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There’s a cliche that men are much more prone to avoidance and denial than women. In many circumstances, that remains a stereotype, however, when it comes to visiting the GP, unfortunately, that generalisation tends to be true. In fact, men tend to go to their GP a third less than their female counterparts on an annual basis. They also go to the pharmacist only 4 times a year in comparison to 18 times a year for women.
Men are more likely to die earlier than women and, out of the 15 leading causes of death, men are worse off than women in nearly every aspect. Although some of this can be due to the type of work men do and the fact that they’re statistically more likely to take dangerous risks, this is still a worrying statistic that should be addressed. Here’s a bit of information on why some men may avoid taking a trip to the GP.
One of the leading reasons why men are less likely to visit the doctor is due to a fear of discovering that something may be wrong. It’s understandable; there can be an inherent fear of weakness and mortality when visiting the doctor, however, there is simply no way to address that weakness if you don’t have a check up. Any issues that are diagnosed are far more likely to be solved if they’re caught early and dealt with.
Some men have indicated that they feel uncomfortable during examinations such as prostate and rectal exams. However unpleasant these tests may be, they are imperative in discovering some forms of cancer. With prostate cancer currently killing a man every single hour in the UK, it’s so important to make sure this is checked early. This type of cancer can be relatively simple to treat if caught in the initial stages, but is likely to be fatal if left untreated.
Linked to both of the above reasons, there is a stigma attached to going to the doctors for some men. Some men’s sense of masculinity forbids them to come face to face with any weaknesses that they have by admitting there are issues or exposing themselves to a stranger. This is something that is much more difficult to tackle. This form of ‘toxic masculinity’ is another reason suggested for rising rates in male suicide. However, with society being more open about this issue and the stigma starting to dissipate, hopefully, we will see all of these reasons rectified in the coming years.
At Duality Health in Newry, we want to help change the worrying trend that men simply don’t go to their GPs often enough.