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Why Men Don't Visit Doctors

Updated: Nov 6, 2021

Is it a myth that men are reluctant to visit their doctor while women are not? Anecdotally, men will visit a doctor when something hurts, blood is dripping, or they have some sort of disfigurement growing on their face. Sounds kinda true, but what are the facts and how often should seniors see their doctors? Is there a consensus among the medical community?

According to a Cleveland Clinic survey, “Why Men Don't Go to the Doctor,” Christina Ianzito, September 6, 2019, finds men are avoiding checkups.

“Many of us know a guy who would rather do almost anything else than go to the doctor. A new Cleveland Clinic survey confirms how widespread physician-dodging is among men: Only half of the 1,174 adult men surveyed said they get regular checkups, and 72 percent would rather do household chores such as cleaning the bathroom than go see their doctor.

“While lots of women might also prefer a bit of household cleaning over getting their vital signs checked, they are more likely to schedule regular checkups, notes Bradley Gill, a urologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

“The gender difference, Gill surmises, is in part due to the fact that women “get plugged into the health care system from an early age, seeing gynecologists, and get in the habit of annual visits. Whereas guys, unless something's going on, they may not see a physician until their 30s or 40s for routine screening.

“In general, Gill advises men to have a routine check-up every other year in their 30s, and then every year in their 40s and beyond. (Older men surveyed were better about doing so; 74 percent said they had annual physicals, compared with 43 percent of those 35 to 54.)

“Some men just don't like talking about their health, the survey found — even when they do see a doctor. One in 5 admitted they haven't been completely honest with their physicians. Common reasons included embarrassment or discomfort with discussing certain issues and not wanting to be told that they should change their diets or lifestyle. Some said they didn't mention a health concern because they weren't ready to face a troubling diagnosis, or because they didn't want to be judged. One-quarter of men say they've “felt judged” by their doctors.

“Gill…likes to make an analogy to cars when talking to men about their health care: “You rotate your tires, you change your oil ... What you don't want to do is wait until there's smoke coming out from under the hood and the car stops running. The same thing goes for men's health.”,t%20want%20to%20be%20judged. also has some interesting information at

“Mike Gnitecki is a firefighter and paramedic who recently told Healthline he’s had male patients initially refuse transport to the hospital even while in the middle of an active heart attack.

“One reason for this attitude, Gnitecki explained, may be the fact that many men convince themselves their condition will improve on its own, not wanting to “bother” a doctor in the meantime.” Now that sounds a bit familiar to me.

In the same article, “Dr. Tisha Rowe, says there are often a few other things contributing as well: fear, superhero syndrome, and the fact that “vulnerability sucks.” As a primary care doctor, I think the number one reason men avoid the doctor is fear,” Rowe explained. “They worry about a bad diagnosis or a bad outcome. Then there is the superhero syndrome, which Rowe explained is men wanting to see themselves as forever strong and capable of handling anything. “They see going to the doctor as a weakness. And finally… vulnerability. “Vulnerability sucks,” Rowe said. “Men don’t like being vulnerable.”

Well, as a matter of fact, those reasons are all true so what’s the problem here? Interestingly, I believe that Dr. Rowe pretty well summed up my attitude years ago, but not anymore. I don’t want to suffer or die because of an illness that could have been helped or cured had it been discovered earlier.

From the same article. “Then there are the men who will go to their doctors, but who withhold information or purposefully lie about their current medical state.” I’ll admit I haven’t always been as forthcoming as I am now.

Should I mention that?”

“Dr. Nikola Djordjevic is a medical advisor and physician who explained some men do this because they fear an embarrassing diagnosis and sometimes because of the stigma many men believe: that they should be strong enough to handle things on their own.

“Women, on the other hand, tend to be much more responsible when it comes to healthcare,” Djordjevic said, pointing out that men and women face different societal stigmas about seeking medical care.

Rowe agreed with that statement, saying that she’s found male patients are more likely to withhold information. “Women are used to sharing intimate details of their lives with friends, so it’s not difficult for them to open up. Men, however, are not conditioned by society to discuss feelings, so it’s more of a challenge,” she said.” Yup! That used to be an issue, but not anymore. Usually, the doctor avoids asking me questions because I won’t shut up.

And this following bit of news is why I now go regularly to the doctors. “The consequences of putting medical care off, or keeping information from one’s doctor, can be dire according to Djordjevic. “I think the number one problem is missing the early warning signs of a more serious condition,” he explained. “Especially when it comes to ‘silent symptoms,’ such as diagnosing pre-diabetes and other chronic medical conditions that should be addressed as early as possible.

“The other example he gave was prostate cancer, which can be detected with a simple physical exam. “Patients that are diagnosed at an early stage have a much better prognosis than those who show up too late at the doctor.

And here’s the clincher. “By putting those exams off, men may be in much worse condition by the time a disease is caught than they would have been if they had gone in early and regularly. Rowe explained, “Unfortunately, due to delays and denials, by the time they come, sometimes the disease is no longer treatable. They may have to deal with consequences like dialysis, limb amputations, and sometimes death.” Enough said.

Okay, but how often should we see doctors and why?

Regular checkups with your healthcare provider can benefit your health in many ways. Some of the key benefits include:

- Finding potentially life-threatening health issues early before they cause a problem

- Early treatment of health conditions, which increases the odds of a good outcome

- Regular monitoring of existing health issues, which lowers the risk of severe complications

- Staying up-to-date on vaccinations and screening tests

- Developing an open, honest relationship with your primary care physician

Experts say that while there's no hard and fast rule on how often a healthy older adult needs to visit their doctor, at least once a year is usually a good idea.

“According to the Aetna Health Care Guide, seniors that are between 65 and 70 years old should visit their doctor at least once a year, even if they do not have any underlying concerns.

“Seniors that are in their seventies should visit their doctor at least twice a year, while seniors in their eighties (and above) should visit the doctor at least three times per year – or once every few months.

“The average American goes to the doctor four times per year. That may sound like a decent number of visits, but in other countries people visit the doctor with far greater frequency. For instance, in Japan patients typically see their doctor around 13 times a year. In Canada, people visit the doctor around 7.4 times a year, and in France the average is 6.8 visits per year.

Researchers conclude that Americans visit the doctor with less frequency because of the cost. It is more expensive to see a doctor in America compared to other countries.


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