Men don't talk about health, and that's a problem

Doctor patient

When it comes to preventive healthcare, a significant number of men have little to no interest--and, according to a survey from the Cleveland Clinic, most don’t even want to talk about their health.

To gauge their attitudes toward healthcare, the clinic surveyed 502 men aged 18 and over. Over half admitted they were unlikely to talk about their health with male friends, though topics such as injuries and weight do get some play. Very few discuss “below-the-belt” topics, with single-digit percentages noted for “problems in the bedroom” and “urinary issues.” More alarmingly, 10 percent of respondents did not know the definition of a urologist, a number that rose to 17 percent among millennials.

Hospitals saw an untapped opportunity in the men’s health market as early as 2014, and efforts have been made to address disparities in preventive care, as evidence of preventive care’s importance became clear. In the face of that, it’s hard to imagine why only 42 percent of men surveyed by Cleveland Clinic said they would go to the doctor if they believed they were seriously ill.

“With more health resources and services available for men today than ever before, there really is no excuse for men not to talk about their health and take control of it,” said Eric Klein, M.D., who chairs the Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute and helped conduct the study.

Women tend to prioritize health as a topic of conversation more highly than men do, according to a Newsweek article dealing with the study. The survey suggests there may be leverage available to spouses, partners or other family members, as one in five respondents indicated they ended up going to the doctor “to stop a loved one from nagging.”

The Cleveland Clinic aims to use its “MENtion It” campaign as a way of increasing education, distributing men’s health guidance and getting some of these conversations started.

- here’s the survey announcement
- read the Newsweek article