What you need to do to protect your reproductive health.
Michael W. Werner, MD, of Maze Men’s Sexual and Reproductive Health in Purchase, and Beth J. Simon, MD, of Scarsdale Medical Group give the down low on their respective genders.
“All men, starting in adolescence, should examine their testes once a month to rule out testicular cancer. Any lesion should be immediately brought to the attention of a physician.
“Be very judicious about who you have sex with, and engage in safe sex. You should both have your STI (sexually transmitted infection) panels up to date and negative. The most important thing is to use a condom. With oral sex, ideally you would use a dental dam.
“It is very important to know what your baseline testosterone levels are. As men get older, their testosterone levels decrease, so it’s useful to know where an individual started.
“Anything that affects your heart can affect your penis and testes. Thus, it is very important that you don’t smoke, that you exercise regularly, and that you watch your diet.”
“See an internist and a gynecologist on a yearly basis—more often if risk factors or any medical conditions are present. Undergo a breast-and-pelvic exam, Pap smear, and STI testing yearly.
“Do a thorough medical history, to establish the course of care. What medical conditions are present? What is your family history? All these things can affect reproductive health.
“Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke or take drugs, maintain a balanced diet, and exercise three to four times a week. All these things lead to increased fertility and healthier, low-risk pregnancies by decreasing the risk of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.
“Discuss your family planning choices with your OB/GYN. How many children do you want to have? You have to think ahead: Each pregnancy takes nine months, and we recommend ideally spacing out children to be two-plus years apart. Fertility takes a nosedive at 40, so you have to work backward from there.”