Data from My Urology Doc - Curated by Marshall Pearce - Last updated 10 April 2017
Men's health is one of the most forgotten topics in healthcare. I unfortunately think we men are mostly to blame. As a urologist and men's health expert, I've noticed that we've clung to our masculine misconceptions and repeatedly refused to engage the healthcare community. Who can blame us, we're invincible, we're going to live forever, right? Well, not exactly. Let's look at some of the reasons men's health is one of the least engaged topics in healthcare.
- We Are Too Macho: Our manliness is one of the biggest reasons men's health is one of the least engaged topics in healthcare. In the study "'Macho Men' and Preventative Health Care: Implications for Older Men in Different Social Classes", published in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour in 2011, researchers uncovered something astounding. They conducted a population-based assessment of "masculinity beliefs and preventative healthcare", and assessed whether they vary by socio-economic status (SES). Men with strong masculinity beliefs were half as likely to receive preventative healthcare than those with more moderate masculinity beliefs. Even more eye-opening was the fact that a man's probability of receiving preventative healthcare actually decreased as their "occupational status, wealth, and/or income increased".
- We Are Invincible: Another big reason men's health is one of the least engaged topics in healthcare is because we never get sick or hurt. Or at least that's what most men think, especially when young. Perhaps it is a hormone thing, or perhaps it's something else entirely. Either way, it's real! Unfortunately, it's a drivng force behind our lack of healthcare engagement early in life.
- We Are Too Busy: I can definitely relate to this one. The older we get, the busier we get. By the time we realize we're not actually invincible, we're juggling too many things in life to stop and talk about men's health. We start pondering the future, which motivates us to work our tails off to "get ahead". Men don't typically see value in taking time away from their busy schedules to undertake preventative healthcare services and discuss men's health.
While there are definitely other factors at play here (i.e., men can't find a doctor they like, men don't trust doctors, etc), these are three of the more common reasons men aren't engaged in their healthcare. Thankfully there are many global men's health initiatives (i.e., Movember for example) helping to simply get the conversation started. Perhaps once we get the conversation started, we can then begin to close the current disparities in men's healthcare.
--Dr. David W. Hall, M.D. is founder of My Urology Doc (aka MUD) and is the primary content crafter for all of it's social media outlets. Utilizing MUD, he is currently helping 5 K followers in over 75 countries make the choice to get involved in their urologic healthcare. He is working on various healthcare applications, collaborating with health innovators, and actively speaking to various groups on diverse topics. He is also continuing to provide the best urology care possible in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. Follow him on twitter at @myurologydoc.