Saturday, 16 November 2013


Modesty is a quality we don't see enough of today. Sachin Tendulkar has humbled us all over the years and did so once again.  It was action and not words that defined him.

Thank You Sachin for all you've done to inspire billions of people around the globe for over two decades and somewhere I hope we'll see another set of modest role models emerge because of you.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Movember: Male Menopause?

Can men suffer from menopause (or as some might call it, man-o-pause)?

The answer is yes and no.  Men can suffer from something called Andropause which is often called male menopause but this isn't quite the same as female menopause.

I'd read an article in the Gulf News Health section about this last week and decided to educate myself further given the fact that this is Movember and I should learn as much about men's health issues as I can.

What causes Andropause?

Basically, as men, we tend to gradually start suffering from what is called an androgen deficiency, which is when we start having lower than normal levels of male hormones as we get older.  The primary hormone that typically triggers this is testosterone.  Unlike women where the drop in sex hormone production can drop suddenly, in men this happens gradually over a number of years, typically starting from the age of 30.  Thus, andropause and menopause somewhat different.

What do we get from Androgens?

Androgens give you your hairy chest.
Androgens are what typically give you a lot of your male characteristics such as sexual and reproductive functions.  Androgens also play a part in changes during puberty such as facial hair (apt for Movember), body hair, muscle development, change in your voice (and that freaky period when your voice is high and low in the same sentence until you've finally found your adult voice), development of your mojo (in Austin Powers terms), prostate function and sperm production.

What happens when Androgen levels drop?

I saw a whole list of symptoms of what happens when androgen levels drop but before I list it out, I wanted to highlight the fact that many of these symptoms could be related to other diseases or deficiencies such as diabetes, lack of exercise, a poor diet or a whole host other things so make sure you investigate further with your doctor before convincing yourself if you're suffering from andropause.

The symptoms I came across were:

  • Dropping levels of sexual desire
  • Hot flushes and sweating (again this can have many other reasons as to why you'd suffer from this)
  • Breast development (if you've not done so, read my Movember post on breast cancer in men).
  • Depression (you can be depressed for other reasons as well) 
  • Lethargy and Fatigue (lack of sleep, lack of exercise, a poor diet or diabetes can also be reasons for this)
  • Reduced muscle mass and strength (a general rule of thumb is you lose about a half kilo of muscle mass every year as you get older and this is why you should mix up your gym routine with some strength training alongside your cardio workouts)
  • Increased body fat, especially around the abdomen (too much beer can also be a cause of this)
  • Reduced sexual function
  • Loss of body hair (I'm not expert here but may be changing the type of shampoo you use as you get older could help slightly reduce the rate of hair loss).
  • Reduce bone mass putting you at risk for osteoporosis (having enough Vitamin D and taking calcium supplements as you get older is highly recommended.  Despite living in a sunny environment in the UAE, most of us suffer from Vitamin D deficiency and the best way to get your dose of Vitamin D is simply opening the window in the morning and enjoying the sun's rays).

Checking for Andropause and Treating it?

I'd highly recommend you speak to your doctor about this.  The internet can be a treasure trove of misinformation when it comes to medial treatments.  If you are over the age of 30, I'd recommend you do a check up once a year where you can get questions like this answer.  If you're hitting 40 and living in the UAE, I'd suggest you start doing this annually.


What have I learned?

So one thing I learned during this month of Movember is that many conditions that we thought were unique to women such as breast cancer or menopause actually exist in men as well.  The other thing I learned is that you can't blame things on andropause.  I read quite a few stories on the Internet about how people have overcome this so don't use it as an excuse.  Use it as a means to help get yourself back on track.  If you see someone who looks like they're suffering from it, encourage them and help steer them in the right direction.

The purpose of Movember is to highlight men's health issues and I hope blog posts like this do help educate you and your loved ones.

I'd also like to credit the Better Health Channel which was one of the better websites on androgen deficiencies I found.  I'd suggest you visit the link to learn more about the condition.

P.S. I'm supporting Movember to raise awareness for men's health issues.  To find out more, please visit my Movember page on my blog.  If you'd like to donate to the cause, then please visit the donation page of the #Mustachepreneurs and any contributions will be graciously accepted.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Movember: Mustaches are serious business

For those of you growing your Mo for Movember, you know it ain't all plain sailing.  Growing a mustache is actually hard work and it's fair easier to keep yourself clean shaven than to grow facial hair.

For example, during the first few days of Movember, I have to make sure I'm extra alert while shaving as my facial hair is still not distinct enough to my bleary eyes in the early hours of the morning and one swipe, it can all disappear!

When your mustache does tend to take shape, then you need to make sure you shave around your mustache carefully.  One over aggressive swoop and you have an imbalanced mustache on your face. A little too conservative and it starts to look like shrubs sprouting where they shouldn't be.

Deciding on a style to adopt is also hard work.  Do you go for the Fu Manchu, the toothbrush, handlebars, walrus or just stick to the plain vanilla pencil mustache?  If in case you're confused which style to follow, I've got a great link that shows just what type of mustache would suit you and which has got some history on different types of mustaches.

Trimming is not an option during Movember, but if you did decide to do that, what scissors do you use?  If you don't normally sport a mustache or a beard, you may not have the right trimming scissors at home and a sharp instrument in the hand of a man when used on his face is just a recipe for disaster!  After all, we men don't like to ask for directions when driving, so why would we ask for them when grooming?  We're also the same men who don't look to spend too long looking at ourselves in a mirror so quick and easy is normally the only option.

If you do want to learn though how to trim your mustache, then I've found a link that can help you do this.  Emergency Rooms around the world are best advised to have print outs of this kept in their waiting rooms during Movember.

Remember, you are not Superman. 
Ice cream.  This is just a recipe for disaster.  Once your mustache has formed and you look like you've made a mark that's noticeable, you go out for an ice cream and you find that your hand and mouth co-ordination isn't all that you thought it was.  If you've got young kids, your best advised to have any ice cream only when they're around you as you can blend in with them.  If you're out on a date, AVOID ice cream for dessert.  Trying to convince your date your trying to imitate the Got Milk? campaign just won't do it.

The most confusing part of the month though is do you spell it Mustache or Moustache?  I spent Movember last year calling it a Moustache and have switched to Mustache this year because I'm a part of the #Mustachepreneurs this year for Movember.  Since the spelling of the group was done by Patrick Brady, our esteemed Director for the Entrepreneur's Organization EMEA region, I've changed the spelling I'm using this year.  I did however do some research on this and Mustache is actually the American spelling, Moustache is the spelling the rest of the world uses.  The Italians though have got something called a Mustachio which is a variation used for a luxuriant mustache.  For more on this fascinating topic, click here.

So that's some of what happens behind the scenes in Movember.  In case you see someone who is growing a mustache, take a moment to sympathize with them as it ain't as easy as it looks!

P.S. I'm supporting Movember to raise awareness for men's health issues.  To find out more, please visit my Movember page on my blog.  If you'd like to donate to the cause, then please visit the donation page of the #Mustachepreneurs and any contributions will be graciously accepted.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Movember: 30 Days Exercise Routine

Whether you're growing your mustache this Movember or not, whether you're male or female, we all have to look after ourselves.


I came across this great guide last night on a 30-day cardio routine that you can do at home (or in your hotel room if you're a frequent traveller) for the 30 days of Movember.  It's fairly basic and builds up in intensity over the 30 day period so if you know someone that needs a bit of a push, try this with them and hopefully it gets all of you moving in the right direction.

I'd also encourage you to visit the as they've got many more great 30 day programs on there as well.

P.S. I'm supporting Movember to raise awareness for men's health issues.  To find out more, please visit my Movember page on my blog.  If you'd like to donate to the cause, then please visit the donation page of the #Mustachepreneurs and any contributions will be graciously accepted.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Movember: Men can get breast cancer

Being the month of Movember where I blog about men's health issues, I had to talk about this.  In a recent report that appeared in the Khaleej Times, it seems men are are also affected by breast cancer.

October is normally the month where breast cancer awareness is highlighted and we've seen lots of initaiatives including the Burjuman Pink Walkathon (which was this year on 1st November) so fits in nicely with Movember where it should be a walk for men as well.

According to the Khaleej Times report, a 48-year old Emirati man was found to have had a malignant form of breast cancer that went undetected for six years.  After several tests, the man had to have a mastectomy.

Image source:

Dr. Sawsan Al Mahdi, the Secretary General for Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) charitable society and head of Pink Caravan told Khaleej Times, "“Although men have significantly less breast tissue, therefore lowering their chances of developing breast cancer, the downside is that breast tumours in men have a higher tendency to spread to nearby areas, such as the skin covering the breast or the muscles under the breast, therefore increasing the risk of the cancer reaching the metastatic phase.”

Early detection remains the best cure and for most men, they should be undergoing an annual medical check-up in any case.  The next time you're getting this done, ask your doctor to run a quick ultrasound over your chest (I know my doctor normally does an abdominal scan) and it's better to be safe than sorry.

To learn more about male breast cancer, visit this link on the Virtual Medical Centre website.

Spread the word and let's make sure we care not only for ourselves but our loved ones always.

P.S. I'm supporting Movember to raise awareness for men's health issues.  To find out more, please visit my Movember page on my blog.  If you'd like to donate to the cause, then please visit the donation page of the #Mustachepreneurs and any contributions will be graciously accepted.