Eating Disorders and Weak Bones: Not Just for Girls

Dear Mr. Dad: As a child, my son used to be quite a bit overweight—his pediatrician said he was borderline obese. About a year ago, though, he started losing weight. He looked great and seemed happier with himself. But he kept on losing weight, long after he needed to. Thinking he might be ill, we took him to the doctor who couldn’t find any medial issues. After another few months, he was absolutely emaciated. His pediatrician did a bunch of tests but still couldn’t find anything wrong. The daughter of some good friends of ours had anorexia and was in a treatment facility for a while. I asked the doctor whether our son could possibly have an eating disorder but he said boys don’t get it. Is he right?

A: Might be time for a new pediatrician. Even though we think of eating disorders as affecting only girls, the fact is that about a third of the country’s 30-million people who suffer from one are male. Unfortunately, there are a number of issues that make it very difficult for these boys and young men to get the help they desperately need. First, most medical professionals—like your son’s pediatrician—don’t even consider it. Even mental health professionals, who really should know better, have a tough time acknowledging it. The American Psychiatric Association, for example, has a nice section on its website devoted to eating disorders, but if you look at the list of symptoms of anorexia, the first one is “Menstrual periods cease.” So, almost by definition, there’s no way a boy could possibly be anorexic. The second symptom—“Osteopenia or osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) through loss of calcium”—is yet another condition that’s generally considered to be a women’s condition.

[Read more…]

Learning the Facts About Breast Cancer and Debunking the Myths

The phrase “breast cancer” can be plenty scary–to the person who receives the diagnosis as well as to the family. But thanks to incredibly awareness campaigns and advances in medical technology, quite often, breast cancer is treatable.  In this guest post, Jamie Pratt, sheds some much needed light on this disease.

For many of us, hearing the words breast cancer conjures up a dismal picture. Any form of cancer is a frightening thought, and breast cancer affects not only the stricken individual, but loved ones as well. Breast cancer awareness is designed to educate everyone, just as this unforgiving disease touches all walks of life. This awareness may be in the form of promotional items, educational websites and pamphlets, or simply word of mouth. Having access to the necessary tools, such as forums or cancer risk assessments, can make a difference. Annual mammograms, primarily for women past the age of 45, is essential in helping to detect breast cancer early on.

[Read more…]

This Might Hurt: American Academy of Pediatrics Will Change Its Policy on Circumcision

In what is will undoubtedly cause quite a stir, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will change its policy on infant circumcision of boys, acknowledging that the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks. [Read more…]

Two Important Points about the Aurora Shooting

The horrific shooting in Colorado has been so extensively analyzed that there’s almost nothing left to say. Almost. There are two issues that should be getting more attention.

First, we need to acknowledge that three of the victims were men who used their own bodies to protect their girlfriends. We’re going to hear a lot over the next months and years about how males are violent, but it’s important that we not forget that men are also heroic (far more often than they’re violent). Without giving a second thought to their own safety, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves gave their lives so the women they loved could live.

[Read more…]

The High Cost of Ignoring Men’s Health

With Men’s Health Month in the news, just about everyone knows that men live shorter (by about 5-6 years), less-healthier lives than women. Every year, hundreds of thousands of men die prematurely from thoroughly preventable causes. And millions more suffer injury, disability, and chronic illness that could have been prevented.

Given all that, you’d think that men’s health would be a major part of any discussion about healthcare reform. But it’s not. And that’s too bad, because even if you forget about the tragic loss of life (and quality of life), ignoring men’s health costs Federal and state governments and the private sector more than $300 billion per year.

[Read more…]

Abortion: Not Just a Women’s Issue

Dear Mr. Dad: My girlfriend is pregnant. We’d talked about having children someday but hadn’t expected it would happen so soon. She wants to terminate the pregnancy. But all of a sudden I’m feeling very depressed. I really want to be a dad and her decision to have an abortion is going to put an end to that dream, at least for a while. I’ve always thought of myself as pro choice, but now that the decision affects me, I’m not so sure. Do I have a vote here?

A: Thanks for having the guts to write this. I try to stay out of politics, but this issue involves more than Pro Choice vs. Pro Life (it’s also one that I expect will generate criticism from both sides), so I’m weighing in.

Abortion has always been “women’s issue,” but we’ve forgotten (or, worse, maybe never even realized) that men, too, are deeply affected by the reproductive choices women make. The phrase “a woman’s right to choose” usually means her right to have an abortion. But having the right not to become a parent includes the right to become one if she chooses.

[Read more…]