Some men admitted they don’t like talking about their health. Even when they do go for a doctor visit they may not be truthful. They also feel embarrassed or uncomfortable along with other reasons why men don’t go.
Men aren’t likely to discuss some problems. They don’t want to be told they need to change their diets or life styles. Some said they avoid mentioning a health issue due to facing a worrisome diagnosis. Also they felt their physicians judge them.
A Cleveland clinic survey confirms the way men feel about visiting their doctor.
This is why June is so important for Men’s Health Awareness Month. To encourage guys to go for health screenings and keep doctor appointments. Men get involved with your health care for those who care about you as well as yourself.
Men have a negative attitude concerning visits for medical care.
72% said they’d do household chores such as cleaning toilets instead of going to the doctor.
65% put doctor visits off as long as they could.
20% admitted not being honest about their health talking with their doctor.
37% withheld information in the past from their physician, specifically due to not being ready to deal with the possible diagnosis that could result if they were truthful.
Constant avoidance of doctor appointments and withholding the truth puts men at risk. How can we work to change this?
Men have the attitude they don’t need a doctor and their condition will improve on its own. Contributing to this is fear, superhero syndrome and just being vulnerable sucks.
My father came in the house one winter from snow blowing. He went and laid on his bed complaining about upper back pain. We had to convince him if he was having a heart attack an ambulance needed to be called. Sound familiar?
Reasons for not Going to Doctor Visits
Fear is probably number one for reasons men avoid doctors. There is worry about getting a bad diagnosis or unfavorable outcome.
Men reported being nervous about discovering what could be wrong presenting a roadblock in scheduling an annual exam. It is not a good plan to wait until symptoms become painfully worse.
In addition there were reports of being uncomfortable during some body exams. Such as rectal exams, these can give men reason to put off scheduling. This may be linked to attitude as well. Because there are intimate exams, that do make us (as women) feel vulnerable.
Men always want to see themselves as forever strong. They need to be capable of taking care of anything. Going to a doctor could be seen as weakness.
Men simply don’t like being vulnerable. This can be several factors. For instance sensitive topics like erectile dysfunction. Things that men would rather not discuss altogether, even if talking to a doctor about it could help.
Traditional views on masculinity get in the way. Storing this belief that they should be strong and self-reliant, so there is resistance with routine exams.
Before your doctor visit write down questions and/or concerns. This helps in bringing up the subject along with remembering things.
Be prepared for the visit this will relieve some anxiety.
Take a friend or partner with you to your appointment. This could take up some of the time you spend worrying.
Maintenance for Yourself
Guys look at it like you take care of your car. You make sure to take it in for maintenance. The gas tank needs to be filled occasionally. This is all done to keep it running so you can get around. Do the same for yourself to stay healthy so you can keep living.
Men’s Health Concerns
Particularly with older men there is reluctance to talk about erectile dysfunction along with urinary issues. Bringing up some important symptoms to address because erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of certain health problems. This includes heart disease and uncontrolled diabetes.
As the prostate grows with age difficulty urinating can be normal. However, this can be caused by a tumor where catching it right away is crucial for treatment.
Men have unique health concerns:
- Enlarged prostate
- Prostate cancer
- Male infertility
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low testosterone
As well as high risk for disease not related to gender. The top two causes of death for men are cancer and heart disease. On the other hand getting diagnosed early along with receiving treatment is usually very successful.
Not only are some health issues just for men sometimes the health concern has different symptoms. This is in comparison to women, like in a stroke. Some serious health concerns may have no symptoms at all.
Most importantly it is essential to have regular doctor visits. There is no excuse (known to man) to avoid this. The reluctance to see a doctor could be a major reason for higher rates in some diseases. Along with lower live expectancy versus women.
What is an Urologist?
Urologists are kinda like gynecologist for you guys. These doctors specialize in men’s sexual and reproductive health care. This consists of being diagnosed and treated for disorders of the male sex and reproductive organs.
Urologist is who you visit if you’re having any issues with your sexual or reproductive health. For guys to get a good start on taking care of yourself, having a physical exam when you become sexually active is important.
Your urologist can also give you information on how to do a testicular self-exam. The provider could explain about how to reduce the risk for sexually transmitted infections. Along with a man’s role in birth control and to prevent pregnancies.
During a male exam, the doctor will feel the testicles, scrotum and penis checking for any lumps. If any of these checks are painful be sure to let your doctor know. Be honest about how you feel this may indicate an issue.
Usually a rectal exam will be performed during your appointment. The physician will insert a lubricated finger into the anus to exam the prostate gland. This is to check for lumps or swelling in the rectum.
Specialist to Consider as You Age
- Primary care
- Eye doctor
You may not need each doctor listed depending on your health and needs. However always good to be prepared.
Annual Visits according to Age
In your 20s
What the doctor checks will be your:
- Blood pressure
- Testicular cancer screen
- Recommend cholesterol checks every 5 years
- Possible screen for sexually transmitted diseases
In your 30s
What the doctor checks will be in addition to the above screenings:
- Hereditary concerns like coronary heart disease
- Vision screenings
- Electrocardiogram for heart disease
- Blood test screening for diabetes, thyroid disease, liver problems and anemia
In your 40s
Add prostate cancer screenings.
Beginning with age 45 possibly check for diabetes every 3 years.
In your 50s
Colon cancer screenings start at age 50.
Your list gets a bit longer:
May begin checking each year for:
Type II diabetes, depression and lipid disorders
Depending on your risk factors your doctor could recommend:
- Skin cancer screening
- Oral cancer
- Lung cancer
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Alcohol abuse
In your 60s
Screenings for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease may be added. Colorectal screenings may continue depending on previous results. Osteoporosis screenings may also start.
In your 70s and beyond
All of the above will continue to be monitored for your overall wellness. Colorectal screenings will continue depending on your previous results, in addition to general screening until age 75. Screening is not recommended for men older than 85.
Changing the Attitude
Make a Date
Treat it like a date if you can go to the appointment with your partner. Ladies schedule the visit for him even if it’s your father, uncle or husband.
Having outreach or marketing campaigns addressing men’s more serious medical conditions. This could cover barbershops, cigar bars, golf course, work and church. Get the word out.
Millennials seem to be more informed about general health thanks to Google search and many websites containing health information. But we have a long way to go.
The Movember Foundation
The Movember Foundation was created to increase this awareness. Men’s health issues are put in the forefront. There is also encouragement to seek medical advice along with having routine test.
There suggestions for men:
There is also an importance for men to have strong relationships. Time needs to be devoted enriching those bonds.
It is essential to be there for a friend. Also take time to chat to a friend yourself. Be open and confide in each other. You could save a life.
Do your monthly testicular self-exam. Know what is normal and what is not.
Be more active. Recommendations are about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
Or about 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, along with strength training twice per week.
Wrapping it up
Men find a doctor you feel comfortable with and can trust. Be open and truthful about your health.
Ladies encourage your guy to keep up with screenings, for his family and all who care about him. Go along with him to appointment if possible.
Guys there are support groups out there for your fear and attitude. Check out the Movember Foundation. Taking care of yourself is not being weak you are being responsible for the most important thing: your life.
Header by Jan Krnc from pexels