When was the last time you took a trip to the GP? Has it been a while? What excuses have you been telling your partner and yourself about why you haven’t gone? There is a long-standing stereotype that men don’t go to the doctor. The reason that this stereotype sticks around is, sadly, because it’s true.
A US study conducted over two years showed that men are three times more likely than women to go five years or more without a visit to the doctor and were twice as likely never to visit a doctor in their adult life. These are pretty shocking statistics. Those Yanks sure are bad at going to the doctors, but Australian men are just as bad. According to a study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a little over 30% of men aged 45 to 64 visited a GP regularly. However, the percentage drops to under 15% in men 65 plus!
So why aren’t the men of Australia visiting the doctor?
I don’t have the time
The most common excuse is the lack of time to visit the doctor. This excuse is a fair claim because going to the GP can turn into an almost all day affair sometimes. However, the thought that putting work, hobbies, or even family above one’s health could be counter-intuitive as without your health you can’t enjoy these activities and people either.
I don’t want to know
Ignorance has been reported to be bliss, but it’s rarely healthy. Early detection significantly improves outcomes in most major ailments. The “head in the sand” tactic has lead men to top the lists in being more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, strokes, respiratory diseases, and diabetes. While regular visits to your GP won’t stop things from happening, they could catch problems early before a bigger problem comes along.
“She’ll be right, mate.”
Mostly likely if you live a healthy lifestyle you are in tip top shape, but if your car goes in for a service more often than you do then you might want to think about it a bit more. Just like ignorance, denial can cause the same delay in detection with life-threatening results.
I don’t want to be nude or get “the finger.”
This excuse is most likely the cause of the problem behind men’s reluctance to visit the doctor. Embarrassment can cause people to ignore potentially serious medical conditions. You will need to remember that your Doctor has seen it all, and it’s not an inconvenience for them to do these procedures. Doctors are not going to embarrass you and will make the entire thing as comfortable as possible. While it might fill you with embarrassment, it still is better than the potential life threatening alternative.
Experts say that a healthy man should visit the GP at least once a year to get a check up, however depending on your situation your doctor may want to make that twice a year or more. While it can be embarrassing sometimes, the peace of mind that a regular check-up can give you hugely outweighs the embarrassment.