronic thirst

This isn’t that need for something cold on a hot day! We’re talking unquenchable thirst, which can be quite a serious symptom of diabetes. Other signs are frequent urination, extreme hunger, tiredness, unexplained weight loss or gain, nausea, blurred vision, or sores that are slow to heal – basically, don’t wait for all of these: see your doctor for a check-up.