Keenan: How COVID-19 will change men’s health forever

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Another urologist, Dr. Keith Jarvi, covered male fertility issues. He noted that “Infertility or subfertility affects 15% of Canadian couples, with male factor contributing in up to 50% of cases.”

In normal times, both partners would receive blood and other tests and a complete physical examination. With pandemic restrictions, that office visit may have to be postponed indefinitely. However, that doesn’t mean all progress must stop. Other studies, ranging from scrotal ultrasound to genetic analyses, can be done safely during the pandemic.

Jarvi also noted that, while waiting for an in-person physical, doctors can provide lifestyle advice such as “physical exercise, smoking/marijuana cessation, avoiding hot tubs” as well as prescribing “nutritional supplements (which) can safely be offered to all men.” However, he also advised that “patients should be counselled… (that) a virtual visit is not a perfect replacement for a clinical encounter but is being used to expedite their care.”

Saving the best (or worst) topic for last, University of Manitoba professor Dr. Premal Patel was assigned the topic of scrotal pain which he admits “can often be a very distressing condition to a patient.” Working in the pandemic-driven virtual environment, he recommends “conservative management with scrotal support and cold/heat” along with NSAIDs for pain management and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

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