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5 Tips for Getting the Man in Your Life to See a Doctor

Last updated: June 19, 2021

Struggling to convince your husband, father, or brother to go to the doctor?

You’re not alone.

According to a Cleveland Clinic survey, 72% of men admitted they’d rather do household chores than see a doctor.

Many factors could be at play. These include feelings of vulnerability that come with talking about one’s health, the misconception that seeking medical care is a sign of weakness, anxiety about what could be found, and a resistance to spending money.

The consequences of putting off routine care are serious. Men’s top health risks include heart disease, cancer, lung disease, stroke, and diabetes. Preventive care can help identify and manage risk factors for these conditions.

So, how do you convince the man in your life to see a doctor? Here are five ways you can encourage him to take a more proactive approach to health.

1. Be Supportive

If your loved one resists seeking care, listen and seek to understand the obstacle. If he’s worried about receiving bad news, remind him that preventive care improves his chances of addressing any issues early, treating them successfully, and avoiding long-term health consequences.

If the idea of spending money is holding him back, explain that well visits and screenings are far less expensive than the alternative.

“Prioritizing your health by scheduling annual checkups and screenings isn’t just advantageous for your quality of life, it’s good for your wallet, too,” says Dr. Amanda Kossak, a Family Medicine Physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Appleton North. “The earlier you identify an issue, the less likely you are to require costly treatments and specialty care.”

Above all, remind the man in your life that you love him. Taking care of his health is the best way to extend the years and quality of his life, not just for his own benefit, but for yours.

2. Help Him Get Started

For some men, making time for an appointment feels like a chore. Make it easier on him by offering to help with the basics:

  • Help him schedule an appointment, if needed
  • Compile a summary of his health history and list of potential questions to ask his provider
  • Assist in researching and choosing a primary care provider

“Establishing a relationship with a primary care provider can seem like a daunting task,” Dr. Kossak says. “But making that long-term connection ensures the patient receives a consistent and individualized level of care going forward.”

Once he completes an initial visit with his provider, your loved one likely will feel more confident about taking the initiative to schedule future appointments and keep up with regular screenings.

3. Let the Facts Do the Talking

Backing up your argument with facts can help your loved one understand the bigger picture. Look for credible research that shows him:

  • The risks of delaying preventive care and screenings, particularly since some conditions may be asymptomatic
  • The benefits of receiving regular care, especially in reducing the likelihood of developing an illness or injury
  • Common conditions and recommended screenings for his age group and health history

“More than anything, help him understand what is normal and expected among men his age,” Dr. Kossak says. “It’s important for him to realize he’s not alone and that preventive care is something every man should make time for.”

4. Start Slow

If your loved one remains reluctant, your best bet may be to ease him into the process. Here are a few suggestions for reducing the amount of pressure he may feel about visiting the doctor’s office:

  • Make him feel more comfortable by accompanying him to the appointment
  • Lead by example, scheduling your own annual visit for the same day and time
  • Increase his exposure/comfort level by having him take the kids to their appointments
  • Provide an incentive for going, such as a dinner at his favorite restaurant or tickets to a sporting event

“Some men refuse to see a doctor out of fear or embarrassment,” Dr. Kossak says. “Expecting too much, too quickly could exacerbate the issue and prolong his hesitation. Make sure he feels supported and that ultimately, the choice is his to make.”

5. Make it Easy and Convenient

A face-to-face visit with a primary care provider is the preferred method for receiving care, but it isn’t the only option. If the idea of setting foot in a doctor’s office is just too much to handle, suggest starting with a virtual visit. This may allow him to become more comfortable speaking to a doctor. It also provides an opportunity for him to ask some preliminary questions and can help him understand what to expect from an in-person wellness visit once he’s ready.

“The greater the time commitment and difficulty of going to the doctor, the lower the likelihood that most of us will make it a priority,” Dr. Kossak says. “Luckily, care options continue to grow more convenient and accessible, giving all of us — including the men in our lives — fewer reasons to be resistant.”

Need help encouraging a male loved one to receive appropriate care? Our online symptom checker, virtual appointments and on-the-go scheduling could be the answer.

Tags: Men’s Health preventive screenings well visits well-visits

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