Men More Reluctant To Go To The Doctor And Its Putting Them At Risk


This is the first article in our series on men hidden health conditions. Read todays article on postnatal depression in men .

Men can expect to die approximately five years sooner than wives, and men are more likely to die as a result of unintentional trauma and suicide relative to women.

These changes are not well explained by physiological differences between men and women. One possible rationale is that men are more reluctant to go to the doctor and less likely to be honest once they get there.

We have a culture script about manlines that tells men they need to be tough, brave, strong and self-reliant. Its exemplified in phrases like has become a man and humankind up. Men learn from an early age if they dont act in this tough, masculine lane they lose their status and respect as men.

Theres a lot of literature relating manlines to health issues such as men.

Our recent investigate find men who buy into the traditional culture script about manlines, and believe they must be brave and self-reliant in order to be respected, had more barriers to seeking care compared to those who did not endorse these beliefs.

Men endorsing these ideas about manlines and legislating them in their own lives were less likely to seek preventative care. And they were more likely to delay care when they experienced injury or illness. Basically, we find manlines was related to delays in health care-seeking.

What Happens When Men Do Seek Care ?

In a second study we find all those people who believe men should be tough, self-reliant and brave prefer male physicians. In portion, this is because they believe male physicians are more competent than female doctors.

We reckoned male physician predilection may adversely affect men health because men might disclose their symptoms differently to males and physicians. In a third investigate, we sought to examine how doctor gender might influence doctor-patient communication.

First we asked men to indicate how often they experienced a number of common, chronic health symptoms. Then we asked men how embarrassing it was necessary to disclose these symptoms to someone else. From this pilot investigate, we chose the 5 most frequent, chronic and embarrassing symptoms( such as diarrhoea, gas, depressive symptoms ), then designed the final investigate to examine whether men would disclose these symptoms differently based on the gender of their doctor.

We asked men to report their manlines ideas and the frequency with which they experienced the 5 chronic, embarrassing symptoms. We then brought the same men into a clinical determine, a doctors surgery. We asked them, again, to disclose their symptoms to a male or female medical student.

Men who endorsed this culture script about manlines disclosed more consistently with females compared to males. When they had a male physician, men endorsing manlines ideas reported experiencing health symptoms at a much less frequency than their initial, private report. When they had a female physician, men still under-reported the frequency of their symptoms, but to a lesser extent.

Why Does This Matter ?

Men endorsing manlines ideas tend to delay preventative care and, when they do go to the doctor, they prefer male physicians even though they may seem more comfortable with females.

Care avoidance and impaired doctor-patient communication could have a very large impact on mens health. If men arent honest with their doctors about their symptoms they might not receive adequate care. If they dont seek preventive care( such as regular check-ups) they may miss early indicators of heart disease, cancer or other serious health problems.

These findings highlight the best interests of choosing a doctor with whom patients seem comfortable, irrespective of gender( physician or patient ). Its really important to encourage men to be totally honest with medical doctors and to be noted that physicians are bind by confidentiality. That is, they wont discuss an individual patient with anyone else.

Men should think about physicians clinics as safe, judgment-free places. If a patient is obsessed a particular physician might appreciate them as less of a humankind after the patient discloses a problem, that physician is probably not the doctor for that patient.

Individuals going to see physicians to take care of their bodies we should think of that as exemplifying a strength not a weakness. Discounting symptoms and avoiding the doctor only aims up hurting the individual in the long run.

Further reading :

Dads get postnatal depression too

Womens health series

Diana Sanchez, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Rutgers University and Mary Himmelstein, Postdoctoral Scholar, Rudd Center, University of Connecticut

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