Men’s Health during the Coronavirus Pandemic
First of all, I want to disclose that I am NOT an infectious disease expert and just like you, I am learning about this new Coronavirus every day. We all know that the human race as a whole is going through a difficult time that will impact our lives, if it hasn’t already. This can be physically, socially and financially. However, when you listen to the experts, there is one great thing about it… WE HAVE THE POWER TO CONTROL IT. We can ALL contribute to avoid spreading this disease.
A good friend of mine, and sexual health expert, recently said “Today, Men’s Health has a different meaning”. He is correct! We have to focus on what we have in front of us. This motivated me to write a blog post describing the different things we, as men, can do at home while we try to #FlattenTheCurve by practicing social distancing. These practices should be continued even after the pandemic is controlled. The goal of this post is to appease our minds. There is no need to panic, we will get through this.
I was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and my treatment has been delayed, what should I do?
This is probably one of the most common concerns and a very important one for men. First of all, remember that prostate cancer is curable. Most prostate cancers are considered “slow-growing”, meaning: they do not progress as fast as other cancers do. Some research studies found that certain prostate cancers DO NOT become more aggressive in up to 6 months without treatment. In other words, if you were recently diagnosed with prostate cancer of low or intermediate risk, the probability of it becoming more aggressive while you wait to get treated is low. However, if you were diagnosed with prostate cancer make sure you contact your urologist to ensure that he or she discusses the severity of your diagnosis and the plan of care.
I have Peyronie’s disease, what can I do at home?
Traction therapy is one of the least invasive therapies for Peyronie’s Disease and its success has been shown to be dependent on one thing: TIME. Fortunately for us, the coronavirus has given us more TIME to be at home. Men who have penile curvature, can go ahead and use their traction devices to help improve their curvature.
Xiaflex is the only FDA approved medication for the treatment of Peyronie’s Disease. These are injections administered in cycles. Each cycle involves 2 injections delivered into the Peyronie’s plaque 2 days apart. Your doctor will then wait 6 weeks to start the next cycle. What are patients supposed to do in between each cycle? MODELING exercises which can be achieved with or without Traction Therapy.
If the coronavirus interrupted your injections, do not worry. Peyronie’s disease should not get worse if injections are being delayed. Take advantage of the time you have at home and exercise the penis through modeling and traction therapy!
I have Low Testosterone, will I need to stop my therapy?
Many men who come to our office with low testosterone are boosting their T levels with Bio-available testosterone pellets. These pellets are slowly absorbed and usually last in our bodies 3 to 6 months. If you were getting testosterone pellets and fear to be exposed to the coronavirus or cannot get to your doctor’s office, hope is not lost. You should consider injectable (intramuscular or subcutaneous) testosterone shots while you wait for your next testosterone pellet administration. These are injections that you or your partner can administer in the commodity of your home once or twice a week. Moreover, if you are getting weekly injections at a “Men’s T-clinic”, there is no need for you to do that anymore. You can give yourself those injections at home! Lastly, for those wondering if pharmacies will run out of testosterone injections, we do not anticipate this happening.
I have ED and my penile implant surgery was cancelled, what should I do?
Recently, the Surgeon General of the United States, World Health Organization and CDC recommended hospitals to cancel all elective surgeries. Hospitals are trying to preserve beds and ventilators for those who will need it. We understand penile implant surgery is considered outpatient and will not require a long hospitalization. For those men who were scheduled for surgery, we have your best interest at heart. We do not want you to be exposed to the virus and want you to stay healthy.
Rest assured, your surgery will be re-scheduled as soon as we feel it is safe for you to undergo the procedure.
That being said, if you are wondering what you can do while you wait for your surgery…
If you haven’t tried Trimix injectable therapy: now is the time to consider using it! Penile injections work similar to oral medications. They expand the blood vessels that bring blood into your penis to help you gain an erection. Trimix injections should be first administered by your doctor to ensure what’s the best dose for you. Our goal is for you to have a strong erection for intercourse that will last how long YOU want it while limiting side effects. Call our office and I will be glad to prescribe you the medication.
If you have already tried and failed injectable therapy and can’t wait for your penile implant, the best thing you could do while you wait is vacuum therapy. Imagine you are going to run a marathon. The only way you will finish that race successfully is with TRAINING. Your penis is about to go through a marathon (surgery), and we want your penis to be ready for that “marathon”. Vacuum therapy can help “train” your penis for surgery and keep its tissues strong and elastic by preventing scar formation, also known as fibrosis. Vacuum therapy will also stretch your penis and allow your surgeon to put in the biggest implant possible.
I was planning on visiting the office, and now I am unsure if I should go.
I have GREAT NEWS for you. Our office is equipped to provide TeleMedicine visits. TeleMedicine allows for you to “visit” us and talk to me, your doctor, from the comfort of your home. Call us for more information!
One last thing, take advantage of the extra time and give your body some love: rest, hydrate, EXERCISE! Also, remember to continue washing your hands, practice social distancing and follow the CDC and World Health Organization recommendations. This too shall pass and hopefully, soon we will get you back in the game!
This article was authored by Dr. Jonathan Clavell. Dr. Clavell is a urologist who specializes in men’s health including erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, Peyronie’s Disease and BPH.