10 Symptoms Men Should Never Ignore

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Mary Elizabeth Dallas on July 8, 2021
  • male doctor talking to patient
    The Right Diagnosis
    Men are less likely than women to visit the doctor, yet they're more likely to develop certain health issues. And there are symptoms you should never ignore. Something that seems like a minor problem might be a warning sign of a bigger health issue. Getting the right diagnosis is the best first step. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms.
  • Men's Restroom Male Lavatory Sign Marker Public Building Architecture Signage
    1. A Change in Urinary Habits
    Several urinary changes could be signs of a problem with your prostate gland. These include a change in how often you need to urinate, leaking urine, having trouble urinating, or waking in the night to go to the bathroom. As you get older, the prostate gland can get larger. This can squeeze the tube (ureter) that carries urine out of the bladder and make it hard to urinate. Or it can make you feel like you need to go more often. A bacterial infection can make it harder to urinate too, and cause a burning feeling during urination. Pain or burning during urination can also be a sign of prostate cancer.
  • Dermatologist examines a mole
    2. Skin Changes
    Check with your doctor or dermatologist if you find a new and oddly shaped freckle or mole. Also check in if an existing mole changes in color or size or starts to bleed. These could all be signs of skin cancer. Men are at risk for skin cancer. This is especially true if you're often outdoors and don't wear sunscreen. Waiting to have skin changes checked out by a doctor can be dangerous—some forms of skin cancer are fatal. If found and treated early, though, many skin cancers can be cured.
  • Doctor discussing medical results with male patient in hospital
    3. Blood in Urine or Stool
    Blood in your urine could be a sign of a urinary tract or prostate gland infection. Other possible causes are a tumor, injury, a kidney stone, or low blood platelet count. Don't ignore blood in your stool or stool that looks darker than normal. This may be from bowel inflammation, an ulcer, hemorrhoids, or a bowel tumor. Blood in the urine or stool could also be a sign of colon cancer if you also have pain and constipation or diarrhea. Report any of these symptoms to your doctor as soon as possible
  • Overweight Man Asleep In Bed Snoring
    4. Excessive Snoring
    Loud snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. That's a sleep disorder linked to many health problems. They include heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. About half the people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type. It causes your airway to collapse or become blocked while you sleep. This causes quick breaks in breathing that can occur many times an hour during sleep. Being overweight increases your risk. Lifestyle changes like weight loss may help. Some people need the help of a breathing device while they sleep. Others might need surgery to increase space and improve airflow through the upper airway
  • Close-up of a man standing on a scale
    5. Unexplained Weight Loss
    Losing a large amount of weight without trying could be a sign of a serious health issue. For instance, it could indicate diabetes, an overactive thyroid, or Crohn’s disease. Cancer can also cause the unexpected loss of 10 pounds or more. In most cases, dramatic weight loss occurs in those with cancer of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus or lung.
  • Old man at a routine medical checkup
    6. Chest Pain
    Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men in the United States. The most common warning sign of a heart attack is pain or discomfort in the middle or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes. Chest pain related to a heart attack may ease up and then return. Some people describe the feeling as pressure, squeezing or fullness in the chest. Others may feel as though they have heartburn or indigestion. You may also experience shortness of breath and cold sweats. Don't hesitate if you suspect a heart attack. Call 911 right away.
  • Acid Reflux
    7. Chronic Heartburn
    Most people get heartburn or indigestion from time to time. But about 20% of Americans have a more serious and long-lasting type, called GERD. That stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. If you have heartburn more than twice a week for a few weeks, you may have GERD. You should see your doctor. GERD that's not treated can lead to other problems, such as inflammation or narrowing of the esophagus. You could also breathe stomach acid into your lungs. That can cause breathing problems like asthma, wheezing, a sore throat, or laryngitis. If you have trouble swallowing or if you vomit fluid that is bloody, green or yellow, seek immediate medical attention.
  • African man talking to doctor
    8. Testicle Changes
    Examine your testicles regularly and don't ignore any of the common warning signs of problems. They include redness, pain, lumps or swelling in this area. Because the testicles aren't protected by bone or muscle, they're more vulnerable to injury. They can also become inflamed or infected. It's rare, but symptoms could be signs of testicular cancer. That's treatable once it's diagnosed. Check in with your primary care doctor or urologist to find what's causing testicle changes.
  • Mature Adult Couple In Conversation With Doctor
    9. Erectile Dysfunction
    Erectile dysfunction (ED) becomes more common with age, but it’s usually a sign of another health issue. Any disorder that affects the nerves or reduces blood flow to the penis could result in ED. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease. Taking certain medicines can cause ED too. So can being overweight, sedentary, a smoker, or a heavy drinker. Emotional issues like stress, anxiety, guilt, depression, and low self-esteem also can lead to ED or make it worse. Talk with your doctor and get checked for health issues that could be a source of ED. Medications and lifestyle changes can help in most cases.
  • Problematic Night
    10. Fatigue or Irritability
    Fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in work, and trouble sleeping are all warning signs of depression in men. These symptoms usually linger for weeks at a time. Often, though, people don't recognize them. Some men don't seek help because they're hesitant to talk about their feelings. However, if you have any signs of depression, it’s important to talk with your doctor or a therapist. Treatment can help ease your symptoms. It will help you regain interest in your job, family and other activities.
  • Family having lunch outdoors
    Know Your Body
    To keep your body in good health and thriving throughout your life, be proactive about your health. Know your body well and you’ll be able to recognize when something isn’t quite right. With any illness, injury or disease, an early diagnosis is the best way to come away with an effective treatment and a good prognosis.
10 Symptoms Men Should Never Ignore

About The Author

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  18. Hyperthyroidism. American Thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/ata-hyperthyroidism-brochure.pdf
  19. Crohn's Disease. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/crohns-disease/Pages/fa...
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  21. Testicular Disorders. National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/testiculardisorders.html
  22. Sexuality in Later Life. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/sexuality-later-life
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Last Review Date: 2021 Jul 8
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.