In the United States, men live 5 years less than their female counterparts and are 50% less likely to go to the doctor for an acute medical condition than women. But why is that? How do we get men to visit the doctor’s office more regularly? We sat down with Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, a urologist and robotic surgeon at Orlando Health, on a recent podcast episode to answer those questions and cover the complexities of why men aren’t going to the doctor as often as women, and what we can do to encourage the men in our lives to go in for a visit.
The major reason why men statistically don’t go in for a doctor’s visit as often is, as Dr. Brahmbhatt puts it, “men really don't have as many opportunities as women do to engage healthcare”. Women are encouraged to, and in many cases, have to, engage with healthcare professionals during all stages of their lives. Meanwhile, there isn’t as much of a focus on men visiting the doctor and engaging with our healthcare system as there is for women. Also, it can be difficult for men to discuss their own health in general, which is another factor as to why males go to the doctor’s office less than females.
Dr. Brahmbhatt also noted that it can be easy for men to focus more on their individual symptoms, rather than the entire body and potential medical conditions. With companies like Roman and Hims opening up access to topics, treatments, and prescriptions that are considered more taboo, it also can encourage men to not visit the doctor when they should and take the “easy ways out” as Dr. B puts it. Instead of focusing on the entire body, buying a prescription from that kind of company only focuses on a single symptom. This can cause more problems down the road because a symptom that can be isolated and fixed by a prescription bought from a company can actually point to a larger underlying medical condition. Because of this, it’s best to go to the doctor when symptoms arise.
Dr. Brahmbhatt says that at around the age of 20, men should start seeing a primary care doctor so they can get the “manual” for their health. This “manual” will be able to inform you of how often you should be going to the doctor, what checkup to go in for, etc. Encouraging a man in your life, whether it’s a brother, cousin, husband, partner, or friend, to make that appointment can make all the difference and help break the stigma around men’s health. A little support goes a long way when it comes to health and appointments!
For more information about topics surrounding men’s health, listen to the first part of our two-part podcast series with Dr. B here!