Why do so many men avoid having one of their most important machines—namely, their bodies—checked out regularly by a professional?
Sure, not all men will go to any length—including putting up with pain—to avoid a trip to the doctor, but for many men this longstanding healthcare cliché is a way of life.
Here are some of the top reasons that men put off medical exams, something to keep in mind the next time you start thinking about cleaning the rain gutters or garage instead of visiting a doctor.
You don’t want to look weak
Although some men are experts at playing for sympathy when they have a cold, no guy really wants to admit that he’s sick. Being healthy and strong is intimately tied to our culture’s sense of masculinity, something that may go back to the days of the earliest humans. While in the old days, covering up an illness might have scored you some points with your cave friends, today you only miss out on a chance to catch an illness early on, when it’s easier to treat.
You don’t really know your doctor that well
Building a relationship with your doctor takes time. But you are more likely to feel comfortable with your doctor if you talk with him before you have a major medical problem or symptoms that really concern you. That’s what regular physical exams are for. They basically give you a chance to audition your doctor for the part of your healthcare provider. Your doctor will also be able to help you better if he knows more about your medical history and personal or work life.
You're too embarrassed to tell even your doctor
It’s one thing to tell your doctor that you have a sore throat, but many men shy away from sharing more personal symptoms—the “down there” ones—like having to pee many times in the middle of the night, finding blood in your urine, seeing a strange rash on your body, or not being able to maintain an erection. There’s no shame in feeling embarrassed, but the best solution is to just get over it. Once you open up, you’ll see how easy it is. If you have trouble talking to your doctor, try sharing your health concerns with your partner or close friend first.
You feel fine so you don’t need a doctor
Many men avoid going to the doctor when they don’t feel sick. Lots of times this makes sense, but some health conditions don’t produce any symptoms until you are well down the path of ill health. These “silent killers” include high blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, not to mention some types of cancer. Regular checkups with a doctor can catch many of these warning signs early on.
You don’t have good health insurance
While inadequate health insurance shouldn’t be a barrier to visiting a doctor, sometimes it is. If you have health insurance, find out what is included. Many times, regular check-ups are covered completely or with just a small co-payment. If you need better insurance, there are more options available now with the Affordable Care Act. Some cities also have free health clinics or preventative care clinics with upfront fees. If you’re still concerned about paying for an exam to head off a disease like diabetes or heart disease, think about how expensive a hospital visit will be later on.