A man walks into a pharmacy. “I need a penis pump,” he says. “Are you pulling my leg or what’s going on?” says the pharmacist. The man looks anxious. “I’m not joking, I need a penis pump.”
Nine years later, Men’s Health Downunder is a well-established service tailored to meet the needs of this regular guy, and others like him wanting help for issues relating to their penile area.
“Men tend to be pretty shy or reserved seeking help about these issues until it’s too late,” says founder Brad Butt in the first episode of the group’s new podcast, Lifting the Kilt.
Speaking to host Warwick Marx – “an ordinary middle-aged guy who will be asking all the questions no one wants to ask,” – Brad describes Men’s Health Downunder as a multi-disciplinary team which looks after men with urological health issues.
“We saw there was a gap where men weren’t seeking help, and the help they were getting was flippant, disrespectful and tacky,” says Brad, himself a pharmacist. He says men needed no-nonsense, factual advice they can rely on.
The Canberra-based service – which reaches men all over Australia with its website services – says pharmacists are in a great position to help men because they bring something to the conversation other health practitioners don't.
“They are accessible, they have more time, they are wonderful with medication, they are great at being conversationalists and helping blokes be compliant in taking medication and exercising. As health consumers, men just need it black and white. Don’t sugar coat it, ‘tell me what it is and let’s get on with it’.”
“We take these conversations for granted. For these men coming into see us, this is their day zero.
“Men have developed this persona that they don’t care about their health until something goes wrong. Men often become an advocate for their health and want to be there for other men when they are going through similar challenges.”
Some of the topics the Men’s Health DownUnder podcast has tackled include three episodes on the prostate, prostate cancer and prostate recovery.
Of the 20,000 men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, half will have their prostate removed.
“For many men, this is the first health scare they have had. It comes as a bit of a shock,” says Brad. But survival rates are 90% with early detection.
The podcast also looks at erectile dysfunction, which impacts one million men in Australia, incontinence, affecting 10% of males and Peyronie’s disease, occurring in up to 16% of males.
“A lot of these things are brushed under the carpet,” he says.
Men's Health podcast landscape
Lifting the Kilt is the latest in a growing number of men’s health podcasts and an effective way of exploring potentially delicate topics.
Here’s a few more that have come across our radar in recent years:
Aaron Schultz: The Outback Mind Podcast, empowering men’s wellbeing through regional Australia.
Callum MacPherson’s Young Blood Men’s Mental Health – on a mission to make the mental health of young men a top priority.
OzHelp’s Share the Load podcast, real conversations about staying well on the road.
Mate Helping Mate with sheep farmer John Harper, who aims to improve mental health in the bush.
Woke Bloke with lives experience mental health practitioners Nick Sutherland from MyndFit and Ryan Hassan from The Centre for Healing
Forging Excalibur podcast hosted by Michael Lauria, who speaks to ordinary men who have survived extreme adversity.
The Penis Project with physiotherapist Dr Jo Milios and sexologist Melissa Hadley Barrett, for ‘anyone who has a penis, knows someone who has one, or would like to have one.’
Understanding Boys with Dr Ray Swann, a series of conversations exploring what makes a good man.
Working with Warriors with the team from WA’s Regional Men’s Health Initiative
The Blokes Psychology podcast, dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of men and boys
The Modern Bloke podcast with Sean Coffin, for blokes, by blokes.