Women’s influential role in men’s health
A good woman can be a man’s best investment for their health and well-being. But when men avoid keeping yearly physicals or seeing their doctor for health concerns, I and other doctors, depend on women’s influential ways convincing men to stop neglecting their health.
First, I want women to understand men’s natural tendency of putting their health last. Life gets busy. There are bills to pay, food to put on the table, and not enough time to think about themselves. But no one should ever take their health for granted. Yet, men are doing just that. Serious medical conditions can strike at any age but when caught early, there’s a much greater chance of beating them back.
Women are health care advocates
Why do I rely on women to get men to their doctor? Women are much more proactive regarding their health and well-being understanding that good health doesn’t just happen. It requires taking personal responsibility for your own life—unless you’re that uniquely and genetically blessed soul. This includes going to annual checkups, staying up to date on immunizations, seeing a doctor when sick, and living a healthy lifestyle.
Unlike most men, women rarely hesitate to seek regular medical care when they feel it’s needed, whether for a minor ache or pain or a major health issue. However, men do come to see me for a medical issue they care about. Issues that, if not resolved—and quickly—can convert even the most die-hard doctor avoider. What are these issues? Any sort of problem involving prostate and sexual functioning. That’s when I become their go-to guy, helping resuscitate their sex life or protecting and preserving the prostate’s purpose.
Why every man needs a urologist?
This brings up an important point. Every man should have a urologist, and women need to remind them of that. At some point, most men will experience erectile dysfunction, painful urination, or some other medical issue involving the male urinary or reproductive system. Believe me, a man who can’t get it up for a sexual rendezvous or is waking up three times a night to pee will beg to be taken to a urologist.
For any women reading, this is where you and I can take advantage of the situation. Once you get them in the door, I can not only address urinary issues or sexual problems but also talk about other health problems often associated with their symptoms. For instance, erectile dysfunction can point to type 2 diabetes, while clogged arteries can indicate heart disease. Even though medical issues such as diabetes or heart disease are not my specialties, I can help arrange appointments with experts in these fields of medicine to assess those conditions thoroughly. By identifying such needs for further evaluation, we can get your man the care and medical attention he deserves but just doesn’t know it yet.
The concept of using urologists to assess broader health concerns for men is gaining acceptance. If a woman can’t get her guy to see his primary care physician, but if he will go to a urologist when his love life is falling apart due to erectile issues or lack of libido, that’s even better. Improving his health through addressing his erection concerns may be the only way to get him to make better lifestyle choices.
How to talk to a man about health care
So, women, if a man you love is neglecting a chronic illness, has been ignoring worrisome symptoms, or hasn’t had an annual checkup in years, here are pointers you can use to begin the conversation about taking care of his health:
- Avoid making him feel guilty. Let me repeat—do not make your man feel guilty. This is a big mistake. Guilt trips rarely motivate and are likely to make your man feel defensive. Besides, using shame to bring him to a doctor is not a great tactic for building a good relationship with his healthcare provider.
- Avoid being controlling or nagging. Ultimatums, nagging, or threats are another turn-off for men. This approach can backfire due to complete opposition. Also, during a doctor’s visit, avoid speaking for him. Building trust with his doctor is key to an effective doctor-patient relationship. This is his visit; let him talk with his doctor to build that trust and help allay his fears.
- Remind him how much he means to you. Remember, honey attracts more flies than vinegar. Start the conversation by telling your man what your relationship with him means to you, and then lead into how you’ve been concerned about his health. Keep it positive with an emphasis on how special he is in your life. It also helps to use “I” rather than “you” statements, such as, “I’m concerned about your health,” instead of “You are not taking good care of yourself.”
- Make it easy. Schedule an appointment with a doctor you trust and who you think is a good fit. Make the time convenient for him, and go with him if he wants.
- Be prepared. Help him develop a list of questions he wants answered, any symptoms he is experiencing, and his medical history, including his family’s medical history. Remind him to be honest with the doctor about his lifestyle habits, such as diet, exercise, sleep, smoking (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, marijuana), and consuming alcohol.
- Remind him why he should go. Sometimes men are reluctant to see a doctor because they don’t want to take time away from their job. Remind him, though, that keeping healthy should be a top priority. Many health conditions are “silent”—high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and prostate problems often have few if any symptoms but do require treatment. Tell your man that investing in his health by establishing a good relationship with a trusted and experienced primary care physician during his twenties, thirties, and beyond will be the most important and life-changing investment he will make. And that investment will have a huge payoff of good health, less chronic pain, less medication use, fewer doctor visits and hospitalization stays (and therefore less time off work in the long run), a longer life, and—oh, yes—great sex.
- Use common sense. Remind your man that delaying seeing a doctor for pain or other symptoms that indicate an advanced stage of a disease likely will make treating it more difficult, time-consuming, and costly. This is where being prudent, practical, and logical can win him over to make the right decisions.
Together, let’s do this. Let’s get your man into the doctor’s office, taking care of him, and experiencing the best health he’s had in years.