Why Men Don't Go to the Doctor

Aches and pains? "Just suck it up." Preventative care? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." When it comes to visiting the doctor, men seem to have an arsenal of excuses. According to experts, this is one of the reasons men generally live sicker and die younger than their female counterparts. What really keeps guys from going to the doctor? Read on as we reveal the top five reasons.

1. Procrastination.

A 2007 Harris Interactive poll found that 85 percent of men claim they seek medical attention when they're sick. But the vast majority, 92 percent, wait at least a few days to see if they feel better first. Unfortunately, nearly 30 percent of men take procrastination to the extreme, waiting "as long as possible" before seeking treatment.

2. Pride.

Blame it on the male ego or the fact that boys are socialized from an early age to "tough it out," but men are far less likely to admit their aches and pains than women. According to health experts, most guys—consciously or not—believe that remaining "strong and silent" indicates a lack of fear and a greater tolerance for pain.

3. Scheduling conflicts.

In a 2005 study by the U.K. nonprofit Men's Health Forum, 400 men were asked what one change would prompt them to go to the doctor more often. Their top answer was extending office hours so they could schedule their visits in the evenings or on weekends.

4. Embarrassment.

Although no one should feel ashamed about their health problems, many men find it difficult discussing their symptoms. Experts note that men may be especially embarrassed when it comes to mental-health issues, sexual difficulties, or conditions that affect the prostate or bowels.

5. Denial.

In the Harris poll, 7 percent of men reported that they didn't go the doctor because they were afraid of finding out something was wrong with them. Sadly, being in health denial can have tragic consequences, including a failure to detect diseases in their earliest and most treatable stages.