Anxiety, Family Issues, Fatherhood, Stress

expectant dad panicsDon’t Panic, Dad-to-Be, You’re Not Alone

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is due any day and until a week or so ago, everything was going incredibly smoothly. She and I took classes and we both read your book, “The Expectant Father” (which she liked better than most of the pregnancy books written for women). The pregnancy has been uneventful and the baby is doing great. But one night, I woke up in a cold sweat, worrying like crazy about, well, everything, like my wife getting sick, or something going wrong during the delivery, or any number of other things. The weird thing is that while I’m laying there in bed unable to sleep, my wife is sleeping like a baby. I feel silly asking any of my friends about this. Is this kind of anxiety common among dads-to-be?

A: Bravo on having the guts to ask this question. Over the years, I’ve interviewed thousands of new dads. and it’s pretty rare to find one who doesn’t admit (usually privately, and after some prodding on my part) to having some pre-birth anxiety. Given how many legitimate things there are to worry about, I’m pretty confident that the guys who don’t admit it are lying—or not paying enough attention.

Unfortunately, very few expectant dads will publicly admit that they’re afraid (especially not to their partner). Not surprisingly, that just makes things worse.

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Health, Prostate, Relationships, Sex

peyronie'sConnectivity Is the Key to Life for Men

He first saw me for a vasectomy when he was in his mid 30’s. Nervous as all get out, he braved the visit, did splendidly, and was a better man for it. This experience changed him, because from then on, he felt that doctors were “OK” and could be trusted. His first real “date” with healthcare as an adult went well.

Circling Back

He connected again about eight years later with a disturbing new curvature to his penis with erections. I saw him a second time and diagnosed him with Peyronie’s disease. We managed it nonsurgically over the next several months, and things normalized. And check the box for another positive doctor experience. Continue Reading

Education, Pay Equity, Work

wanted: male nursesWanted: Male Nurses

Despite efforts to promote greater gender equality among professions, there remains a significant need for more men in the nursing profession. The nursing field is only around 6% male, though this number is slowly rising. It doesn’t seem to be the education itself that serves as a deterrent; many men entering the nursing field have high rates of graduation and certification in nursing. Instead it seems that cultural stereotypes redirect those with an interest in healthcare careers to more “masculine” professions.

Overcoming Stereotypes

While a growing number of men are getting their healthcare degree to be a nurse, over 70% of male nurses feel gender stigma is the main challenge keeping men from becoming nurses. But male nurses have been around since the 3rd century in Rome, and in modern times over a third of all nurses in the U.S military are males. So while it may not be a popular occupation among civilian males today, that doesn’t mean men haven’t excelled at it in the past. Continue Reading

Fatherhood, Growing Up, Masculinity

real men play with dollsReal Men Play with Dolls

<em>Dear Mr. Dad: A few years ago, I read an article you wrote about why dads should play with their daughters. My husband is a pretty traditional guy and has a real problem playing with our four-year old the way she wants to play—meaning tea parties and dolls—not the way he does—meaning sports and superheroes. How can I encourage him to get over himself and do what’s best for her? </em>

<strong>A:</strong> The place to start is to give your husband some of the specifics about the many ways his playing with his daughter will help her. First of all, it’ll make her happy—and that’s incredibly important. Second, he’ll be helping her learn a variety of skills that will come in handy as she grows. Some are pretty basic, like the fine motor skills she’ll use for buttoning, snapping, tying, and so on. Others will have longer-term effects, such as empathy, imagination, and the practical soothing and caring skills that will help her when she has a family of her own (many, many years from now). There’s a growing body of research out there that shows quite conclusively that daughters of dads who play with them a lot grow up to be more assertive (in a good way), have more (and better) friends, get better grades in school, are more self-sufficient, and are less likely to smoke, abuse drugs or alcohol, go to prison, or get pregnant as teens. What man wouldn’t want to give his daughter all of those benefits? Whatever dignity your husband thinks he might lose by playing with dolls is a small price to pay.

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Fatherhood, Fertility

The Olympics of Microsurgery

You know it when it’s happening. The moment you have to rise to the occasion. It’s shut up and put out time. You summon all of your faculties, as only your best will do. A performance, race, speech, interview, exam or surgery. We all have these moments. I treasure mine.

The Case of All Cases

The couple shows up from a distant land. Unable to conceive, he is found to be sterile due to a blockage in the tubing of his reproductive tract. He remembers having a painful infection “down there” in his 20’s that was treated but still managed to scar the tiny tubes inside the epididymis near the testicle. Kind of like a vasectomy that you didn’t want.

He’d been all over and had seen other docs. They all told him to “just grab some sperm” and go to IVF-ICSI. “It works great,” they said. But he, like me, likes to fix things that are broken. “There must be a way to repair this so that I can have kids at home instead of in a lab,” he said to me. Continue Reading

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