Guys, we need to talk. You lag behind women when it comes to getting health coverage, according to a recent U.S. Census report. Not only that, you tend to shy away from health screenings.
And compared to women, you don’t have a regular clinician to go to when you’re sick or need medical advice. That’s according to the Journal of American Medical Association.
In other words, you’re not taking care of yourself. What gives?
“Men have, in general, this idea of strength and power and control," said Dr. Tom Walsh, a urologist and the director of the Men’s Health Center at UW Medicine.
“The idea of losing control or taking time out of one’s busy day to actually see a doctor is part of a man’ s paradigm,” he said.
Walsh isn’t surprised with these findings. He said this pattern is also common in Europe and Australia. It holds across socioeconomic groups.
He thinks it’s more than a time issue. Walsh said unlike men, women have been conditioned to see a doctor at an early age, starting in their teens.
“They’re introduced to somebody who helps begin screening them for what used to be a very dangerous cancer — cervical cancer — so that it’s very routine once women become in the post-pubertal arena where they would see a gynecologist … on a yearly basis for what was deemed to be an important screening.”
So when men do see a doctor, Walsh said it’s not usually to get screened, but for areas that impact their quality of life, like fertility and sexual health — things that the UW Men’s Health Center focuses on.
That was part of the idea of creating the clinic to begin with. Once they’re in the door, Walsh uses the opportunity to refer them to a primary-care person for the routine stuff.
Walsh said there may be other reasons why men hesitate to seek care: it could be fear of bad news or a sense of resignation that doctors won’t do anything. But here’s something to consider: Men are more likely than women to have diabetes and high cholesterol. And men tend to die at a younger age.