Ten Reasons Men Put Off Doctor Visits (And How to Overcome Them)

An annual checkup with your primary care physician is critical to living a healthy life, yet men are less likely to visit the doctor’s office than women. With June being Men’s Health Month, what’s the cause of men’s hesitancy towards doctor’s visits? Here are 10 reasons why men skip their annual physicals, and why those reasons are just excuses that should not prevent this critical step in living a healthy life.

1. No insurance coverage
People who are uninsured are more likely to have health problems than insured people. If you do not have a fulltime job through which you can obtain private health insurance, you should get it under the Affordable Care Act. Check out the American Heart Association’s guide here for everything you need to get signed up for appropriate coverage.

2. They don’t have a doctor
Doctors aren’t always easy to find. In fact, over 20% people say one of the barriers to health care for them is lack of a usual source of care. However, you’ll never know if there’s one by you that you can trust without extensive research. Check with your insurance provider and browse your local listings for doctors. Ask friends and family for doctors they recommend to others. Also, don’t forget to verify they’re an in-network provider under your insurance to keep costs reasonable.

3. Macho attitude
According to Rutgers, men who self-report traditional views on masculinity are less likely to get consistent health care. There appears to be a correlation between men believing they should be self-reliant and resisting routine exams, which is silly. Your health should be of the utmost importance, and only health care professionals can provide the proper diagnosis that is necessary.

4. Fear of diagnosis
A recent survey showed that more than 20% of men hesitate to schedule an annual exam out of fear of diagnosis. However, that’s why annual exams are important. It’s better to find out early so you can receive proper care before it’s too late.

5. They don’t think there’s anything wrong
While how you feel can be a decent indicator towards your health, it’s better to seek a diagnosis from a professional. There are many diseases and health conditions, such as diabetes and osteoporosis, which you could have without knowing it due to a lack of clear symptoms.

6. “I don’t have time”
An annual physical takes an average of 15 to 45 minutes depending on your doctor’s office. With 8,760 hours in a year, can you not spare an hour to take care of your health?

7. Fear of spending money
While everyone loves money, it’s better to spend a little to protect your health than spend a lot when a serious illness or condition arises as a result of not seeing your doctor. Also, if you think a doctor is expensive, you better hope you can avoid a prolonged stay in the hospital.

8. Lack of value (i.e. “doctors’ don’t do anything”)
Is a confirmation regarding whether you’re healthy or not really a “bad value,” especially as you age? While annual physicals don’t always provide a tangible benefit similar to when you get your car repaired by a mechanic, it’s critical in identifying any health problems before they become serious. That’s good for both your health and wallet.

9. Uncomfortable with exams
Many men feel uncomfortable with exams, particularly rectal exams and other invasive tests. While intimate exams can make us feel vulnerable, they’re quick and painless. Remember that the doctor is a professional—they’ve done it many times with others, and any results are kept between the doctor and you.

10. Uncomfortable talking about problems
It’s not a secret that men are more uncomfortable than women when it comes to sharing how they’re feeling. While men may be embarrassed to discuss cholesterol tests and blood-pressure screenings, issues that reflect on their masculinity, such as erectile dysfunction, can be even tougher to share. However, you should remember that anything you share with your doctor is confidential and won’t be shared with anyone unless you say so. It can be tough, but talking about health issues is critical to preventing them from getting worse.