Most of the guys I know would do just about anything for anybody. They all have a lot of people who count on them. However, most of them would rather keep health concerns to themselves and will put off going to the doctor for… just about forever.
“I would rather self remedy than go to a doctor for a check up and an unnecessary bill.”
The reasons for why run the gambit. Perhaps being told as a little boy “to take it like a man,” or just the perceived inconvenience may explain why men tend to be stubborn about taking care of their health issues.
“I would rather wait for self healing than go to the doctor for most things.”
— Skip Stephens
None of us like feelings of vulnerability and perhaps men especially struggle with vulnerability and fear that may accompany visiting a doctor. Reluctance could also come from traumatic family history.
“I would rather wait to see if it takes care of itself rather than go to a doctor for a severe ache or pain.”
Cleveland Clinic surveyed more than 500 men ages 18 to 70 across the United States and found that only 3 in 5 men get an annual physical, and just over 40 percent go to the doctor only when they fear they have a serious medical condition.
“I would rather put up with the pain than go to the doctor for my knee pain.”
— Mike Elam
However, when men put off regular examinations and screenings that decision can have dire consequences. Research tells us that patients that are diagnosed at an early stage have a much better prognosis than those who show up too late at the doctor.
“I would rather eat healthy than go to the doctor for dialysis.”
— John Glenn
When exams are put off, men may be in much worse condition by the time a disease is caught than they would have been if they had gone in early and regularly.
“I would rather go to the gym than go to the doctor. I know that taking extra care of my body prevents visits to the doctor.”
— Bryan J.R. Jackson
Interestingly enough it’s often up to women to make sure the men in their life get the preventative care and recommended screenings.
So what are some ways we can help men shift their attitudes towards medical care?
- Find a doctor: It seems somewhat basic but just locating a doctor that a man can relate to. Offer to make the appointment for him. I know, I know we aren’t his mom but this simple act can help get over a major barrier for some men.
- Make it super convenient: Hi there health care systems! What about going to where men typically DO feel more comfortable? What about car shows, healthy grilling competitions, or local sports events? 22% of men feel they are too busy to go to the doctor. Let’s have those conversations of what is getting in the way of making their health a priority.
- Avoid nagging and guilt tripping: Men and women alike are simply not motivated by negative feedback. Coming from an attitude of caring and letting the men in our lives know we really do want them around for a long time goes a long way in getting our loved ones to visit the doctor.
“Prevention is paramount for a man’s health and getting timely guidance from a doctor can keep a small problem from turning into a big one. Knowing the facts, being proactive, and taking advantage of the numerous advancements in healthcare today can make all the difference in a man’s quality of – and length of – life.”- Eric Klein, MD
— authored by Carissa Figgins, Executive Director, Community Strong SCC