Health in your 20s

Your 20’s are an awesome and challenging time: - a period of change – your body changes, you mature emotionally and you might adjust the way you socialise – may move into a long-term relationship and go to work every day instead of school or uni. Taking control of your own life also includes taking care of your health.

For many young men, this time of life can present a number of challenges. As life changes, you experience more freedom and independence and there are a number of risks you need to be aware of. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Self-harm and suicide
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Tobacco and other drug use
  • Injuries caused by car accidents

Now is a time when you might be tempted to challenge yourself and those around you, maybe test out your skills and abilities. Fair enough – but remember – the risks you take are your responsibility and under your control. Sadly we’ve all heard of guys getting drunk and ending up in violent situations or crashing fast cars.

To learn more, click on the following:

Talk to your GP about
  • Your family’s medical history
  • Type 2 diabetes risk – indigenous men
  • Blood pressure
  • Examine your testicles for lumps and bumps-feel anything unusual? Get it checked out
  • Immunisations you may need
  • Your weight
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Skin cancer risk – get those moles checked out
  • Any relationship problems
  • Blood Cholesterol and glucose
  • Any depression or anxiety concerns
You can also help yourself by looking after your physical health
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink moderately – up to 2 standard drinks a day and 3 alcohol free days a week – stay in control
  • Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Keep active and maintain a healthy weight
Be aware of testicular cancer

All young men should be aware of the look and feel of their testicles. Regular self-examination will alert you to any changes in terms of lumps, bumps or size changes. Any pain or change in your testicle (s) should be followed up immediately with your GP. Testicular cancer is rare but curable in most cases, if caught early enough.

www.andrologyaustralia.org

Sexually transmitted diseases...

...are more common than you may think and some can show no symptoms. Sexually transmitted infections are not good and predominately contracted through unsafe sexual practices. Unprotected sex and genital contact can put you at risk. It’s not just AIDS or unwanted pregnancies you need worry about, but common sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts and gonorrhoea.

Condoms don’t eliminate the risk but can drastically reduce them. If you are sexually active with more than one person have regular check-ups. Take care of yourself and your sexual partner.

Sexual Health Centres:

www.mshc.org.au - Melbourne sexual health centre

www.sshc.org.au - Sydney sexual health centre

or find one via http://www.nhsd.com.au/

Stay physically active

Through their teenage years most guys are physically active. Keep it up! And have fun and enjoy your life, value your friendships, relationships and value yourself. “I’m here for a good time and a long time!” – Ben, 19

Your mental health is also important

Depression and anxiety is common in young men – one in eight men experience depression and one in five men experience anxiety at some stage in their lives. Sometimes the signs can be ignored or passed over as ‘just part of growing up’. Depression and anxiety are illnesses not weaknesses and you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help – the sooner the better. Your GP is a good place to start. Some signs of depression and anxiety are:

  • Often feeling down or anxious/uptight
  • Drinking or smoking too much
  • Withdrawing from family, friends and social situations
  • Stressing over small things
  • Feeling easily irritated, upset or angry
  • Feeling like you’re losing control

For more information on depression and anxiety checkout the beyondblue website www.beyondblue.org.au and www.youthbeyondblue.com  or call the beyondblue info line 1300 224 636.