Men with genital conditions in Central Kenya urged to seek medical help

Outspan Teaching and Referral Hospital Nyeri executive director, Dr Macharia Kiruhi,

Outspan Teaching and Referral Hospital Nyeri executive director, Dr Macharia Kiruhi, addressing patients during the men’s health open day at the facility. It was revealed that the majority of men from Central Kenya region suffering from genital conditions are shying away from seeking treatment.

Photo credit: James Murimi I Nation Media Group

Majority of men from Central Kenya who are ailing from genital conditions are shying away off from seeking medical check-up and treatment in healthcare facilities.

Most of the men perceive themselves as ‘protectors of their homesteads’ and are shy to go to hospital.

As the genital conditions persist, some of them end up suffering from erectile dysfunction – impotence.

A Men’s Health Open Day at Outspan Teaching and Referral Hospital in Nyeri that attracted more than 500 men revealed that most patients have been shy to openly speak out about their conditions and end up suffering in silence.

The hospital’s executive director, Dr Macharia Kiruhi said the institution has been holding the event after every two months upon realizing that some men have been ailing from the condition since when they were at their tender age.

Reached out to men

“From the way we men were created, we are socialised that we are protectors and that we ought not to show our weaknesses. As an institution, we reached out to men in their villages through the media for them to come and get tested and treated. We have checked their blood sugar, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and urine. They have undergone thorough medical examinations and been treated for all the diseases they have,” Dr Kiruhi told the Nation.

He said most common disorder among the patients is undescended testicles, a condition whereby one or both testicles have not moved into their proper position in the bag of skin hanging below the penis (scrotum) before birth.

Dr Macharia said some mothers, after conceiving, lack the knowledge about their newborns’ male external genitalia and the boys end up growing with that condition to adulthood without noticing.

“We are encouraging men to take up that responsibility of regularly checking the external genitalia of their children to ensure that they are okay. If they notice an abnormality, they should quickly take that child to the hospital. We have also been training midwives to check that condition immediately after birth of newborns,” he said.

Phimosis

Other patients, during the medical camp, were found to be suffering from phimosis, which is a condition whereby the foreskin cannot be pulled back from around the tip of the penis. It is common among uncircumcised boys.

According to Dr Kiruhi, the condition prevents urine from coming out and such children end up developing urinary tract infections (UTIs) during their adulthood.

“That urine that remains in that foreskin stagnates and gets infections. You find that child crying because urine is not coming out. They swell and endure a lot of pain. We encourage parents to take such children to hospital for quick treatment. Others might require early circumcision so as to treat the problem,” Dr Kiruhi said.

Some of the patients were adolescent boys suffering from testicular torsion which is a condition whereby the testicles twist, causing reduced blood supply and severe pain and swelling.

“This is a dangerous condition and if not treated within six hours, those testicles die and the boy might end up losing their ability to procreate in future. We have a programme whereby we educate teachers in secondary schools to check on those young men and ensure that they are treated. They should not ignore such boys but have them treated accordingly,” he said.

Some patients also tested positive for testicular cancer and had their treatment sessions started.

Dr Kiruhi said the majority of the old men aged 50 and above were suffering from prostatic conditions.

“This condition can be painful and can even block urine discharge. Majority of them wake up many times at night to urinate and it is mostly painful. We are encouraged as an institution that these brave men have taken that wise decision of knowing about their health conditions and getting the right treatment,” the hospital boss, said.

Mr Paul Muriithi, a patient, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension during one of the men’s health open day in November 2017.

On that day, he recalls, Mr Muriithi was not sick and did not have any symptoms but just got curious and went for a check-up at the facility.

“I remember it was in November 2017 when I volunteered to attend one of these camps. I was anxiously waiting for my results after undergoing a series of tests. That is when the doctor informed me that I had pulmonary hypertension. I was shocked but the doctors have, since then, been supportive,” Mr Muriithi said.

“Most of us men have diseases that are hidden. Majority of men give excuses that they are busy and lack time to attend such medical camps. Some of them are afraid of knowing their health status and, hence, opt not to attend. They should visit any nearby hospital for checkup because that decision might turn out to be their breakthrough. You are the head of your family and that family needs you,” he added.

Mr Dennis Mwangi, 24, said the camp offered him an opportunity to know his health status.

“Most young men like me shy off from visiting the hospital. I am not sick, but I decided to come and be screened for all the diseases. This will enable me to plan my future because the doctors are so supportive in offering medical advice. I have called my colleagues who have confirmed that they will come. I will be attending future camps so as to maintain that consistency,” Mr Mwangi, a student in Nyeri, said.




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