Posted by Piya Chakravarty on February 09, 2009

T.E. Holt, M.D. says that in all the years of her medical practice, she has hardly seen a man, especially the ones between the ages of 20-40 years, at her clinic coming voluntarily for a check-up.

So why are the metrosexual six-pack men so averse to doctors? Themedguru tries to throw some light…

It has been seen that men are more likely to put off going for a check-up than women and in fact, they would do so even if they are ill. A large number of men end up in health conditions, which could have been avoided by a timely check-up. They avoid seeking medical help or any kind of help for that matter, and this leads to complications.

What is the Psyche Behind this Behaviour?

The International Journal of Men’s Health states that the reason why men do not want to see the doctor comes from the age-old societal structure. It is, the way men have been programmed by the rules and clichés of our society. Many of us might have seen a postcard showing Moses wandering in the desert. "Why did Moses spend 40 years wandering in the desert? Because he wouldn't ask for directions." The sad part is that even in our modern society these stereotype thoughts and ideas exist.

A Few More Facts

A survey conducted by Harris Interactive in 2007, gives us a clear idea about what men think about going to a doctor. Although 85 percent claimed they do seek medical help, 92 percent said they waited at least a few days to see whether the ailment would go away. And 30 percent of the respondents answered, they wait “as long as it can be avoided” to go to the doctor.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that men are likely to skip visiting a doctor for as long as two years. The mortality rates for a few diseases is more among men than women, still they seek help less often. These problems may include depressiondefine, cocaine use, alcohol use and of course medical problems. Most men put forward the argument that ‘I feel fine’. However, we all know that feeling fine does not mean that our body is in perfect shape. For example, diabetes or blood pressure will not give any conspicuous problem till much later.

What are the Reasons for this Behaviour?

• Women need to go for a regular check-up; Men don’t; Women are advised to go for gynaecological checkups after they reach their late 20s to avoid complications during reproduction. As children, boys are taken to the physician regularly by parents. Once they reach puberty, most men do not bother to go to the doctor anymore.

• Men do not feel comfortable talking about health issues; they do not feel comfortable talking about themselves and their illnesses, especially, when the ailment is sexual in nature. Men find it more awkward to talk about something sensitive, or allow any check-up of the private parts. So, they feel it is better to keep quiet and not go to the doctor.

• Doctor’s help is to be sought only in case of illness; for most men, the importance of avoiding or preventing an illness does not fit in with their image of the physician.

• Men feel unwelcomed; they feel that the doctors are more inclined and sympathetic towards women. Even the decor of the waiting room and the magazines are meant for women. So they feel unwelcomed at the doctor’s clinic.

However, it has been seen that most men would need the advice of their spouses to go for a check-up. Most of them, who go to a clinic, have agreed to be motivated by their partners. We need to get out of these clichés like, “it is not masculine to go to a doctor” and see the reality. And what better way to do it than a little help and persuasion from one’s partner.

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