A man under a blanket on a couch hides from an alert on their phone from their doctor.

Why Men Avoid Going to the Doctor

Last updated: November 2022

Many men would rather do anything else than go visit their doctor for a routine health checkup. Compared to women, men frequently dodge the doctor.

A 2019 survey asked 1,174 men about their healthcare habits. According to a Cleveland Clinic survey, only half of them got regular checkups. And 72 percent said they would rather do household chores than go see their doctor.1,2

The gender difference

Women, on the other hand, are generally good about scheduling visits for regular checkups and other primary care. This may be because women enter the healthcare system at an earlier age than most men, starting with an annual visit to their gynecologist.2

Men report that, unless there is something wrong, they do not prioritize preventative screenings the way women do. In fact, many men are well into their 30s or 40s before they see a doctor regularly.2

Meanwhile, women continue to outlive men. This is true all around the world – no matter what healthcare is available.3

So, why do men avoid something so important?

Reasons why men avoid going to the doctor

Every person has personal reasons why they might put off a doctor’s visit. But studies show that men are a bit more stubborn when it comes to taking care of their health.1-3

Here are a handful of reasons men report for not going to the doctor:2

  • I don't have a doctor.
  • I don’t want bad news.
  • It’s a waste of time.
  • I don’t have time.
  • I feel uncomfortable sharing personal information with a doctor.

There is reason to believe that men avoid going to the doctor because of the “macho mentality” that pervades our society. The stigma against men showing “weakness” is a dangerous one when it comes to staying healthy. It can interfere with medical care and therapies that can protect men from health issues and treatable conditions.3

Honesty is the best policy

If you are uncomfortable sharing personal details about your health and medical history, you are not alone. In the same Cleveland Clinic survey, about 1 in 5 men admitted that they are not completely honest with their doctors. The survey cited the following reasons:1,2

  • Not wanting to feel judged by their doctor
  • Feeling embarrassed
  • Discomfort discussing certain issues
  • Not wanting to change their diet or lifestyle habits
  • Not ready to face the truth of their health concerns

Your doctor is here to help you. They see all walks of life every day and are not here to judge.

Telling a doctor a health concern you have or that something does not feel right is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it shows courage and strength to acknowledge that you need their medical expertise and guidance.

A guide to preventative screenings

Think of preventative screenings like a tune-up for your car. Every car needs its oil changed and tires rotated regularly. The same goes for you and your health. Do not wait until something is seriously wrong before seeing a doctor.2

It can be helpful – for both men and women – to have a guide to preventative screenings. Here are some health screenings that all men should make time for throughout their lives:4

  • Annual physical and routine blood test: Beginning in your 20s or 30s, find a primary care doctor you like and trust to see once a year for an annual physical and blood test. Then you can also go to them as needed with other concerns.
  • Colonoscopy: This is a preventative screening that checks for signs of colon cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends everyone get screened beginning at age 45.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test: This checks for signs of prostate cancer. Experts recommend getting this test done once a year beginning at age 55, or earlier if you have a family history of prostate cancer.
  • Skin cancer screening: Get this screening once a year, beginning in your 30s or 40s. If you spend a lot of time outdoors or have a family history of skin cancer, consider going earlier.
  • Cardiology screening: Get this screening once a year, beginning in your 40s or 50s. Earlier if you have a family history of heart disease.

Consider your future self

If going to the doctor still makes you cringe, consider your future self. How do you want to spend your later years? If that does not provide enough motivation, consider your family and loved ones. By prioritizing your health, you ensure that you can live a longer life with the ones you love.

Telehealth visits now make it easier than ever to meet your preventative healthcare needs. Make an appointment with a primary care doctor today.

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