If you’ve been putting off that doctor’s visit for a long time, you are not alone. Recent studies have shown that men are significantly less likely to see a doctor when something ails them. Twenty years ago, a study was conducted about the correlation between perceived masculinity and a man’s reluctance to see the doctor.
The same study was conducted fourteen years later and yielded the same results: men are reluctant to go to the doctor because they believe the stereotype that for them to be seen as masculine and strong, they have to endure what physical ailments they suffer from.
It is also for this reason that medical experts believe men have a shorter life span than women.
While embarrassment and fear are two of the most cited reasons for their hesitation to see a doctor, some men also mentioned that the way the healthcare industry is run also factors into their decision. Most hospitals or clinics, they argue, seem to have a physician staffing problem causing them to forego medical appointments until such time that they can see a doctor.
They’re also hesitant because healthcare costs can be very expensive and not all facilities accept insurance, so they’d much rather wait out the sickness than pay for a visit to the doctor. Some men also said they tend to be stubborn when their partners or spouses push them to go to the doctor. The more their wife or girlfriend nags, the more they dig in their heels.
These environmental and mental factors are some of the things you have to learn to overcome, though, because even the most common of symptoms could become something more life-threatening if not addressed early.
How to Change Your Mindset
The change will have to come from within you, but here are a few things you can do to get you started.
1. Talk to your partner or a trusted friend or family member.
The first thing you need to do is to be open-minded when your loved one is asking you to see the doctor. If they’re getting to a point that they’re nagging you, it comes from a well-intentioned place. They might be noting down symptoms that you might not see or only feel subconsciously and it’s causing them to worry.
Talking to them when they start pushing you to see a physician will help calm then down and will give you a chance to explain and get over your fear of seeing a doctor.
2. Be completely honest with your physician.
Have you had a bad experience with a doctor before and now you hesitate to see other ones? Take a step back and view that experience from an objective point of view. Chances are you would see clearly that giving your doctor incomplete information about your health is why they recommended a course of treatment that didn’t work for you.
Your complete honesty about your condition will give your doctor the most accurate information they would need to give you the proper advice about your health.
3. Go with your partner or a trusted loved one.
It’s not emasculating if you ask your wife, girlfriend, partner, or sibling to go with you to your doctor’s appointment. They would understand that your fear is genuine and trust that they would love you enough to accompany you. If it’s a routine check-up, why not make a day of it? See the doctor and then go on a date afterward.
If the doctor’s visit is for a more serious condition, let go of your inhibitions and let your loved one take care of you. Being pampered during a stressful time will not mean you were no longer be the alpha male. Instead, your partner will feel closer to you when they see your vulnerable side.