In general, men are notoriously poor at engaging in their health. This can be challenging for loved ones who worry about the men in their lives. It’s time to change the trend in men’s health.
The gap between men and women’s health
Unfortunately, it’s accurate to say men consider their health less than women. In the UK, men visit the GP half as much as women and are far less likely to seek support for any mental health issues. There are many conditions more prevalent in men than women. This could be attributed to better self-care amongst women. Men also have a lower life-expectancy. This week is Men’s Health Week 2019: the perfect time to get to the bottom of this issue.
Why does the gap exist?
It’s hard to say why there’s a difference in attitude. Any overarching theories rely on sweeping generalisations about gendered behaviour. Traditionally, men may be less inclined to talk about health issues, especially when mental health is involved. One theory suggests that men face pressure to act outwardly ‘masculine’. Rigid societal norms suggest that men mustn’t show a sensitive side, converse to women, who are expected to act more delicately. Thankfully, we’re challenging these expectations more widely in society, but men still feel the pressure to keep shtum about their troubles.
Another theory as to why men might not talk about their health is that they’re less inclined to take advice from others (at this point I’m just fuelling your domestic argument, don’t mind me).
Is there a macho man in your house?
If your partner shies away from the sensitive subject of his health, it’s hard to know how best to support him. It’s not easy being a concerned loved one. This week is Men’s Health Week, so we’re asking the men of PillTime their best advice for tackling men’s health.
Q:Why do you think men visit the doctor less than women?
Leighton: “Probably due to embarrassment. Men might be embarrassed to talk about these things, especially if their doctor is a woman. It shouldn’t be that way, but sometimes male pride gets in the way.”
Jordan: “Personally, I would always consider my health as bottom of the to-do list. Until it becomes urgent, I’d probably ignore any concerns. My advice would be to listen to your gut (sometimes literally). If you’re worried, you should go and speak to your doctor.
Q: What can worried partners do to help a man take care of his health?
Leighton: “The best thing a partner can do is be proactive about the situation. Book the appointment for him and remind him why it’s important to go. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the bigger picture and the long term benefits of taking care of our health.”
Matt: “Encourage a visit early. Hypocritically, I loathe going to the doctor. I feel like I’m wasting their time and I leave things I should get advice or help with until I am at Death’s door.
Case-in-point: I felt unwell, with a pain in my chest and was struggling to breathe in fully. After weeks of complaining, my wife got me an emergency appointment. I went to the appointment and the doctor had to arrange for me to be admitted to hospital. This might’ve been avoided if I’d seen my GP and received an antibiotic weeks before.”
Men’s Health Week: know your numbers
This year, Men’s Health Week seeks to inform men about their bodily stats and figures. Quite often, we’re unsure of what warning signs to look for, especially if we’re not seeing a doctor when we should be.
Men’s Health Forum has put together some great tools to help you take action. You can take a free quiz you can take by yourself or with a partner to find out how savvy you are on Men’s Health. We really recommend you take the quiz with a partner or even with colleagues. The answers certainly shocked us. They also offer a men’s health manual for purchase. Find out more here.