If there’s one style ‘hack’ that never fails, it’s confidence. Whether it’s a cobalt blue suit or a Cuban heel you’re trying your hand at, a healthy dose of self-belief gives even the most out-there looks a fair chance at success.

The last thing you need is your body putting up roadblocks. From sweaty palms to breath that pongs, your body can be your worst enemy when it comes to feeling good about yourself. So we consulted the experts to find out about the most common conditions plaguing men’s confidence, and what you can do to beat them.

Jock Itch

What Is It?

Got an urge to scratch south of the border? Good news: it might not be crabs.

Jock itch, otherwise known as tinea cruris, is a fungal infection of the skin around your groin. About as much fun as it sounds, this condition is caused by dermatophytes – the same family of fungi that cause athlete’s foot – and has symptoms which include persistent itchiness, a burning sensation and flaking or cracked skin. (Lovely.)

“Jock itch is a fungal infection of the skin caused when the normal fungus found on the skin overgrows,” says skincare specialist Debbie Thomas. “Although anyone can get it, it’s common in sportsmen who sweat a lot as the fungus loves a warm, damp environment. Jock itch is also very contagious so be careful of sharing towels, clothes and bedding until you’ve had it treated.”

Embarrassing Male Body Problems - Jock Itch

How Do I Beat It?

If you’re fed up of accusatory stares from people who think you’re playing with yourself, rest assured you can cure jock itch within a couple of weeks.

“Wash the affected area with soap and water and dry thoroughly, especially after exercising,” says Thomas. “Wear clean underwear and clothes (loose-fitting cotton is best) too, and ask your chemist for an anti-fungal cream or powder.” Products like Canesten and Daktarin Intensiv will help relieve symptoms and work to kill off the fungi causing the itch.

Jock Itch Products

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Stretch Marks

What Is It?

They may be battle scars nobly earned for bodybuilders, but for the rest of us stretch marks are an unsightly set of stripes that we can’t just unbutton at the end of the day.

Often found at the abdomen, chest, upper arms, underarms, back and thighs, stretch marks are the result of rapid stretching of skin due to sudden weight gain, pregnancy (women, obviously) or a growth spurt. “They appear differently coloured because they’re actually tears in the skin that reveal a deeper skin layer,” explains Thomas. “Although initially red – due to tears in the dermis allowing blood vessels to show through – stretch marks eventually fade to a silvery colour once the blood vessels have contracted.”

Embarrassing Male Body Problems - Stretch Marks

How Can I Beat It?

“Obviously trying not to gain weight by maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and getting regular exercise is key,” says Thomas. “Also, products rich in vitamin E are known to help prevent stretch marks.” Try regularly slathering on some Clarins Stretch Mark Minimiser or Barmon Stretch Mark Cream to mitigate marks.

“Once you have them, Oxygenetix’s Oxygenating Moisturizer can help,” says Thomas. “Due to the high grade aloe vera [an anti-inflammatory ingredient that’s known to lighten scar tissue] it contains, the product can help make improvements in the appearance of scar tissue.” Bio Oil is another highly regarded product that many women swear by.

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Erectile Dysfunction

What Is It?

Arguably the most embarrassing male body problem, erectile dysfunction (often simply referred to as ED) spoils fun like no other.

“Erectile dysfunction is caused by reduced blood flow to the penis,” says LloydsPharmacy Online’s Dr. Tom Brett. “This reduced flow is caused by calcification of the blood vessels brought about by smoking, being overweight and medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

In younger men, however, the root cause is often psychological rather than physical. Known as performance anxiety, this instance of ED is caused by a fear of not being able to ‘perform’ and isn’t to be confused with the specifically physical inability to get an erection.

Embarrassing Male Body Problems - Erectile Dysfunction

How Do I Beat It?

Not necessarily with that little blue pill. While many ED sufferers’ first port of call is medicines like Viagra and Cialis, there are many other ways of both temporarily alleviating the issue, and tackling the root cause.

In the case of physical erectile dysfunction, changes to your diet and lifestyle can help make improvements. “Quitting smoking, improving your diet and increasing exercise as well as seeing your GP for screening for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol are very important,” says Dr. Brett.

To nip performance anxiety in the bud, however, Dr. Brett recommends counselling and relationship therapy as the best options for unpicking the psychological reasons behind the condition.

“Medical treatments also include MUSE urethral pellets and penile injection therapy,” says Brett. (The former is a kind of supplement inserted through the head of your penis, while the latter involves directly injecting the penis with drugs like Caverject or Edex to produce an erection.) “Vacuum pumps are another temporary solution, while surgical options include penile prostheses and penile arterial revascularisation [a kind of bypass to increase penile blood flow], which can provide more permanent solutions in certain circumstances.”

In any case, it’s best to book some time with your GP – whether it’s your brain or your blood flow that’s killing your bedroom vibes.

Halitosis

What Is It?

Commonly known as bad breath, halitosis will win you no friends. At best, it’s mildly off-putting to your partner, at worst it’s the reason your colleagues give you a wide berth in the morning.

“Halitosis is caused when bacteria break down certain food substances in the mouth, resulting in the formation of foul-smelling gases,” says orthodontist Patrick Grossmann. “The most common cause – as much as 90 per cent – is the collection of bacteria inside the mouth, particularly areas around the gum margins of the teeth and the surface of the tongue.”

And there are certain factors which could be aggravating your halitosis even further, says Grossmann. “Ill-fitting crowns, partially erupted teeth (e.g. wisdom teeth), root fragments and ill-fitting dentures are all associated with bacterial deposits.”

Embarrassing Male Body Problems - Halitosis

How Do I Beat It?

Nix the bacteria, nix the nose-wrinkling breath. “Maintain a meticulous oral hygiene regime including brushing your teeth, flossing and scraping the surface of your tongue with a tongue scraper,” says Grossmann.

It’s also worth pinpointing what causes your halitosis as solving the problem could be as simple as subtracting something from your diet. Foods like onions, cheese, garlic and curry, as well as drinks like coffee and alcohol can all aggravate the issue, so pass on these next time you’re offered, unless you like your breath pungent.

Failing that, it’s best to book in with your GP or dentist who will be able to investigate the problem further and identify the underlying cause.

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Hyperhidrosis

What Is It?

You know what’s worse than stepping in a puddle? Stepping in a puddle of your own sweat. Although sweating is for many of us a mere seasonal annoyance, for some men excessive sweating is a seriously confidence-crushing problem.

“Hyperhidrosis is the excessive production of watery sweat in areas such as the head, hands, armpits, feet and occasionally the groin, back and chest,” says consultant vascular surgeon Professor Mark Whiteley of The Whiteley Clinic. “Although hyperhidrosis is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, many other factors can also influence it – such as heat or local heat, psychological effects like embarrassment or fear, hormones, drugs and certain [spicy] foods.”

Embarrassing Male Body Problems - Hyperhidrosis

How Do I Beat It?

While avoiding or minimising the effects of factors like heat and spicy foods can help, wearing fewer layers or skipping a curry will do little to stem the tide of severe hyperhidrosis.

“Speak with a hyperhidrosis expert, as it may be that you have a medical condition like hyperthyroidism or carcinoid syndrome.” says Professor Whiteley. Once that’s ruled out, you can elect to undergo a procedure called Laser Sweat Ablation (LSA).

Offering a more permanent solution to excessive sweating under the arms, LSA uses laser technology to destroy sweat glands, resulting in a long-lasting fix for 80 per cent of patients according to Professor Whiteley, who pioneered the treatment in the UK in 2009.

Final Word

Are there any other annoying issues you’d like to find a fix for?

Let us know below.