THE pandemic has made us more concerned for our general health than we might have been before.
Many people avoided going to their GP over the last 12 months due to Covid fears, and instead turned to Dr Google to answer any health-related issues.
But this could cause problems, as there is a breadth of misinformation online when it comes to health – and a plethora of myths.
With health misconceptions often playing on the minds of men across the UK, what are the most common and is there any truth in them?
Navin Khosla, Superintendent Pharmacist at FROM MARS debunked some of the most searched men’s health myths and sorted fact from fiction – advising when you should go and see your GP.
1. Weak erections aren’t caused by erectile dysfunction
Over 68,600 men search for the term “weaker erections aren’t a sign of erectile dysfunction” each year.
Navin said if you’re experiencing weaker erections, it might not be down to erectile dysfunction.
He explained: “Weaker erections are more common in older men and can be caused by numerous health issues such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
“By simply changing your lifestyle by reducing your alcohol intake and being more active, you should start to experience stronger erections.”
2. Man buns cause hair loss
For some blokes, having your partner cut your hair in lockdown was just not an option.
Cue the man buns and hats to hide overgrown manes.
But neither of these cause hair loss, despite over 52,000 men searching for “can man buns and hats cause hair loss”.
Navin said: “Your hair is perfectly happy being covered by a hat, and there is no connection between donning your cap and going bald.
“You may have read that repeated friction against your scalp will cause a bare patch, but for this to happen you’d need to be wearing a hat so tight that it would be seriously uncomfortable.
“If this is the case, you probably just need a new hat.”
3. Shaving makes your hair grow
At a certain age, many men start looking at ways to bolster the hair on their head.
If that sounds like you, you’re not alone as annually 68,400 men search for this.
Some will try anything to thicken up their barnet, including shaving it off…
But there is no medical evidence at all to prove that this makes your hair grow thicker, Navin said.
He explained: “Men often desire thicker hair as more often than not, this can reduce your chances of hair loss.
“If you have noticed a change in your hair, whether you’re losing it on your head or growing more on your face, there are numerous reasons for this, including side effects to medication, so don’t be afraid to speak to your GP.”
4. Men can’t get breast cancer
While it’s not as common in men as it is in women, men can still get breast cancer.
In the UK there are about 350 men diagnosed with breast cancer each year, compared to 55,000 cases in women.
Just one per cent – around one in 100 – breast cancers in the UK are in males.
Navin said: “It is much more rare compared to other forms of cancer in men, but breast cancer often affects those over the age of 60.
“It’s important to check for symptoms such as lumps or nipple discharge and speak to your GP if you experience any of these symptoms or notice any changes.”
5. You need protein immediately after working out
The rise in gym culture and the popularity of fitness influencers on Instagram means many of us are bombarded by shredded hunks sipping a shake, often topless.
Over 51,000 men search for this annually.
While protein is a great food group, and it can help to lessen how much you ache after a workout, Navin said the best way to consume it is to have it gradually through the day.
He said: “Lean proteins, fish and poultry are especially good sources of protein that you should try to incorporate into your diet.
“Protein supplements are also an option, but remember that they are there to add protein alongside your regular intake, as opposed to replacing it entirely.
“That said, there is a small time window of about 20 minutes after a long workout where recovery drinks can be a great benefit in aiding the repair, recovery and building of new muscle.”
Kavin said these drinks should be a combination of protein and carbohydrate, with three or four parts carb to every one part protein, with ten to twenty grams of protein in total.
6. Peeing a lot means you’re growing old
We’ve all been there. You’re out and about and suddenly, you have an overwhelming urge to urinate.
If that’s you then you’re not alone as annually 41,000 men search for this.
Navin said that as you age, and especially after 60 years old, you might be visiting the loo more often.
He explained: “The older we get, the less our body produces a hormone that helps us to retain fluid. So, from that standpoint, the myth seems to hold true.
“However, there are multiple other reasons why you might be urinating more often, and any discomfort while doing so should always be investigated.
“For instance, you could be suffering from bladder irritation from a urinary tract infection, the presence of bladder stones, or abnormal growths.”
7. Men can’t get post-natal depression
Navin said that this is untrue and men can also experience post-natal depression once their child is born.
He said: “There are many reasons why new dads can become depressed as the dynamic of their relationship with their partner will have changed a lot.
“For example, increased financial pressure, lack of sleep, and worrying about the child’s wellbeing and future are all reasons why a new father might feel depressed.
“Dads can also feel guilty towards the mother as she recuperates from childbirth and breastfeeds the child.”
8. All men snore
Navin said that there is a common misconception that being male means that you will snore while asleep.
The expert says this is untrue, and there is no link between being male and snoring.
He said: “Snoring is usually caused by a partial blockage of your airways while you sleep.
“There is a heightened chance of snoring if you are overweight or if you sleep on your back, as this can put additional pressure on your airways.
“You could try to change your sleeping position so that you sleep on your side, invest in a more supportive pillow to keep your airways open, or try to lose some weight if you are overweight.”
He added there are several other things you can do to help you stop snoring such as avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, and not taking sleeping pills.
“If you experience sudden gasping or choking noises during the night, and regularly feel drowsy during the day, you may have sleep apnoea.
“In this case, it is important to check with your doctor to see if you require any treatment as this can be a serious condition if not properly treated”, he said.