Most people think of lupus as a womans disease and although to a degree this is true one must not forget that men can get lupus too. Not only do men get the disease less often they get it at different stages in their lives.
Before a person has reached puberty there are likely to be one boy for every three girls with lupus. Once they become adults this changes radically and there will be one man for every nine women affected. Once the menopausal stage has been reached the changes slightly with one man diagnosed for every eight women.
No one is quite certain why there is this minor alteration and whether it reflects hormonal changes or not. Interestingly these drastic differences only occur with systemic lupus erythematosus, which is commonly called SLE.
In other types of lupus there are not these huge discrepancies between the sexes. Studies are still underway to try and learn why SLE shows such marked differences in those affected.
Men with Lupus Fare Worse?
Meanwhile, other studies have found that men seem to cope worse once they have been diagnosed then women do. Despite the fact that our society has made it that women must be beautiful to be desirable men seem to deal worse with the physical changes. They do not cope well with the rashes, many of which are on the face, the hair loss or the weight gains.
Many men experience impotence and depression once they have been diagnosed with SLE. Yet, the studies show that this is almost always psychological. Unless there is a problem of hormone levels, and there almost always is not, it will be suggested that the men see a counselor to help them work through the fears and concerns that have caused their sexual performance difficulties.
Sometimes this erectile dysfunction is a medical issue, but with the help of a rheumatic disease specialist and maybe an urologist this problem can be cured.
The Stress of the Breadwinner
Other problems that men face once they have learned that they have SLE include the issues of work and relationships. This is not different for a woman really. The thing is that most men feel that they are the main breadwinners of the family, even when their wives work full time, and they worry about losing their jobs and so their incomes.
Depending on how bad their disease is they may not be able to work or at least may find it necessary to take some time off until their disease has come under control with the various medications that may need to be used. This too may cause them anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. Men seem to find it more difficult to have to change a job, lose a job or even just cut back in the number of hours they will work.
Due to the rarity of men developing SLE there is likely to be less information available to help them learn about having this disease and being male. Unlike DSL and drug induced lupus which is common for men.