Ask Your Pharmacist Week 2012 - Engaging men

From 5th to 12th November 2012, pharmacies across the UK will be participating in this campaign, aiming to improve men's health and their access to health information.

Men are less likely than women to visit a pharmacy for a variety of reasons. This week is an ideal opportunity for men to engage with a pharmacist about medicines use and wellbeing. Most pharmacies now have a private consultation room, where a discussion can take place without being overheard. Additionally, all pharmacy staff are bound by a patient confidentiality policy which prevents them from discussing any information they encounter in their pharmacy - even if it is about someone they know well.

Specific male-related topics on which pharmacists can provide advice this week may include:

Hair Loss

Male pattern baldness affects over half of men over the age of 50, and most men at some stage in their lives.

Prostate gland enlargement, also known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), is characterised by:

  • Needing to urinate/wee frequently including during the night
  • Needing to urinate/wee urgently - for example when out and about - and there then not being a lot/having difficulty getting started

Men with these symptoms should get checked out by their GP, as these can be signs of problems other than BPH. However, it's also possible for men to buy treatments directly from their pharmacy to relieve these symptoms, subject to a consultation with the pharmacist, meeting specific criteria, and completing a follow-up visit to their GP within six weeks.

Erectile dysfunction

This is a sensitive subject and one which many men are embarrassed to talk about. All pharmacies can offer confidential advice on erectile dysfunction, and some are able to prescribe, for up to a year, products (e.g. Viagra® and Cialis®), through special schemes, called "Patient Group Directions".

What's your view on Ask Your Pharmacist Week?