When it comes to going to the doctor, we all find it a little nerve-wracking from time to time. But we men, in particular, are far more likely to avoid going to the doctor – and it’s not just in America where this happens, either. Males across the world are less likely to book an appointment, and it could be having a major impact on the health of men. What are the reasons for this trend?
Trying to be “strong”
Stereotypes can be very powerful, and it’s no joke to say that for centuries men have almost always been seen as the stronger sex. And while there are countless examples of women who’ve proven that this isn’t always the case, it has had a strong effect on many of us. Going to the doctor is seen in the minds of many men as an admission of weakness, and some men think that seeking help for any problem is a sign that they can’t sort it themselves.
Some changes are being made in this regard, and increasingly the balance is shifting in favor of a more gender equal society; however, it’s not changing quickly enough, and the reluctance of guys to visit the doctor is just another example of how stereotypes can affect our behavior and even our health.
While this general decision to put off seeking help may seem baffling to women and those of us men who don’t mind going to the doctor, it’s a lot more understandable when the problem in question is one of an embarrassing or personal nature. But while nobody denies that taking your underwear off or revealing your privates in front of a physician is not ideal, your doctor won’t even notice. They’ve seen everything before!
Sexually transmitted diseases, in particular, can be a real source of embarrassment, and many men bury their head in the sand if they suspect they have symptoms. But visiting one of your local health specialists is a must-do if you’re concerned, and STD testing Chicago and elsewhere is widely available. Don’t delay – the impact on your health could be huge.
Worries about cost
Of course, in some cases, there are also more understandable practical reasons why some men decide not to go to a doctor. Depending on your insurance plan and your personal circumstances, healthcare doesn’t always come cheaply – and if finances are tight, a doctor visit can seem like something to just keep putting off.
But often, this can end up causing problems of the false economy. Shelling out to visit the doctor today can often prevent problems down the line – and if you leave your condition to get worse, fixing the problem when it’s more advanced is likely to cost more dollars in extended hospital fees and specialist physician time.
Time off work
Unlike modern supermarkets or other locations where we spend a lot of our time, doctors’ surgeries don’t tend to have convenient opening hours. It’s not always easy for us to turn up at the doctor’s office, and that can easily become another excuse for those of 60% of us who just don’t want to go.
As a result, you’ll often hear men say they simply don’t have time for the doctor. But both employers and doctors understand that in some circumstances seeking medical help is essential. Managers will often be sympathetic to the plight of men who need to go, while some doctors can be flexible about appointment times.
If none of the other possible reasons for continually avoiding the doctor apply, then it may well just be that the man in question is scared of what the doctor might find. In this age of the Internet, it’s become common for us to Google our symptoms and create frightening stories in our heads about what could be wrong.
As humans, we’re all prone to default to the worst possible scenarios in our heads – and men are certainly no exception. But it’s important for all men, even those who are terrified of what the doctor might say, to make sure they see someone to sort out their medical problems and get a handle on the situation.
While it’s apparent that many men are finding themselves reluctant to go to the doctor, it’s essential for their health that they take the plunge. No matter what the reason or the excuse, it’s vital that men and those around them give their friends and partners the push they need to get their health on the right track and make that all-important call to book an appointment.