Prioritizing GI Health During Men's Health Month

Prioritizing GI Health During Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month, which makes it the ideal time for all of the guys reading this to focus on also taking care of their gastrointestinal (GI) health. From maintaining a healthy colon to improving your awareness of concerning symptoms, like abdominal pain to rectal bleeding. Remember, prioritizing GI wellness is crucial for overall well-being and quality of life. Let’s dive into some essential tips to help men keep their digestive systems on track.

National Men's Health Month in June. Health education program. Celebrated annual in United States. Medical concept. Care and health. Poster, card, banner and background. Vector illustration

Colon Health and Colorectal Cancer: A Top Priority for Men’s Health

Men’s Health Month and colon health matters more than you might realize. 

The colon, AKA the large intestine, plays a vital role in the digestive process and overall health. Colon cancer, also known as Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers among men, which is why regular screening is crucial. 

Men can start colon cancer screening at age 45 when there’s average risk; earlier if they have a family history or other risk factors like Inflammatory Bowel Disease

In part, because of the incidence of rising colorectal cancer cases, the American College of Gastroenterology lowered the screening guidelines from age 50 to age 45 in adults. 

In 2024, The American Cancer Society announced colon cancer as the leading cause of cancer death among men under the age of 50.  It’s also very common to obtain a colonoscopy for evaluation of symptoms such as rectal bleeding, abdominal or rectal pain, diarrhea, constipation or other symptoms 

Don’t hesitate to schedule your colonoscopy appointment – early detection can save lives. And if detected early, it’s easier to treat the disease in the early stages—which includes removing colon polyps that potentially could turn into cancer.


Take Charge of Your Health: Schedule Your Own Appointments


Whether you’re married or single, it’s important for men to take an active role in managing their health, instead of relying on someone else to do this. 

While it’s a known fact that men appreciate when their significant other schedules a doctor’s appointment or follow up exam, it’s important to do this for yourself as part of your personalized self-care routine.


We highly encourage you to go ahead and schedule your own appointments for routine check-ups, colonoscopies, and any other necessary screenings—including prostate check-ups.  Being proactive about your health can help you find potential issues before they advance. And that means you can receive the care you need—when you need it.


Lifestyle Changes for Better GI Health


Making simple lifestyle adjustments can significantly impact your GI health. Here are some ideas to consider if you want to take charge of your health and improve your overall quality of life.  Read these five health tips for men. Which one resonates most with you?


Opt for High-Fiber Diet


Are you men eating enough fiber? Many people do not get enough. So, it’s not all that surprising if you are not eating enough high fiber foods. Think pinto beans and raspberries.

Fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Try to consume at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day. Choose foods from sources like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Less processed foods too. 

Eating high-fiber foods helps promote regular bowel movements and can help prevent issues like constipation and diverticulitis.

Need ideas about which foods contain the most fiber? To boost fiber content in your meals-review our High Fiber Guide to help increase your fiber intake.


Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated

Drinking plenty of water helps your digestive health in many ways. Adequate hydration helps soften stool—which makes it easier to pass while reducing the risk of constipation.  A simple formula is to take your weight in pounds, half it and this is a rough estimate of how much water you should drink daily.  Drink more water during high levels of activity or if you live in a hot climate.


Moderate Alcohol Consumption


Remember. Not all liquid beverages are created equal. And some may carry different risks for your colon health.


Alcohol consumption, particularly heavy and excessive drinking, is associated with an increased risk of colon and rectal cancer. Here are a few key points to consider when weighing the pros and cons of alcohol consumption and colon cancer.


Studies suggest a relationship between total alcohol consumption to the risk of rectal cancer. Though more research is needed to clarify this.


Alcohol is classified as a carcinogen and can decrease nutrient absorption, which is a double whammy if you think about it. Source: National Library of Medicine


In summary, heavy alcohol intake, especially beer and liquor, is thought to increase the risk of rectal cancer –depending on the amount consumed. 

If you would like to learn more about the link between alcohol consumption and colorectal cancer, the Colon Cancer Foundation is a rich resource for population trends and health findings about colon health.


Get Moving with Regular Exercise


Regular physical activity boosts your cardiovascular health and helps with digestion. Exercise can help stimulate bowel movements and reduce the risk of constipation. Generally, about 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week is recommended—if your doctor clears you for exercise. It’s doubly beneficial if you can get cardio and strength training. 

There are many options with exercise, but most importantly, do the kind of movement that moves you and gives you enjoyment.


Get Moving with Regular Exercise


Did you know? 

Physical activity may help promote better nutrient absorption? Think about how the heart pumps nutrients and oxygen through your body, especially during exercise. 


Healthy Foods Give Good Gut Health

Incorporating certain foods into your diet can support better digestive health. We encourage everyone to read food labels and pay attention to the ingredients.  Here are some GI-friendly options.


– Probiotics: Found in yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods are thought to help support a healthy gut microbiome.

Prebiotics: Foods like onions, garlic, bananas, apples, and whole grains contain prebiotics that feed the beneficial gut bacteria.

Lean Proteins: Lean meats, fish, eggs, and plant-based proteins are easier to digest than meats with higher fat content.

Whole Grains: Opt for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread for their fiber content.




Let’s talk Rectal Health for a Minute

Men Get Hemorrhoids Too: Notice any Prolonged Discomfort

Rectal health matters when it comes to men’s health. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum or anus. They can be uncomfortable and even painful during flareups. While they’re common, in men over 50 years of age, it’s important to notice persistent or severe symptoms—like rectal bleeding, itching and pain. 

Seek medical attention if you experience any excessive bleeding, or  pain, to confirm your symptoms are from hemorrhoids and not something more serious.  

GI Symptoms Not to Ignore

While some digestive issues seem minor and temporary, certain symptoms should never be ignored. If you guys experience any of the following, seek medical attention from a gastroenterologist.

  • Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blood in your stool or dark stools
  • Persistent diarrhea or constipation or change in your bowel habits
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Symptoms that occur with sleep
  • Heartburn or acid reflux that won’t go away after over-the-counter treatments
  • Or other symptoms that you might suspect are concerning

By being aware of concerning symptoms, it means you could discover potential issues early and receive timely treatment. We often say, prevention is the best medicine. And it’s something our GI specialists and doctors at Gastroenterology of the Rockies will always encourage you to think about. Why? Because we want you to live a long healthy life.

During this Men’s Health Month, we hope you will make a commitment to prioritize your gut health and overall health. Embrace healthy lifestyle changes, incorporate GI-friendly foods into your diet, stay active, and don’t hesitate to schedule necessary screenings and follow up care. 

If you have any questions about your gut health and would like to meet with one of our doctors or physician assistants—call us today. We are here for you.

Contact us at 303-604-5000.

Gerald Kidd