It can be hard enough for men to keep straight all the information needed to live a healthy life without baseless myths getting in the way.
Here are 10 common men's health myths whose debunking time has come.
Only Women Get Breast Cancer
While it's true that majority of breast cancer patients are women, men still do get the disease and die from it. The numbers pale in comparison to women's cases, with about 1,500 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed among men annually and 400 men dying each year compared to numbers of 92,370 and 40,170 for women.
One of the biggest problems is that most men, even doctors, don't recognize the signs of male breast cancer, according to Men's Health magazine. Men are almost more likely to not understand the three major risk factors: age (60 years or older), family history of the disease and obesity. Even one risk factor is a reason enough to do a quick self-exam every three months.
Marriage Benefits Men More Than Women
This debunking comes courtesy of David Popenoe, of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. Although it's often stated matter-of-factly that men get the lion's share of health benefits from marriage, that's not necessarily true, Popenoe says.
Recent research indicates that men and women benefit about equally from marriage, although in different ways. Both men and women live longer, happier, healthier and wealthier lives when they are married.
Men Don't Have Fertility Cycles
According to Askmen.com, a man's sperm count is affected by the time of the year and the time of day.
Generally sperm counts go up in the winter and down in the summer, possibly because sperm production is increased in cooler temperatures. A man's sperm count is also highest in the morning, matching the time when male hormone levels are also at their daily high.
Shaving Causes Hair To Grow Back Thicker
For some reason this myth has endured for quite some time despite tons of evidence to the contrary. As Yahoo! tells us, as far back as 1928 a clinical trial showed that shaving had no affect on the thickness or rate or hair growth. Despite this being confirmed by many studies since, the myth won't go away.
The reason behind the myth might be that shaved hair is blunt and doesn't taper at the ends, meaning it can look to be coarser. Plus, new hair can appear to be darker, but only because the sun hasn't had a chance to bleach it yet.
Erectile Dysfunction Is All In Your Head
The men's health website www.4-men.org notes that between 70 and 90 percent of men suffering from erectile dysfunction have an underlying physical cause for their impotence.
Health problems, such as diabetes, heart conditions and trauma can lead to erectile dysfunction. Lifestyle factors like smoking and alcohol and drug use can also add to the problem. So while psychological factors may play a role, erectile dysfunction is most-often a sign that something is wrong physically as well.
Prostate Cancer Is An Old Man's Disease
As Dummies.com, the website for the company behind those black and yellow "... For Dummies" books, tells us, younger men can also develop prostate cancer.
Yes, men age 65 years old and older are at a higher risk for prostate cancer, but men in their 40s and 50s and even younger can also be diagnosed with the disease.
"If a younger man believes that you have to be old to die from prostate cancer, and then he is diagnosed with the disease, he may think that he doesn't have to worry," reports the website. "He may then avoid or delay treatment for years, based on this erroneous assumption. Don't make the same mistake."
Tight Hats Cause Baldness
It doesn't take much Internet searching to debunk this long-held myth. From Snopes.com to Men's Health, there is tons of information out there decrying this one. Yet, it lives on.
The website www.hair-styles.org theorizes that the myth got its start in the military when young men entering the service were required to wear hats and soon showed signs of thinning hair. But the connection was more likely mere coincidence, since the age the men enter the military is also the same age that male pattern hair loss generally begins.
Men Don't Get Osteoporosis