WHY DO GUYS REFUSE TO SEE A DOCTOR?

Alright, let’s get this out of the way right quick –

DISCLAIMER:  I based this post on my own, and other people’s, anecdotal experiences.  Even though it’s directed at men, it’s not just them refusing to get treatment (all you women – we see you too!).  I want to hear your thoughts if you’ve seen this behavior, no matter who you are.

I wish it were obvious, but to state it outright: I don’t believe that all men avoid doctors.  #NotAllMen 🙄


Bit of backstory

I’m the primary caregiver for my 79-year-old father.  He has cardiac, diabetic, and weight- and age-related issues. 

He’ll be the first to admit – he’s a stubborn S.o.B.  Only he won’t censor it with an acronym.  Getting him to a doctor usually means a knock-down-drag-out fight.  He almost left the hospital after suffering a heart attack, claiming they were taking too long.

But, I noticed this trait long before I had to browbeat Dad into getting medical treatment.  I had a few beaus in my younger days.  It seemed that the (mostly) guys wouldn’t acknowledge their health.  They’d whine sometimes, or get so sick they’d have to talk to someone.  Otherwise, it didn’t seem to exist.

The question started gnawing at me. Aside from insurance issues –

WHY DO GUYS REFUSE TO SEE A DOCTOR?!

And I’ve realized – I’m not alone.

WOMEN ARE BEGGING YOU – TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES!

I came across this post on George Takei’s website, called “Women Break Down The Things They Wish Men Would Stop Doing Immediately.”  It had stories from a Reddit thread asking women for their input.

More than 23,000 users up-voted the post that read, “If you have a medical issue[,] please get it sorted… Stop ignoring it!”  So many people had sad stories to share, they started multiple sub-threads. 

  • Man refused to see a doctor about his eyesight and nearly went blind. 
  • Dad ignored dental issues until an infection caused a seizure and he needed brain surgery.
  • Boyfriend and son was weeks away from dying of leukemia.
  • Dad refused to treat his “awful-looking” feet, nearly died of a fungal infection.
  • Loved ones suffered psychological crises for too long, and died too young.

There were some happy endings, but too few.  Post after post, it’s clear that we’re watching passive suicides.

Reading through the responses, I can only guess what causes this behavior.

WHY SOME MEN DON’T GO TO THE DOCTOR

I don’t claim to know what you’re thinking.  However, I’ve begged the fellas in my life to get various issues “looked at” by a professional.  My friends, and the women of Reddit, have noticed some of the same stumbling blocks. 

The first, for me, is admitting that I know some hard-headed people.  This, in itself, is a challenge coming up in these conversations.  We have to consider it when we talk about possible solutions.

I’ve also seen guys have fierce reactions to how being sick looks.  They don’t want others – even doctors – to see them a certain way.

  • Weak
  • Vulnerable
  • An invalid
  • Defenseless
  • Ignorant
  • Burden
  • Powerless
  • Loser

I mean, think about it – Even how we phrase it reeks of helplessness.  “Seeking,” “Treatment,” “Help,” “Patient.”

There is also a point where it becomes embarrassing, right?  Like, you put it off so long, it reaches a point where you’re ashamed of the procrastination?  🤔

GUYS: PLEASE TELL ME ALL THE WAYS I’M WRONG

I’m serious.  I have no idea what anyone is thinking.  None.  If I did, I wouldn’t be here.  I’d be doing magic shows in Las Vegas.

Plus, as we know, no two “men” have the same thought processes.  People have unique emotions and anxieties.  These play a big part when facing health issues. 

So, go on!  Correct me, please! 

For those who avoid going to the doctor:

  • What do you think, or feel, that keeps you from fortifying your health?  How can your loved ones support and motivate you?  Feel free to tell your story!

For those who have dealt with loved ones avoiding going to the doctor:

  • What have your loved ones said to you?  Have you noticed any common “themes?”  What has worked, and hasn’t worked, in getting them to seek treatment?  Feel free to tell your story!

I’d love to hear your opinions.  I really want to know what is stopping people from loving themselves enough to live, and to fight for that life. 

Because, until then, you’re making us watch you kill yourselves.  

Small changes can lead to new worlds. ❤

25 thoughts on “WHY DO GUYS REFUSE TO SEE A DOCTOR?

  1. Toxic masculinity. It kills in more ways than one. We teach men that seeking out any help is weak, and men aren’t allowed to be weak and vulnerable. It’s the same reason they won’t ask for directions, or they have to own “real” dogs. Anything else is seen as “unmanly” as if that’s an absolute distinction. I’m glad to see this being broken down because there are a lot of men out there suffering, and this is perpetuated into cycles of abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I don’t think you’re wrong. It really has to do with guys being “protectors,” “helpers,” etc. There was a part I cut from this post on the matter. It’s about optics, which is absolutely toxic masculinity.

      Oddly… I’ve found using it against people in these situations has been helpful. However, I don’t know if I can recommend it to everyone. Dad and I have a very unique relationship, allowing me to tell him, “Suck it up. We all have to do what we don’t wanna do, it’s called being an adult.” It kinda leans into the idea that it’s “unmanly” to get medical treatment.

      But, again… that conversation was after a lot of other failed attempts and screaming matches. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s really bad. Some people think there’s only one way to “be a man,” and don’t realize how arbitrary the concept really is especially considering how much it’s changed. I’m happy to see the younger generation fighting against this.

        I have what I call “adult time” which is when I pay my bills lol. I hate it but thankfully it’s usually short lived :p

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad that the upcoming generation is noticing and working against it.

        And sometimes when we call the older generations out on their childish behavior, it does fight against the toxic culture. But it’s a damned battle to the near-death, I swear!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • And we ALL have to do stuff we don’t like doing. I just don’t know why “I don’t want to” seems to be an acceptable reason for people to, y’know…. watch their limbs fall off before they’ll see a physician. 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

      • To be fair I CAN understand reluctance to see doctors when they’re not being helpful. I’m chronically ill and it is like having a second job finding one that will listen to you let alone know what the hell is wrong with you. It can be a bit of a crapshoot, and then of course there’s the ridiculous cost of healthcare in the US, which is just ugh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s all 100% true. Perhaps I should have made it clearer that a lot of responses to the original posts say, “lack of insurance” is why they don’t get help. Of course, in my situation (and others I’ve witnessed), I focused on the people who have insurance and fail to use it.

        True – finding a good doctor is still a crap-shoot. However, the growing popularity of Healthgrades and sites reviewing doctors can help. I think people who have good or bad experiences with doctors should rate them. I know there are some difficult doctors one can work with, but we can’t be afraid to “start over” with some new doc, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yup, we’re on the same page. There are a lot of factors, but when it comes down to having the ability, having a decent doctor or “easy” complaint, routine checkups et al, it is frustrating when people just plain refuse or ignore a glaring issue. I started getting mammograms early because my maternal grandmother died of breast cancer so I’m very aware of that, and I go every year. She didn’t even tell anyone until the lump was huge and it was way too late.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, darn it! Now you’ve made me feel guilty. I’ll admit, I’ve skipped my last three yearly mammograms. My doctor recommended getting one annually, starting 5 years before my nearest female relative had a breast cancer diagnosis.

        I don’t have the breast cancer gene, but my first cousin does. She and my Mom were diagnosed before age 40. So, I got one at 35. I should have gotten the others, but, frankly… I thought they were excessive. So, maybe I’m falling into the same trap I’m complaining about!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh wow, BEFORE 40 o.O My grandmother was in her sixties at least. That’s one of the questions they ask you: whether the relative was pre or post menopausal and she was post. I don’t know if I have the gene or not, but I suppose I could’ve gotten that done when I did 23 and Me, but opted not to oh well lol.

        I keep pushing the appointment back for various reasons, but I now have it on the 22nd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, my Mom was 38 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, then my first cousin was around that age too. You know what’s screwed up? Medicare didn’t want to cover it. The doctors said it was necessary, but the insurance refused to cover any mammograms before age 40.

        The insurance system is the real reason that so few people go to the damned doctor. We all know it.

        I’m really glad you got your appointment! I’m seeing my OB-GYN tomorrow, so I’ll probably get my ‘gram soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yup, don’t even get me started on how terrible the health “care” system is in the US. I think I lucked out because my insurance did. You should definitely be getting them if you’re around 30 or so since your mom was pre-menopausal. For my part my grandma was post so it’s less likely at where I am now, but I definitely want to keep up with it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know! I’ve realized, through the replies to this post I’ve received, that I should have made it clear I understand the insurance/health care issues. They really are a primary stumbling block. Even with insurance, those $15, $25+ copays and other deductibles add up. People don’t make enough to live.

        Yeah, well, I’m on Medicare for disability and they wouldn’t cover my first mammogram at 33-34. They would only cover them after 35 (I think?). My OB-GYN told me to get my first scan 5 years prior to the first family member diagnosed. My Mom was diagnosed at 37-38.

        Not only that, but I have had pre-cancerous lesions show up on Paps twice. They won’t cover a Pap smear more often than once every 5 years. Like… I could be dead by then! 😠

        So, IMO, when people desire “Medicare for All,” I think they ought to aim a little higher. 😏

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought of a few different men in my life when I read this. I agree with the toxic masculinity as well. I also think men on the heavier side likely feel judged, emasculated, and like failures. Which it shouldn’t be that way at all! I’ve been guilty of telling my husband that I feel fat recently, even though I know I’m not. I’m borderline overweight. I should be 130 pounds at my height, but I was that weight maybe 5-6 years ago now. My metabolism has slowed down, etc. The two people that I know who DON’T do this are my dad and my grandpa. It’s probably why Grandpa is 96! And Dad was able to get his prostate cancer treated early last year, and successfully. He gave blood for the first in a year back in February, and I know that felt good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad that your Dad and Grandpa are on top of their medical care!

      I agree completely about overweight people getting harsher doctor interactions, though. My Dad is heavy, so am I (up and down). I’ve read articles compiling negative interactions between doctors and heavier patients. It’s infuriating. In most cases, I find that standing up to the doctors assumptions and being prepared to “fire” them can counter some of the bias. But, it doesn’t always work, and it can be hard to disagree with a so-called “expert.” 😕

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely. One of my college friends (female) was diagnosed with an ED last year. Through tons of therapy and support, she is doing much better. After months of searching, she finally found a PCP that honors her wishes of not being weighed at appointments. It’s astounding how difficult it is for patients to be heard, and for doctors and “experts” to sit and listen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I feel like I know how your friend feels. I had some disordered eating in college. A doctor said something very hurtful to me during my healing process. It’s important to remember that patients are in charge of the show, to a degree. Older doctors aren’t a fan of this, but I think younger doctors are more inclined to respect their patients.

        Liked by 1 person

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