Check Your Walnuts: 4 Important Exams for Men to Try at Home

Visiting the doctor’s office can be a stressful experience for many men. But avoiding medical appointments can be devastating for your health in the long run. 

It is important to educate yourself on common male health problems and their warning signs. With these four self-exams, you can check for male health problems from the comfort of your own home – no doctor’s appointment necessary.

Common Men’s Health Problems

There are a few medical conditions that disproportionately affect men. If you or a man in your life is concerned about specific symptoms, this information can be helpful. Knowing the signs and symptoms to look out for can be life-saving for you or a man in your life.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American men. More men die from heart disease than any other medical problem each year. 

Heart disease occurs when your arteries fill with plaque. This makes it harder for blood to circulate throughout your body and leads to heart attacks. 

Some of the symptoms of heart disease include:

  • Chest pain
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Radiating pain in your chest and arms
  • Sudden jaw pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Feeling lightheaded 
  • Becoming easily fatigued during physical activity

These are the most common symptoms of heart disease. If you or a loved one experience any of these, seek emergency medical attention right away.

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer found in young to middle-aged men. This type of cancer can be fatal if left untreated. 

Your testicles are responsible for producing and storing sperm. If you start noticing problems, performing a testicular self-exam at home is essential. 

Some common symptoms of testicular cancer include:

  • Lump(s) on either testicle
  • Feelings of heaviness in your scrotum
  • Persistent pain and discomfort in your scrotum
  • Enlarged testicle(s)
  • Back pain
  • Fluid sac(s) in your scrotum 
  • Enlarged or tender breast tissue
  • Groin aches

One or more of these symptoms can indicate a problem with your testicular health. 

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer (melanoma) is a common health problem for men. If you notice any abnormal moles, skin patches, or sores on your skin that will not heal, you may be at risk for melanoma. 

Sun protection blocks your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. It’s always a good idea to wear sunscreen when you are outdoors. 

Skin cancer self-exams are convenient and can be done at home. Always check for abnormalities, especially if you are over the age of 50.

Oral Diseases

Gum disease and oral cancer are two common men’s health problems. These problems can be caused by tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, and lack of access to dental care. 

Always practice good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss at least once daily, and use an antibacterial mouth rinse daily. 

You should avoid tobacco products, including smokeless chewing tobacco. These products put you at high risk for oral cancer, gum disease, and other oral problems. 

By performing oral self-checks at home, you can maintain your oral health and know when to seek medical help. 

Four Important Men’s Self-Exams

If you are a man, or know a man, who needs more medical care than they get, these self-exams can help. Performing self-exams at home can be the difference between life and death in some cases. If you or your loved ones notice any concerning signs during an at-home self-exam, seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

1. Heart Health Self-Exam

With heart disease being the number-one killer of American men, your heart health is not something to take lightly. Perform regular heart checks so you can have peace of mind. 

You should check your pulse regularly to make sure your heartbeat is at a normal rate. Your resting heart rate (RHR) is the number of beats per minute when you are at rest or not engaging in any form of physical activity. 

To check your pulse, place two fingers at the base of your wrist on the opposite arm. Set a timer for 60 seconds or watch the clock. Count the number of pulses you feel in one minute. This is your RHR.  

Your RHR should be between 60 and 80 beats per minute (BPM). Anything higher than 80 BPM signals that you should seek medical attention. This can be a sign of heart disease.

2. Testicular Self-Exam

It is essential to perform testicular self-exams at home to prevent undetected testicular cancer. This exam only takes a minute or two and can save your life. 

To perform a testicular self-exam, go to a private room in your home. We recommend doing your testicular self-exam during a shower so that the skin of your scrotum is softened. 

Hold your penis in an upright position, away from both testicles. Gently feel each testicle individually between your fingers. Check for any lumps, hard or soft, and feel around for potential fluid buildup. 

Any abnormalities in your testicles should be reported to your doctor or another medical professional. It is not normal to have lumps or bumps in your scrotum or near your testicles. 

3. Skin Cancer Self-Exam

This is the easiest men’s health self-exam to perform. Simply check all areas of your skin for dark spots (usually brown or black), red and flaky patches, and weird colors. 

If you notice anything unusual that you cannot explain by a bump, bruise, or another known injury, seek medical attention. A dermatologist or emergency personnel can evaluate your skin to make sure you do not show signs of melanoma.

4. Oral Health Self-Exam

You will likely notice any severe problems with your oral health. Gum disease and oral cancer have distinct symptoms that do not go away over time. 

The following symptoms are cause for concern with your oral health:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Sore gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Broken teeth
  • Severe pain while chewing or talking
  • Lockjaw
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Breath with a persistent bad odor
  • Lumps and sores that will not heal

These are signs that something is wrong with your oral health. Visit a dental professional or emergency room as soon as you notice these recurring issues.

Abnormal Self-Exam? Seek Medical Care

If you encounter anything unusual during the self-exam process, please contact a doctor immediately! At Toe River Health, we are committed to your health and well-being. Contact us, and we will help.