Why do men avoid going to the doctor?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There are many reasons men go to the doctor less often than women, but a big reason is that they’ve been taught to “man up” their entire lives. Girls who fall down and start crying often get a little TLC until they feel better, whereas boys are told to suck it up and stop crying. That teaches them to do the same when it comes to all of their health problems. If they’ve got a new pain somewhere, their bowel movements have changed recently, or they've been feeling sad for a while, most men tell themselves to suck it up and keep it to themselves.

Unfortunately, that’s the worst way to deal with one's health. Cancer is a great example of why this is the case. The sooner doctors can find and attack cancer, the easier it is to destroy it once and for all. That means the strange lump that just appeared on a man's testicle should be mentioned to his doctor right away, rather than thinking that it’s probably nothing and giving it a few weeks to go away. By the time the man has been forced to see someone, it might be too late.

Mental illness in particular can be a difficult problem to tackle. The stigma associated with mental illness keeps those who suffer from it from speaking up. That stigma is multiplied among men, who tend to see mental illness as a weakness to be battled through alone rather than something they need help with.

This content originally appeared on
Men hassle with scheduled oil changes and smog certifications, but resist simple doctor’s visits. Indeed, many men haven’t seen a doctor in the past five years and don’t have a regular source of health care. They practice an “if it’s not broken why fix it” attitude toward their own bodies. And, it doesn’t pay off.
  • Men die seven years younger than women. That's at least in part due to their lack of attention to preventative care.
  • Men have a much higher risk of dying from heart attacks, cancer, accidents, complications of diabetes and stroke than do women.
Why do men avoid the doctor's office? Maybe doctors do not educate them. Or maybe it's that society pressures them to be or act tough, and not admit that they are weak or vulnerable.

Regardless of the explanation, if you're a man, you need to step up to the plate, and take care of the only vehicle you will have for life. If the thought of becoming a vintage collectible isn’t enough to inspire meticulous self-care, think about the people who love you and need you for the long haul. Drive to the doctor’s office and get a checkup. But don’t get caught speeding.

This content originally appeared on

Continue Learning about Men's Preventative Health & Wellness

Dad Power: How Your Health Influences Conception
Dad Power: How Your Health Influences Conception
Father’s Day comes and goes each year, but we think Dad Power should get daily attention. So, listen up, guys. Research will show you how influential ...
Read More
Are prostate supplements helpful?
Anthony L. Komaroff, MDAnthony L. Komaroff, MD
In general, the answer is no.Despite the number of vitamins and supplements that claim to promote pr...
More Answers
How is a prostate examination done?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
During a prostate exam, the doctor positions you either on your side or bent over and inserts his in...
More Answers
Tips to Help Men Prevent Osteoporosis
Tips to Help Men Prevent Osteoporosis

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.