Primary Care Physician
Dr. Orrange received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She received her MD from the USC Keck School of…
The 10 REAL Reasons Men Don't Go to the Doctor
Posted in Alcoholism by Dr. Sharon Orrange on Aug 22, 2008

Men die at higher rates than women for all of the leading causes of death. We know the reasons men give when surveyed about why they avoid the doctor: "I don't have the time; it's too expensive, I'm afraid of what I might find out, I'm fine."  Here are the 10 reasons I think men stay away from the doctor.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

1) You are afraid we will put our finger in your butt. We will, especially if you are over 40 or have any complaints related to your bowel movements. Yes, you get a rectal exam after the age of 40 once a year for a feel of your prostate and so we can check your stool for microscopic blood that you can't see.

2) You are afraid we will examine your balls. We will, if you are 40 or younger. The peak age for testicular cancer is 18-40 so guidelines recommend you get a once a year testicular exam. Don't worry it won't hurt at all.

3) I feel FINE. I am glad you feel fine, but you can feel FINE with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugars. Your mother or wife won't feel fine when they are taking care of you after you have a stroke. Don't wait until you feel awful to come see us.

4) Going to the Doctor is a chick thing. Many of you feel this way but remember we live longer than you. If doctor visits are a chick thing well, then, nursing homes are a guy thing. You have to get over this. It's true the waiting room magazines are not for guys but when you come see us you will see that many of the medical assistants, doctors, phlebotomists and medical records folks are men. Real men go to doctors.

5) You are embarrassed to talk about what's going on with you. The bright red blood on the toilet paper when you wipe, the red itchy rash in your groin and on your feet, the problems you have at times getting a boner, getting up at night a few times to pee, we hear it all the time. You are not alone and our job is to show you how common this is and help fix it for you.

6) You don't find the office hours convenient. I get this and urge you to find a doctor who is accessible and can work around your office hours. Seriously though, the average guy watches 16 hours of TV a week, you can come for a 30 minute visit once a year and maybe a couple follow up visits as needed.

7) Going to the Doctor is giving in to your nagging wife. I had a patient who gave his wife for her 20th anniversary a copy of his Lipitor prescription, thinking this was a GIFT to his wife that he was taking care of his medical issues. It is true, women rightly so nag their dads, brothers and husbands to go to the doctor because they are tired of square dancing with other women at the assisted living facilities.

8) You don't realize we are here for prevention. You don't have to be sick to come see us and if you establish a relationship with us you have easy access when you do get sick. Once a year we can touch base with you to discuss age appropriate screening which we KNOW helps you stay well.

9) You don't have a relationship with a physician. If you are not attached to a regular physician by the age of 40 you are more likely to get in trouble. Unlike woman who need annual pap smears and contraception, you haven't had to see someone regularly from the age of 18-30. Find someone your friends use or enlist your partners help to find someone that might be a connection. You want someone accessible and younger physicians are much more likely to email so look until you find the right match.

10) You think we will pick on you for your habits. Drinking a 12 pack on the weekends, not exercising and eating bad foods, among other things. These things are not as uncommon as you might expect. We will put you on a long leash and let you pick and choose the habits to get rid of as needed.

See you soon!

Dr O.

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Displaying comments 73-54 of 73
About five or six years late to this game, but I have to say that this article is about the most insulting, flippant, and patronizing thing I have read concerning men and doctors. Remind me to to never seek health care from you.

I really think that if I were to point to one thing that makes me not want to see a doctor, it has to be the patronizing tone that most female health care professionals take when dealing with a reluctant male patient...namely me. There is really no excuse and I will get up and walk out on a doctor whose tone is like that.

I will say that I generally seek out female practitioners for two reasons, one functionally and the philosophically. The functional part is that women tend to have much smaller hands and fingers. The other is that do tend to not be quite as arrogant and condescending as men with MD attached to their name.
By duckdog  Dec 14, 2013
Your 10 real reasons men dont go to doctors may be accurate from your view point, but from mine it is the wait time in the waiting room. I have been kept waiting for up to 2 hours to see the doctor. Then a 5 minute question session like what are you here for. then writes out an Rx and sends you on your way, to make another appointment in 3 months.
Its the lack of concern for the patients morals and modesty. Its the parade down the hall to the tech to do intimate exams, with your backside hanging out for the whole world to see. This doesnt matter if it is a male or female doctor's office. It is having non medical personel observe exams. I think these are more why men dont go to the doctor.
By docburnout  Feb 08, 2013
Doctor I have never had much confidence in female doctors in diagnosing male problems... One reason men don't go the doctor is because if you have no problems they will find one or create one,(Or several) by treating you with preventive medications... To "prevent" a problem you may never have. I caved to the "Nagging Wife" and went to the doctor and it became an endless loop. He put me on blood pressure and cholesterol meds even though neither was really that high. Now you have to have routine blood work and blood pressure monitoring.
This now required me to come see him on a routine basis. I felt like this was a sales tactic to keep me coming back. I fought the side effects of blood pressure medication and statin drugs from the first day I was on them. (Only to have my doctor tell me he was sure my problems were not due to the medications he prescribed.) That doctor... Is why men don't go to the doctor.
You fooled me once.
By Norespect  Jun 02, 2012
Reasons I dont go to the doctor. 1) I dont trust medical people, they often do more harm than good and a lot of the treatments are unneccessary, just there to line the pockets of pharmaceutical companies. Also I have never had nor will I ever have any form of invasive procedure. I have a perfectly good immune system and dont see the need to pump myself full of chemical crap. I'll take my chances.
By yiyayiya  Mar 15, 2012
This article was pretty funny , im still not going to the doctor though . Its pretty simple alot of men like me just dont care , thats right we just do not care at all. When you get sick and die thats it your done . My wife , mother , sister , and friends can bug me all they want I just want to enjoy my life and take as good of care of myself as I can . I work hard , exersize , eat healthy , and am happy . I dont need a doctor telling me what to do , jamming pills down my throat, examining my blood to tell me a buch of crap I dont care about , so unless im in a car wreck and get taken to the hospital against my will I'm not going .
By kcing  Mar 18, 2011
You are a preventative "doctor", and so you sell "preventative" medicine. To write an article like this for your own selfish conflicts-of-interest (to elevate the illusion that your career and work does more good than it probably does, to increase your paycheck, etc) is one thing. To attach a sigma to those adults who chose not to undergo these screening measurements while asymptomatic ("Real men go to doctors") is sadistic, insensitive, and bully-like.

Please do not write an article like this ever again. And do not to trample over other adults who might suffer from phobias, anxieties, depression, past sexual abuses, etc., just to make yourself feel more powerful.

I am wondering why you became timid after your article here was posted on patient modesty and privacy advocacy blogs. Let's hear you acknowledge some of the more recent comments!
By bluegreen44  Feb 27, 2011
"Doctor" (Pffft) O:

Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps YOU personally hear patients give the excuses you listed more than other doctors because you have a very arrogant and insensitive personality?

"Doctor" or not, you should not be telling other adults what to do with their bodies. You go ahead and allow "doctors" to insert lubricated fingers into your vagina and anus, but that does not entitle you to force your beliefs onto other adults.
By bluegreen44  Feb 27, 2011
Ditto the colonoscopy that he's trying to get me to do again. I had that 9 years ago when I was 40 and had some minor bleeding. Yes it was painless but all that prep and the humiliation of such a procedure with a mixed gender staff...all to find one tiny (1 mm) benign polyp and a gastro acting like I was wasting his time. Then he says to come in every 3 years for another...sorry, it's not worth the humiliation to me. Never again. The PCP fills out a referral for it every year and it goes into my shredder when I get home. All for a procedure to find a problem that only a small percentage of people get -- and with a fair risk of perforation or other complications - and a 100% chance of embarrassment and humiliation - and a refusal of medical facilities to honor our requests for same gender care.
By dcinma  Nov 10, 2010
Wow...what an attitude! You "will" touch our privates? You "will" stick your finger up our butts?! Not without my consent you won't!!! How about "we should"?

In my case, you won't. I won't go to a female doctor for any kind of private care. I'm not much more comfortable with a male doctor, either, for anything there, so I am skipping it. I've had the DRE a couple times and I won't do it again. It's too humiliating and I'll take my chances, thank you. The odds of a problematic prostate cancer are slim, frankly, and it's not worth it to me to go through this. He won't be looking at my privates either, unless I have a problem and I ask him to check there.

Now they are bugging me to come in again for a "physical", including a DRE and privates exam...even though I did that a year ago! Forget it.
By dcinma  Nov 10, 2010
Wow...what an attitude! You "will" touch our privates? You "will" stick your finger up our butts?! Not without my consent you won't!!! How about "we should"?

In my case, you won't. I won't go to a female doctor for any kind of private care. I'm not much more comfortable with a male doctor, either, for anything there, so I am skipping it. I've had the DRE a couple times and I won't do it again. It's too humiliating and I'll take my chances, thank you. The odds of a problematic prostate cancer are slim, frankly, and it's not worth it to me to go through this. He won't be looking at my privates either, unless I have a problem and I ask him to check there.

Now they are bugging me to come in again for a "physical", including a DRE and privates exam...even though I did that a year ago! Forget it.
By dcinma  Nov 10, 2010
Demanding comments like "We will" for whatever part of an exam YOU think is necessary.

Ever hear about a little thing called "consent"? Did any one inform you that it must be voluntary?

Doctors like you make my skin crawl.
By Pisces1958  Aug 24, 2010
Dr. Orrange....I take offence at your statements. If a Male Doctor were to address the female population discussing their genatals using the crude venacular you used they would be lynched. There seems to be a double standard when it comes to Men in this society, their treated like jokes and objects of amusement. I saw this same thing on "The Doctors TV" show a few months back. It was discussing important tests that can save your life. Dr Lisa was to get a mamogram for breast health, leading up to the exam there was discussion of her mother dying of breast cancer and the importance of the exam. The showed the test being done and everyone in the audience was quiet and reserved respecting her dignity. When the male doctor had to undergo a prostate examination and have an ultrasound probe inserted in his rectum it was a completely different situation. Instead of it being a serious test demonstrating to men that it is a life saving procedure and something that isn't intimidating just the opposit occured. When the doctor was shown with a female doctor inserting the probe Dr Lisa had to get the comment in "Make sure you check his brains while down there" that sure made me want to run in and have my prostate checked. Would a Male doctor have said that to a woman during a pap smear? Check her brains wil down there on National television, I don't think so. Everyone would have been outrages. My point is, the female gender doesn't seem to have a clue why men don't want to go for medical check ups. Its not because they don't want too, they don't want to go and be humilated by a crew of 90% female staff. I can go to the male urologist of my choice but once he referes me for an ultrasound guess who performs that intimate procedure, you guessed it 90% of sonographers are female. Its a sea of Female practioners in medicine. When a woman goes for a mamogram does she expect to see a male mamographer? I've never heard of any, not sure any woman would go to one. When it was suggested that a Mens Health Clinic would help men seek out help, you missed the point, men want to go to a Male Doctor for their intimate care, followed up by a male sonographer, and if urodynamics are needed a male technician. They want their dignity protected just like women does. Why in the hospital system when a foley catheter has to be inserted in a male dosen't someone think to ask the man, "Would you prefer a male for this prodedure" women are given choice, we are no different. I love womem, I really do, but for intimaent care, I would prefer to have all males to feel comfortable, do this and I'll be getting regular check ups and so will probably another third of the male population. Please dont' mock or make fun of us, we are really the same as you, wanting to be treated with the same respect and dignity you ask for.
By lefteddie  Jul 13, 2009
Dr. Orange –
I wish I was near you because I’d like to meet you just to see if you are as big an idiot in real life as you appear here.
Part of the reason men stay away from doctors is mostly a total lack of respect for their privacy and the very little modesty accorded them by the medical community and lady you are a classic example. Would you write such a post about women NO! you’d be taken to woodshed by all.
You insensitive B###H!!!!
By Sniper  Jun 19, 2009
however your unwillingness to answer questions and comments says alot about your willingness to face the opposing view. It seems many providers have this God complex that they feel the need to express their opinion...but really don't want to hear the the other side and even take offense that someone would challenge their opinion. And we wonder why people have such poor views of Doctors peronalities....the fact that you would make these comments and then run off and not reply says alot...on top of that your sexist...gee can't imaging why men don't go to the doctor more
By doalan  May 23, 2009
Dr. Orange, I do not think your comments were intended to be demeaning or condecending. I read some of the other comments and blogs and you seem to be a very compassionate and caring provider. I do think however the comments are indicative of the caviler attitude we apply to mens health issues. We joke in a manner about them like we never would with womens health issues. One thing that should be on the list that isn't is 11. Health care for men has not been addressed as seriously by providers, it is acceptable to make jokes and off color comments about mens issues thereby giving the perception that it is not that serious......while I understand and even agree with many of the points, it ignores the question WHY do men feel like this....the above post is a good indication of at least part of the why
By doalan  May 04, 2009
I've wrote to the California state medical board regarding your
comments as I feel they are grossly unprofessional. I'm hopeful other organizations I've written to as well will most certainly agree and
beyond your satiric attempt realize the evidence of moral unfitness.
By PTismyname  May 04, 2009
All the years I had perfectly self-maintained health, I had a foreboding that if ever I saw a doctor then there would likely be some danger of misdiagnosis or misprognosis anyway. That became a self-fulfilling prophesy. I did the un-man thing and went to see a doctor for what was found to be a "superficial" blood clot that had no potential to do harm. Asprin, heat, and let it go away. Two months later it had escalated into a most acute pulmonary embolism. The men in the white coats were aghast when THEY asked ME how I got all those clots and I told them to just look up where I had been seen within their own health system two months before. Only with later research did I learn that everyone involved merely was parroting outdated advice, and that there are organizations such as NATT that are working behind the scenes to re-educate health professionals on this alarmingly common life-threatening matter.
By More2be  May 03, 2009
Just wanted to correct something - I left out an important part of the statistical information - Dr Angela Raffles (UK cancer screening expert) says that 1000 women need regular testing for 35 YEARS to save ONE woman from cervical cancer.
Puts it into persepctive, don't you think!
By Susanna51  May 02, 2009
I don't like a Dr using the word "balls" - it's disrespectful.
If a Dr said he/she wanted to examine my tits, I'd get up and leave...
I think doctors need to understand that patients are people and we're free to accept or decline these exams and tests.
Doctors in this country need to change their attitudes before they alienate the entire population.
We're not children to be scolded, if we don't do as you say...
It's clear to me that enormous dishonesty surrounds much of these preventative exams and tests. Doctors for their own reasons establish these tests as the Law (bad practice, money, fear of being sued) - and the individual is forgotten - it becomes you NEED, SHOULD or MUST have these tests and exams.
Have you ever heard of the term "informed consent"?
In fact, informed consent is required for these tests and exams.
I also wouldn't assume that all women present for annual smears and contraception - some of us are smart enough to do our reading and get to the truth. Sadly, you won't get the truth from a doctor - conflict of interest!
Look at some articles by Dr Angela Raffles - 1000 women need to be tested regularly for cervical cancer to save ONE woman! Annual screening and screening women under 25 or 30 means LOTS of women harmed by false positives - this is an unreliable test for an uncommon cancer - 95% of US women face biopses in her lifetime. (R.DeMay, "Should we abandon pap smear testing", Jnl of Cl. Pathology 2000) Of the 1% of women who'll get this cancer, 0.66% are helped by the Test and a third, 0.33% will have had one or more false negative test results. I didn't get this information from a Dr, but from a lawyer acting for a woman left with cervical stenosis after biopies for a false positive. This woman not surprsingly, was not asked whether she wished to participate in screening - it was "required" and she received no risk information.
In the UK, Doctors have been forced by the GMC to come clean with women. They must disclose their conflict of interest, the low chance of benefiting from the smear Test and the high chance of an incorrect test result and unnecessary biopsies, which can be harmful. (emotional distress, sexual problems, fertility issues, problems in pregnancy, incompetent cervix)
The Dr must obtain informed consent and respect a woman's decision to decline the Test.
In the States, the need for informed consent is ignored - and many women feel pushed into this unreliable testing. Pelvic exams are unnecessary in asymptomatic women and are not carried out in other countries. (apart from Germany)
If you want to stay healthy, do your reading and make informed decisions about your health. Following guidelines is far more likley to harm you, than to help you.
I think perhaps, men worked it out before we did...
I don't follow these guidelines, never have...I've done my reading and protect my health.
Many women feel trapped because doctors withhold birth control pills until they submit - report this beahviour and even consult an attorney - it's unethical and improper and won't stand up in court - the ONLY exam required for BCP's is a history and blood pressure check.
Men and women need to stand united against the scare campaigns and unethical and dishonest behaviour.
I can understand why many men avoid the doctor, just as I can understand why many women avoid the doctor.
By Susanna51  May 02, 2009
You might be surprised at how many men can be as embarrassed as the ladies about intimate exams/exposure...and how many feel that they are not treated with anywhere near dignity that the ladies are..
I agree with Doctor Sherman...well intentioned , but very condescending and demeaning....part of the real x number of reasons men don't go to doctors...So How about gender of provider(s) and male modesty as a reason?...It is a lot more common than you probably think.
By leemac  Apr 30, 2009

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