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Why Don’t Men Go to the Doctor?

Posted by Elder Health Plans, January 15, 2020

If you’re a married woman, you might have wondered why it is so difficult to convince your husband to go to the doctor. Or, if you’re a man, you might feel very resistant to the idea. Is this just a myth? Or is it true that men are less willing to schedule an appointment with their physician?

Actually, it’s true: A recent study by the Cleveland Clinic discovered that only about half of men receive regular checkups, and 72 percent said they’d rather clean the bathroom than visit their doctor’s office.

By why are men so resistant to medical care? The Cleveland Clinic survey found that men listed the following reasons for their reluctance:

  • Some don’t like talking about their health
  • Haven’t always been completely honest with their doctors (one in five)
  • Embarrassment or discomfort around personal issues, like urinary problems or erectile dysfunction
  • Don’t want to be told to change their diet or lifestyle
  • Not ready to face a frightening diagnosis
  • Feel “judged” by their doctors (one-quarter of men reported feeling this way)

It’s important to remember that these feelings are common and normal, but giving in to them won’t exactly make health problems disappear. They simply prolong diagnosis and make conditions potentially harder to treat.

As for “embarrassing” conditions like erectile dysfunction or urinary problems, these can be signs of a serious problem. Heart disease, uncontrolled diabetes, or prostate tumors can lie at the heart of these issues, so hiding these symptoms out of embarrassment can actually endanger a man’s life.

Men should seek a routine annual checkup after age 50, and routine screenings such as colonoscopies and PSA tests should be scheduled according to the patient’s individual risk factors.

And remember, it’s okay to try a different primary care physician. You should be comfortable with your doctor. If a particular professional doesn’t feel like a good fit, it’s perfectly acceptable to “shop around”.

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