The first time I did a DRE was in 2007 or thereabout.
You see, at the time, a Digital Rectal Exam (where a Doctor sticks a lubricated gloved finger into your rectum/anus) was the most popular means of checking the health status of your prostate gland. This, for adult males, is part of a complete physical examination.
I was 34 years old at the time, not really due for such an examination but it was important for me as my father had earlier passed of prostate cancer related complications. As the Nigerian and Igbo male that he was, despite his high level of education and vast knowledge, he had not discussed his challenges with his children till the cancer metastasized and the ailment became terminal.
My father was and is not alone. Nigerian men have historically been overly sensitive to anything that remotely connotes a diminishing of their sexual prowess. Anything at all that can put their virility or potency to question. Then for someone to stick a finger into their anus, trained medical personnel or not, “Mbanu! Tufiakwa!! When I am not gay?”
And if the recommended treatment regimen can potentially negatively impact their potency, you will hear,
“You want someone else to be servicing my wife for me? God forbid!!”
So the Nigerian man will rather die…
Stupid, but true.
I remember my guys at the Universal Fitness Centre Gym in Lagos poking fun at me after my first DRE (you know yourselves)….but most subsequently went ahead to get theirs done, and for me the DRE has become an integral part of my bi-annual medical tests…I did one two weeks ago.
For those who are still afraid to have a finger stuck up their anus, thankfully, we now also have the PSA, the Prostate Specific Antigen. A test for proteins produced by the prostrate gland which serves as an early indicator if there is a problem with the organ.
But the Nigerian man’s penis problems doesn’t end here.
There is also hypertension (high blood pressure).
51% of Nigerian adult males are hypertensive compared to 49% of Nigerian adult females.
In fact Nigeria has the highest adult hypertensive rates in Sub-Saharan Africa with one of the highest general prevalence rates at 35%. In all, about 56 Million Nigerians are estimated to be living with Hypertension.
Pause…think about it. That is more than the population of South Africa, and about 5 times the population of Rwanda.
To put this in further perspective, Mali has a 16% hypertension prevalence rate, Cameroon 17%, Togo 19%, Eritrea 17%, DRC 17% etc.
Okay. I can hear you ask, “so how does this affect the Nigerian man’s penis?”
For starters, hypertension puts people at risk of heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and stroke, all ailments that can potentially affect a man’s sexual prowess.
What men however discuss in hushed tones (whether it is over cheap drinks in sleazy beer parlors or sipping premium beverages in high-end society lounges) is that a number of drugs required to combat hypertension (Thiazide Diuretics, Beta-blockers etc.) also lead to erectile dysfunction…yes, affects the Nigerian man’s Penis’ ability to rise to the occasion.
The thought of that alone, that a Nigerian man cannot sexually satisfy his spouse or partner, actually increases anxiety and adds to the already high blood pressure.
So what does the Nigerian man do?
He skips his medication to meet the occasion.
Yes…you heard me right. Or he takes stimulants to give him an erection. He doesn’t care whether the stimulant is purchased from an accredited pharmacy or from the roadside shop of Iya Murika. Doesn’t care that Iya Murika sells her multicolored herbal concoctions in unhygienic used plastic Eva Water bottles.
Anything to make the dick stand. Anything to restore the dignity of man is just fine.
What do you think will be the end result of this?
Unfortunately, for Nigerian males on the other side of 40, one of the biggest psychological impediments to health consciousness is that most of us are trapped in an age time warp. In our minds, we are still stuck in our undergraduate age. That is, until our body arrests us and subtly (or rudely) lets us know that spotting the trending pair of jeans or sneakers, singing along to Davido or Phyno’s latest jam does not a spring chicken make.
We still think we are young, yet the United Nations clearly defines youth as those between the ages of 15 and 24 years (it is only in Nigeria politics that a 60 year old can be a ‘Youth Leader’).
Please! Please! Please!
As a Nigerian Male post 40, biko exercise and eat healthy. Make a DRE and a PSA part of your annual medical tests regimen.
A finger up you anus will not kill you but prostate cancer can be the death of you.
If your current hypertension drugs lead to erectile dysfunction, then consult your doctor immediately.
Do not self-medicate.
Do not patronize Iya Murika’s roadside ‘Man Power’ remedies, for what does it profit a man if he regains his dick and losses his life?
Just do your best and then leave the rest to God, providence or whatever religiosity or lack of it that rocks your boat.
Article written by Jekwu Ozoemene to sensitize men on the importance of undergoing routine health check-ups.