We're big fans of Netflix's The Kominsky Method because of its honest portrayal of men's health issues in older populations.
If you're unfamiliar with the series, check out the trailer below, but please note that it's NOT safe for work due to profanity. (If you're a blog subscriber, click through to see the video.)
The show features the legendary Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin as they face pivotal later-in-life issues: the loss of a spouse, loneliness, and medical woes that include urination challenges, erectile dysfunction, and prostate cancer. (Both men were nominated for Golden Globes, and Douglas won a Golden Globe for best actor in a television series [comedy or musical] for his work on the show).
Many of our patients have mentioned The Kominsky Method, which suggests that the content—particularly the storylines related to medical conditions—is resonating with people.
In the show, best friends Sandy Kominsky and Norman Newlander need to navigate difficult health conversations with each other, their physicians, and their partners and children. Here are the big takeaways:
- Talk to your doctor about any changes happening with your body. Peeing too much? Or do you need to go, but can't? Think nothing can be done? Think again. Michael Douglas's character was pleasantly surprised to learn (once he finally went to a urologist played by a very funny Danny DeVito) that even though issues like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) might be "common" among older men, these issues are not normal—and treatment options are available.
- Understand that the conversations might be hard (at first), but have them anyway. Even though we stress how important it is to have honest conversations with your urologist, we understand that's easy for us to say. We also understand how overwhelming and scary it can be to talk about things like sexual dysfunction, trouble peeing, and prostate cancer. Here's the thing: we guarantee your urologist has heard it all before. They've been trained to not only diagnose and treat medical conditions, but also to listen respectfully and with compassion.
- Find a urologist with whom you're comfortable. You're much more likely to have those honest discussions with a doctor you feel you can talk to. Ask friends for recommendations (as Sandy did in The Kominsky Method), read reviews, and check out doctor videos since they often can provide a good "sense" of what the doctor is like. But, most importantly, go with your gut. (At GBU, we have over 15 board-certified urologists to choose from. You're bound to find someone who'll be a good fit for you.)
- Talk to family and/or friends about what you're dealing with. We applaud Netflix's portrayal of two older men confiding in each other about things like urinary issues and prostate cancer. Sure, the characters razz each other (we also believe a sense of humor is a good thing!), but they always have each other's backs.
- Include romantic partners in the discussion. We realize ED and enlarged prostates aren't sexy topics, but if you're in a relationship, your romantic partner can often be a source of comfort, support, and reassurance. Remember, you're a couple for a reason.
- When it comes to prostate cancer, know that there are options. We can't stress this enough. Get screened. When caught early enough, prostate cancer is very treatable, and multiple treatment options exist.
Last June, we compiled a list of excellent resources regarding men's health. We hope you find it—and this blog post—helpful. Bottom line: if you have any medical issues, talk about them with your doctor.