‘Women’s Diseases’ In Men

If you think of breast cancer, osteoporosis or anorexia, you immediately see a female patient in front of you. But there are also men who suffer from these disorders.

Men are faced with problems when they have a disease that occurs more often in women. Men are not so quick on the symptoms and diagnose of gynecomastia that may cause breast cancer in males. Moreover, many men are ashamed of having a ‘women’s disease’.

Three ‘women’s diseases’ that also occur in men are explained in more detail:

Breast cancer

Breast cancer

Breast cancer in men is rare. Every year about 13,000 people in the Netherlands are told that they have breast cancer , of which about 100 men.

The diagnosis is often made late. Most men and doctors will not think of this disease if there are complaints and men do not participate in the screening program. A tumor often grows early in the surrounding tissues such as the skin, the nipple and the breast muscle, because men have little breast tissue. As a result, the tumor can already be at an advanced stage at the moment of discovery.

Changes in or on the breast can indicate cancer. For example, a lump, dimple, redness, fluid from the nipple or a wound that does not heal. Only medical research can show whether these symptoms are innocent or malicious, so it is wise to go to the doctor. Broadly, the research and treatment of breast cancer in men is the same as in women.

Because breast cancer occurs mainly in women, most information is aimed at women. OMB has therefore expanded the information for men.


In people with osteoporosis – also called bone decalcification – the bones become fragile, which makes them easy to break. If you have osteoporosis, the body can not produce enough new bone material, or it takes up too much old bone material again, or both symptoms occur.

Osteoporosis gradually develops with age. One in three is affected by women. The hormones estrogen and progesterone protect their bones, but these decrease during the transition . In men, the testosterone level decreases over the years. That is also detrimental to the bone content. One in eight men over the age of fifty-five will receive osteoporosis. Often it gives no complaints and you notice that you have it when you break something.

With the right nutrition and exercise you can strengthen your bones . Bones consist for a large part of lime. That is why it is important to get enough calcium. Three or four portions of dairy (glass of milk, yoghurt box, sandwich with cheese) per day is sufficient. Vitamin D stimulates the absorption of calcium. Walking, jogging and tennis are also good for the bones. The pressure of your own body weight stimulates the production of bone. Moving fifteen minutes a day is already meaningful.


People with anorexia nervosa deliberately do not eat very or very little. They have an irresistible urge to lose weight and are terribly afraid to arrive.

Anorexia is seen as a ‘woman’s disease’, because especially young women suffer from it. Perhaps the fact that women are more focused on their appearance than men plays a role in this. Nevertheless, around five to ten percent of patients are male and this percentage is increasing.

The cause for the development of eating disorders is not known. A combination of factors probably plays a role. The slender ideal, traumatic experiences, but also psychological factors such as distorted body image, low self-esteem and extreme perfectionism.

Is it difficult for women to acknowledge that they have an eating disorder, for men it is quite difficult to assume that they suffer from this ‘woman’s disease’. Because of the small number of male patients and the association with the slender ideal, there is a taboo on it. GPs often overlook anorexia in men, but should pay more attention in view of the severity of the disease and the increase in the number of patients.