Men’s health below the belt can make a person squeamish, but ignoring symptoms can have a devastating effect.

“Silence can be our worst enemy. Talking about these issues and seeing a specialist are the necessary steps to below-the-belt health,” said Dr. Robert Bates, urologist at Jamestown Regional Medical Center.

To start those hairy conversations, Jamestown Regional Medical Center is holding a #GROWvember beard-growing contest. The contest runs through Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Misinformation about men’s health issues is abundant, Dr. Bates said, in part because it’s so private.

Important questions you ‘mustache’ yourself: How often do you go to the bathroom? When you go, is it urgent? Do you have blood in your urine?

Various treatment options are available locally. Patients can self-refer, meaning they don’t have to visit their primary physician first. They can make an appointment directly at JRMC. That cuts down on embarrassing conversations, Dr. Bates said.

The #GROWvember contest is free to grow and $10 per beard to compete for prizes. Prizes awarded include but are not limited to: Longest beard, Best Styled Beard, Best Mustache and Cashiest ‘Stache. All proceeds benefit JRMC’s upcoming Cancer Center. A special event to announce the winners is set for Tuesday, Nov. 27 at Shady’s Restaurant & Lounge. The event begins with a social at 5 p.m. followed by awards at 6 p.m. Tickets area available in advance for $10 or at the door for $15. Tickets include appetizers and a beverage. A full list of rules is available at

Let’s move from embarrassed to empowered.

To schedule an appointment, call JRMC Urology at (701) 952-4878.

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