It’s interesting, this idea of masculinity and being a strong father figure in a family. While now, this image is being challenged a lot, there are still shreds of evidence that show men aren’t as forthright or as open as we think. Going to the doctors is one of those great examples, and it’s one of those bad habits that can begin very young in life. Men tend to die a lot younger than women, because of issues like an illness that went undiagnosed until it was too late. But why is this?
Why Do Men Find It So Difficult To Go To The Doctors (And What Can You Do About It)?
Men Are “Supposed” To Behave A Certain Way
This is something that is very common. A lot of men feel that they need to uphold a certain sense of strength and confidence. In other words, embodying that old-fashioned stereotype of what a man is meant to be. And we learn these types of behaviors from our parents, and so, psychologically speaking, it can be hard to get out of these patterns. As men grow up, they have very clear messages about how they need to hide their vulnerability. Going to the doctor is, in essence, the polar opposite of this. You go, explain your thoughts and feelings and concerns, and get help.
They Feel Uncomfortable
And as asking for help is tantamount to asking for directions, a big no-no to some men, this feeling of being exposed in the doctor’s office makes them feel uncomfortable. The sensation of feeling uncomfortable isn’t just about opening yourself up in an emotional sense, but it could be the personal questions, as well as uncomfortable body exams. In addition to this, the fear of the unknown, or what might be wrong, means that it’s easier to avoid the issue.
Men’s Unique Issues
And it’s unfair to tarnish everyone with the same brush, as many men are more than happy to go to the doctor. But sometimes, men can experience unique issues that they feel is solely their problem, and no one else’s. An illness like prostate cancer, for example, is something that can be hard to detect if you don’t know what the symptoms are. And as it’s a disease that is exclusive to men and not women, if the man in question doesn’t talk about these problems, and the prostate cancer cells increase, it may be too late to treat the problem effectively. But it’s not always to do with the symptoms; work is to blame a lot of the time. Many men work long hours, and the age range of men most likely to have prostate cancer, are of the baby boomer generation. It’s now getting to the point where millennials are approaching 40, and this generation is, generally, more clued up, and more in touch with their emotions. But, this is a generalization, and it doesn’t encapsulate every single man. Because the millennial generation is stuck between the past and the future, they are being informed by the baby boomer generation, but also it seems that more men are talking about their mental and physical issues, especially on social media. And while suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under the age of 45, it’s still something that a lot of men feel that they have to bottle up, their emotions, because they feel that it’s only happening to them.
How Can This Be Tackled?
There are more and more campaigns encouraging men to talk about their physical and mental issues, if you have concerns about a loved one not opening up, or needing to go to the doctor, it can be a very touchy issue for them. When it comes to getting them to open up, you shouldn’t force the issue. This will only cause them to retreat back into their shell. Instead, encouraging open and honest communication is something that is an ongoing effort. And sometimes, you hear stories about men being forced to go to the doctors by their partners, and it ends up saving their lives. This doesn’t always work, and you need to ensure that you are going about it the right way with respect to your partner’s personality. And when it comes to getting them to open up, it could be that it’s like turning on a tap. The emotion may flow, which is great, and so, the next step of getting professional help will be easier.
But of course, if you have a partner that is scared of going to the doctor, it can take a lot more work. Go with them, or discuss what the underlying cause is. It’s much more difficult if they haven’t been to the doctor in years, or ever. And while they might want to solve the problem themselves, as many men feel they need to do, all you can do is remind them that you are there for them. Emotional support may be something that they don’t ask for, but if they know it’s there, that cushion that will help.
The Long Road To Wellness…
Now, we feel that we need to take a pill, and our problems should be solved, but this isn’t the case. Men might feel that going to the doctors is such an alien concept, that they expect to be cured, but it’s all about mental strength as well as finding the right treatments. The best example would be counseling. Having a mental illness can sometimes be medicated, but it can also mean sitting down and talking about the root causes. And once these root causes have been unearthed and examined, it can give anyone a renewed sense of strength. It’s always important to know that professional help is always there for them, even though they don’t feel it will do anything. And it can take a long time, but if you have a man in your life who is very reticent about getting professional help in any way, whether for a physical illness or a mental problem, it can certainly be a challenge. But it’s important to remember that it’s something that is deeply ingrained in them.