The Healthy Male Partner’s Guide - What to do when your partner’s health impacts you

By Tim Moss, Health Content Manager, Healthy Male

Source: APNA Primary Times Winter 2022 (Volume 22, Issue 1)


When a man feels unwell, he turns to his doctor, the internet, his partner, or another family member for support. We know this because Healthy Male – a not-for-profit that provides evidence-based information on men’s health – surveyed more than 1,400 Australian men about their health habits and behaviours.  

One in five men trusts his partner, or another family member, as the first source of health information. More than 50% of men rank their partner, or another family member, as one of their top three sources for health information.  

As men are turning to these important people in their lives, Healthy Male has developed the Partner’s Guide, a dedicated webpage that covers common men’s health conditions, including lower urinary tract symptoms, low sex drive and male factor infertility. These guides are written specifically for men’s partners and spouses. The aim is not to place the burden of men’s health on their partners, but to inform partners about the impact these conditions can have on them.  

If your loved one is facing a health issue, it can be helpful to understand the signs that something’s amiss, the causes that could be addressed, the treatment options available, and how they might be feeling. 

‘More than 50% of men rank their partner, or another family member, as one of their top three sources for health information.’ 

Health is rarely, if ever, an individual issue. It’s incredibly important to consider how an individual’s health condition can impact the wellbeing of their partners, families, and friends as well. For example, if your partner experiences erectile dysfunction, providing support, understanding and open communication will be helpful for you both as it can affect both of your sexual function and satisfaction. If your partner has lower urinary tract symptoms, you might feel increased fatigue due to sleep disturbances or additional stress over the management of their condition. Your partner’s health conditions might limit your social activities or influence how you share household duties. 

Starting a conversation about your partner’s health isn’t always easy, but there are some ways to bring it up effectively: 

1. Choose the right time and place 

Find an environment without interruption and pick a time that your loved one won’t feel particularly vulnerable or uncomfortable. A more effective time could be during a walk or a drive, where you’re shoulder-to-shoulder rather than face-to-face. 

2. Show you understand 

Learning more about the condition, and how they might feel about it, can help you offer effective support. Try to be empathetic, positive, and honest about how you’re feeling as well. 

3. Encourage them to seek help 

Encourage your loved one to book an appointment with a GP to discuss their symptoms and the impact they’re having. 

For more information on supporting a partner with a health condition, while looking after your own wellbeing, head to healthymale.org.au to find our Partner’s Guide. For nurses working in primary health care, the Partner’s Guide might also be a helpful resource to pass on to your patients, where relevant.   

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.


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