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Healthy You

Why Men Don’t Go to the Doctor

Monday, November 05, 2018 7:21 AM

Your annual physical helps keep you healthy, helps monitor your health over time, and prevents illnesses like heart attacks and cancer. Even though there are great benefits to going to the doctor, many men do not. Why?


We asked several men why they don’t go to the doctor on an annual basis. We then asked Jonathan Seyfert, MD, Family Medicine at NorthShore, to respond to their comments.

“I don’t like the prostate exam. It’s uncomfortable and painful.”

Routine prostate exams for cancer screening are not required for every annual physical. You can talk to your doctor to see if this exam is necessary. Discussing cancer screening and prevention is a part of every annual physical.

Men don’t want to find out there’s something wrong. We don’t want to know there’s a weakness.”

Depending on your genetics, medical issues can be expected as part of the aging process. Identifying and addressing any medical issues will only make you stronger and preserve your health in the long term.

“I’m familiar with my own body and recognize if something changes from the norm.  If there’s a problem I’ll research it myself and if it doesn’t go away or I can’t fix it myself with diet, exercise and basic first aid, then I’ll go to the doctor.”

Medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are called the “silent killers.” The best way to identify them is through an annual physical with your doctor. Catching these conditions early is going to pay off in a big way down the road.

“A lot of men have a habit of skipping their annual physical in their 20s and 30s. Unless something’s wrong, it’s just not in their thinking that they should be doing this regularly. It seems like at this age women have more reasons to make this a part of their routine.”

It’s true that for many men the 20s and 30s are some of the healthiest decades of their lives. Take these years to set yourself up for success as you enter the 40s and 50s. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep and annual physicals with your doctor are all key components. Think of your health like your car - even when it is new, shiny and running fine, it is important to take it in for service to prevent damage down the road.

“I don’t like hospitals or big complexes because they are hard to navigate and I run into sick people everywhere.”

Many primary care offices where you can go for an annual physical are located outside of a large hospital. NorthShore has over 100 medical group offices throughout the Chicagoland area to ensure there is a convenient location near your home or work.

 “It’s hard finding a doctor because they are hard to contact, I feel I never get a direct line for scheduling. And you have to call during business hours, and I don’t want to step away from my work.”

At NorthShore our doctors do everything we can to make sure you have easy access to care. The secure online website and smartphone app called NorthShoreConnect allows you to safely send messages directly to your primary care office, schedule appointments and receive results. Additionally, I and many other primary care doctors have hours ranging from 7 AM to 8 PM to accommodate different schedules with work and family.

 “I never know if they accept my insurance. I’ll go to make an appointment and 7 doctors later, one finally does.”

NorthShore accepts most major insurance. Any of our front desk staff can speak with you on the phone before an appointment and ensure you are scheduled with a doctor that accepts your insurance.

 “It is hard finding good doctors to trust, your health is in their hands and you can’t determine that off a Google review, but you also don’t get the opportunity to meet them beforehand.”

NorthShore has video interviews with most primary care doctors in their Find a Doc profile so you can get a chance to hear their philosophy on medicine before the appointment.