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9 symptoms men should always see the doctor about

May 22, 2024
9 symptoms men should always see the doctor about
May 22, 2024

Whether it’s due to fear, embarrassment, busy schedules or just wanting to get on with things, men are notoriously bad at looking after themselves. In fact, a recent survey found that around 1 in 4 men think you only need to see a GP once you’re ‘really ill’. 

But as with so many health conditions and illnesses, the sooner you see a doctor, the easier they are to treat. So with Men’s Health Week approaching (10-16 June), what better time of year to pick up the phone and see your doctor about that niggling pain, unusual lump or worrying symptom that’s been bothering you.

‘We would always advise patients to see or speak to their doctor about something that is unusual, new, painful or concerning – particularly if there is a family health history of a condition,’ says ZoomDoc GP Dr Clare Tong.

‘You can always tell the receptionist what the concern is so it goes on your notes. That way the GP will know what you want to discuss or have examined as soon as you’re in the room,’ she says.

But remember, GPs have seen and heard it all – and are there to help – whether that’s by treating it then and there at the appointment, prescribing medication or referring you on to see a specialist.

Did you know you can get a GP Referral Letter without seeing a GP?

In the meantime here are some of the key symptoms that men in particular should always see the doctor about, sooner rather than later.

Chest pain: How Do I Know if My Chest Pain is Serious?


Most chest pain is not a sign of anything serious but get immediate medical help if you think you’re having a heart attack.


Chest pain can be caused by a number of things including indigestion, anxiety, chest infection or pneumonia – and of course heart attacks.

‘Never wait to see a GP for suspected heart attacks,’ warns Dr Clare.

Always dial 999 for emergency treatment if you’re experiencing symptoms such as sudden chest pain, squeezing or pressure inside your chest that does not go away – particularly if you’re short of breath, too.

If it is not an emergency, NHS advice says to see a GP for chest pain that:

  • comes and goes
  • goes away quickly but still worries you.

‘It could be something as treatable as indigestion or heartburn, or you may need antibiotics for an infection – either way, your doctor can diagnose what’s causing it,’ says Dr Clare.


What Does Peeing Blood Indicate?


Blood in pee must be checked out because it can be a sign of cancer. This is easier to treat if it’s found early.


Blood, discomfort or pain when peeing can be caused by a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) or kidney stones – all are unpleasant but easy to treat.

Always get any problems with peeing checked out, particularly if you’re sexually active to avoid spreading any infections without realising. 

Moles: Should I Be Worried About New Moles?


You can develop new moles throughout your entire life — especially if you have excessive ultraviolet exposure.



According to Cancer Research, more men are dying from melanoma skin cancer than women in the UK. 

Men tend to be diagnosed at a later stage than women who tend to catch it earlier by checking more often and noticing changes. Men often get moles on their back, which can be harder to see.

Dr Clare recommends seeing your doctor if your mole:

  • has changed size, shape or colour
  • is painful or itchy
  • is inflamed, bleeding or crusty
  • suddenly appears or looks unusual.

Read more about skin cancer in our blog.

How Do I Deal With Erectile Dysfunction?


Erectile dysfunction (impotence) is very common. It’s usually nothing to worry about, but see a GP if it keeps happening.


Also referred to as impotence, if you’re having difficulty getting or maintaining an erection it can be worth speaking to your doctor. Particularly if you’ve tried some lifestyle changes such as drinking less alcohol, losing weight, exercising more.

‘There are lots of possible causes for erectile dysfunction but many are treatable with medicines called PDE-5 inhibitors, such as Viagra,’ says Dr Clare.

Don’t put off your appointment any longer as this will add to your stress levels, which can also cause erectile dysfunction in some cases.


Change in bowel habits


When you have problems controlling your bowels, it’s important to get medical advice if you have it because treatment can help.

Bowel cancer affects more men than women in the UK (source: Cancer Research). If you’re over the age of 60 (in England and Northern Ireland), 50 in Scotland or 58 in Wales, you’ll be sent a FIT kit to help detect for bowel cancer (or colorectal cancer) every two years. 

However, if you’re younger than that, be sure to know the symptoms that can be early warning signs of bowel cancer – although some can be caused by haemorrhoids, IBS and other conditions.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • bleeding from your bottom
  • blood in your poo
  • a change in your bowel habits ie going more or less often, having diarrhoea or constipation that comes and goes
  • losing weight with no reason
  • feeling tired all the time but you’re not sure why
  • a pain or lump in your tummy

If you notice any of these, see your doctor. 


Family history of prostate cancer 


Prostate enlargement is a very common condition associated with ageing. More than 1 in 3 of all men over 50 will have some symptoms of prostate enlargement.


Prostate cancer affects 1 in 8 men in their lifetime, according to Prostate Cancer UK. But unlike with other cancers, there are no obvious symptoms that help detect it in its early stages. it is hard to detect in its early stages.

‘This can make prostate cancer hard to diagnose early on’, says Dr Clare. 

‘However, if you have any concerns, such as a family history of prostate cancer, it can be a good idea to talk about this with your GP, so they’re aware,’ she says.

Read more about Prostate Cancer and PSA testing

Weight loss or weight gain struggles


Unintentional weight loss is when you lose weight without changing your diet or exercise routine. It can be a sign of stress or a serious illness.


If you’re struggling to lose weight or are gaining weight, despite exercising, it’s worth talking to your doctor.

Being overweight puts a huge strain on your heart and heart disease is one of the biggest killers in men in the UK affecting 1 in 8 men.

Your GP can help find any underlying causes for your weight gain and can check your BMI (Body Mass Index), blood pressure and help form a lifestyle or treatment plan moving forwards.

Lumps: What Kind of Lumps Indicate Cancer?


Any unusual lumps are always worth getting checked out, especially on your testicles as this can be a sign of testicular cancer (although this is relatively rare as cancers go).


NHS advice says to see a GP if:


  • you have a lump or swelling on one or both of your testicles
  • one or both of your testicles are getting bigger
  • your scrotum (the skin that covers the testicles) feels heavy, firm or hard
  • you have an ache or pain in your scrotum or one or both of your testicles
  • you notice a change in one of both of your testicles that is not normal for you


A recent survey found that despite knowing how to check their testicles, a third of men never have. If you’re one of them, you need to read this.


Snoring: What Causes Snoring in Males?



Although snoring is extremely common and usually nothing to worry about, if your partner is being kept awake by it, it could be time to get checked out.

If sleeping on your side (rather than on your back) doesn’t help, ask your partner to describe or record your snoring ready to bring a clear description or example to your appointment.

Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help, such as losing weight, stopping smoking or reducing your alcohol intake. 

‘However, it’s also possible that snoring is a sign of something called sleep apnoea – this is when your airways become temporarily blocked as you sleep and can be serious if not treated,’ says Dr Clare.

Seeing the doctor sooner

Struggling to get a doctor’s appointment? Download our ZoomDoc app to speak to a doctor at a time that suits you. From just £35 you can video call a UK-trained GP for peace of mind, diagnosis or prescriptions depending on what’s recommended or required.

Download the ZoomDoc app for instant access to medical professionals.

In the meantime, as medical professionals it is our duty to help people get better as soon as they can. We use our Health Wire blog to help so if you’re worried about men’s health issues, these articles may offer some reassurance and relevant information while you wait to see the doctor:


Want to know more?

Our team of Doctors are available via the ZoomDoc App for any medical questions or queries.