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Aaron Sta Maria
Written by Aaron Sta Maria

Reviewed by Dr Jessica Gunawan

Tips to Maintain the Health and Wellness of Ageing Men

There are various disorders that can jeopardise the health and wellness of ageing men. Natural remedies and healthy habits may help prevent or tackle disease onset and improve quality of life.

Older man smiling as he holds a white cup of coffee with both hands

In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement stating that premature death was extremely high among European men. Unfortunately, this concerning trend is also affecting the health and wellness of men in Malaysia, a country with a healthcare system ranked 49th in the world by the United Nations health agency.

Read on to discover some notable men’s health conditions and steps to address them holistically.

What are the Problems Affecting the Health and Wellness of Men?

An outdated idea of masculinity – cigarette smoking, frequent alcohol consumption, and working late – relates directly to conditions that affect the health and wellness of men negatively.

Heart-related conditions

Man grimacing in pain with eyes closed as he sits at a desk and holds the left side of his chest with his right hand
Heart-related conditions are starting to affect more young men.

The general belief is that men 65 years or older are more likely to suffer a heart attack or develop a stroke or coronary heart disease than younger men. However, heart attacks in 20-year-old and 30-year-old men are becoming more common.

A study on coronary heart disease among Malaysian men found that 70% of teenage and adult men between 15 to 24 years had at least one disease risk factor.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that heart conditions stem from Blood Stasis, a by-product of Qi (vital life force) Deficiency.

Men should practice stress management, have a balanced diet, quit smoking, drink alcohol less or stop drinking, and exercise regularly. In addition, men may also consider using herbal remedies that promote blood circulation. Examples of these are panax notoginseng (san qi, 三七), ginkgo biloba (yin xing, 银杏), and black bean vinegar.

Prostate-related conditions 

Prostatitis is prevalent among 30 to 50-year-old men and can be classified as bacterial or non-bacterial. The former describes an acute or chronic bacterial infection, while the latter refers to prostate inflammation.

A healthcare provider may recommend pain-killing medication and antibiotics to improve a man’s health and wellness. Men with chronic bacterial prostatitis can also use alpha-blockers, which can relax the muscles in the prostate gland and the base of the bladder. This helps with urination. For easier and less painful bowel movements, a doctor may prescribe laxatives. 

Prostate enlargement narrows the urethra and puts pressure on the base of the bladder. Consequently, a man may suffer urine flow obstruction. Surgery and medications that help shrink the gland or relax its smooth muscle will help treat the condition.

Prostate cancer usually affects men over 50. In the early stages, cancer cells are confined in the prostate gland. As they become more aggressive, they may enter the vascular and lymphatic systems and spread to other parts of the body as secondary tumours. TCM believes that prostate cancer onset is linked to Blood Stagnation, Kidney Qi Deficiency, and an accumulation of Damp-Heat.

Surgery and radiotherapy or chemotherapy will help eliminate cancer cells. Herbal ingredients can support these treatments by tonifying the body.

Scutellaria baicale (huang qin, 黄芩), Phellodendri Chinensis Cortex (huang bo, 黄柏), Radix Ophiopogonis (mai men dong, 麦门冬), and Lithospermum erythrorhizon (zi cao, 紫草) removes Heat toxicity due to radiotherapy and protects body fluids. 

Poria (fu ling, 茯苓), perilla leaves (zi su, 紫苏), Houpoea officinalis (hou pu, 厚朴), ginger, and Rose banksiae (mu xiang hua, 木香花) eases the toxic effects of chemotherapy.

Liver-related conditions  

There are distinct reasons behind the development of liver diseases in men. Viral infections cause Hepatitis A, B, and C. 

Genetics may cause men to inherit conditions like Wilson disease (an accumulation of copper in the liver and vital organs) and haemochromatosis (a gradual build-up of iron in the body).

Going to bed early, engaging in physical activity, eating well, avoiding substances, and ingesting medications may help prevent, treat, or manage the symptoms of these conditions.

In TCM, emotional dysregulation and stress can result in Liver Qi Stagnation. Blood and qi circulation and fluid metabolism in the body will become impaired, provoking the onset of various liver-associated conditions. Reishi mushroom is highly sought-after for its hepatoprotective effects on the body. 

Unmanaged fatty liver disease can lead to the development of cirrhosis, fibrosis, or cancer. To prevent its onset, a licensed TCM practitioner may recommend using several natural ingredients. These include panax notoginseng, turmeric (jiang huang, 姜黄), red sage (dan shen, 丹参), turkey-tail mushroom (yun zhi, 云芝), and astragalus (huang qi, 黄芪).

Sexual health disorders 

Men who overexert themselves physically can suffer impotence, premature ejaculation, weak erections, or nocturnal emissions (sleep orgasms). TCM believes sexual disorders among men come from stress and Kidney Deficiency due to Liver Qi Stagnation.

Limiting alcohol intake, consuming a balanced diet, and regulating the frequency of physical activity can positively affect your sexual health.

Ginseng (ren shen, 人参) has been scientifically proven to improve impotence. Cordyceps (dong chong cao, 冬虫草) can enhance a man’s libido and address premature ejaculation by warming and nourishing Kidney qi.

Lower body pain

Man grimacing in pain as he stands with bended knees and holding his waist with his left hand
Lower back pain is a prominent indicator of a sedentary lifestyle.

Men who experience pain in the waist and back are likely overweight, have bad posture or have been sitting for too long. The easiest ways to alleviate the pain are maintaining proper posture and healthy body weight. They may also choose to: 

  • Use medications: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or prescription drugs help ease pain, relax the muscles, and prevent back spasms. Similarly, steroid injections can be used for that effect and to reduce inflammation. 
  • Undergo physiotherapy: Osteopathic manipulation and chiropractic adjustments may relieve pain, relax tightness, and improve body alignment and posture. 
  • Undergo surgery 
  • Use acupuncture massage by a qualified acupuncturist to ease the pain.

TCM believes that a Kidney Qi or Jing (essence) Deficiency aggravates the waist and back, causing pain. To ease this, men may consume Du Zhong Bu Yao (杜仲补腰), which nourishes the organ system and strengthens the waist. Likewise, a waist tonic essence that’s formulated from multiple herbal ingredients can also help relieve back pain.

The key to maintaining a man’s overall health and wellness is to ensure a balanced lifestyle. Alternative remedies may support the prevention and treatment of various disorders. However, it’s best to speak to a licensed TCM practitioner to ascertain the safety of specific herbal formulas or ingredients before use or consumption. 

This is an adaptation of an article, “Men’s Health: Why It’s a Big Issue and How to Take Care of Yourself”, which first appeared on All Things Health’s website.

References

  1. National Institute of Aging. Heart Health and Aging. [online] [Accessed on 27 October 2022] 
  2. CodeBlue. 2022. Age Is Just A Number: Malaysian Millennials And Gen Z At Risk of Heart Disease. [online] [Accessed on 27 October 2022] 
  3. All Things Health. 2022. Men’s Health: Why It’s a Big Issue and How to Take Care of Yourself. [online] [Accessed on 27 October 2022] 
  4. BetterHealth Channel. Prostate disease. [online] [Accessed on 27 October 2022] 
  5. All Things Health. 2022. Prostate Cancer Treatment: Understanding the 4 Stages and Early Intervention. [online] [Accessed on 27 October 2022] 
  6. Cleveland Clinic. Liver Disease. [online] [Accessed on 27 October 2022] 
  7. All Things Health. 2022. Do Not Ignore Fatty Liver: Why You Should Treat It Now Before It’s too Late. [online] [Accessed on 27 October 2022] 
  8. All Things Health. 2021. Eat Your Way to Potency: Foods and Herbal Remedies for Erectile Dysfunction. [online] [Accessed on 27 October 2022] 
  9. Cleveland Clinic. Lower Back Pain. [online] [Accessed on 27 October 2022] 
  10. All Things Health. 2021. Lower Back Pain: Understanding the Causes and Cures. [online] [Accessed on 27 October 2022] 

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