11 Things Doctors Actually Wish Men Knew News

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If you’re the type of guy that very rarely goes to
the doctor, you’re not alone.

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Most of the guys I’ve spoken to seem to share this
innate avoidance of healthcare. Shit, I’m a health
editor and even I haven’t been to the doctor this
year — it’s gonna happen, though, I swear! Maybe
you haven’t gone because you feel young and healthy
(like I do), so why bother? Or maybe you’re just
busy or broke. Maybe you don’t like feeling
vulnerable, so getting your body checked out by a
stranger sounds like the actual worst.

There are so many reasons you might skip a yearly
checkup, but the truth is that as you get older, an
annual physical becomes even more important. To
tell us why, BuzzFeed Health spoke to Ana Fadich,
MPH, vice president of the Men’s Health
Network, and
Dr. Steven Lamm, director of the Preston Robert
Tisch Center for Men’s Health at NYU Langone
Medical Center.

Here’s what they wish men knew about going to the

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1. Your
doctor isn’t there to judge you or give you bad

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A good doctor will encourage you and help build you
up so that you can live a healthier life, Lamm
says. Also — they’re human — so they’re not going
to shame you for having fast food or drinking; they
just want to give you the tools to be as healthy as

“We want to upgrade you so that you can function at
a much higher level,” he says, noting that being in
optimal health will empower you in a variety of
ways. “You’ll be more productive at work, you’ll
have more energy, your libido will be dramatically
increased, your stamina will be increased.”

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2. Feeling
like you’re in perfect health is great! But you
should still get a professional opinion every now
and then.

Feeling like you're in perfect health is great! But you should still get a professional opinion every now and then.

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The gym may be your second home, you may love
healthy food, and you may feel like fuckin’ Iron
Man, but you might still have underlying health
issues that have gone unchecked for too long,
Fadich says.

“You don’t know what’s going on in your blood
vessels,” she says. “You could have an accumulation
of plaque that could lead to a heart attack or
stroke. … You could have high cholesterol and not
know about it. There are people who are vegan who
have high cholesterol because it runs in their

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3. Plus,
knowing your health baseline will make it way
easier to tackle whatever health issue might come
up in the future.

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Consistently visiting your doc every year will give
them a baseline of your health and it’ll help them
track your progress. “I want you to come to me once
a year so that I can tell you, in the past year,
this is what we have learned,” Lamm says. From
there, he says your doctor can provide you with
advice on how to improve your health even more, or
keep it ~just right~ if you’re already there.

On the flip side, having your medical history on
file also gives your doctor a better understanding
of your overall health status when something looks
out of the ordinary, Fadich says.

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4. Don’t wait
until something is awful and unbearable before
coming in.

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So it just occasionally burns when you pee,
but that’ll probably go away right? Yeah, you
should just go to the doctor. If it ends up
actually being something and you put off treatment,
you’re putting yourself at risk for more serious
health complications. For instance, untreated STIs
can lead to reproductive issues, says Fadich.

Likewise, learning that you have a problem early on
will give you a head start on improving your health
before it reaches an irreversible level, Lamm says.
So if you discover that you have abnormal
cholesterol or
blood pressure levels — which are both risk
factors for diabetes and heart disease — your
doctor could recommend dietary or fitness changes
that put you back on the right track, Fadich says.

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5. FYI: Boner
issues are sometimes a sign of something else.

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Erectile dysfunction might be what you actually
notice, but it’s often a sign of an underlying
issue. “I’m amazed anybody can get an erection in
the first place,” Lamm says, “because it’s such a
complicated system that requires healthy blood
vessels, healthy nerves, a healthy amount of
hormones, and a healthy mental state.”

If any of these systems are compromised — say, from
stress or from an arterial blockage somewhere else
in the body — that can lead to erectile
dysfunction, Fadich says. “So I always tell men who
have a complaint about erectile dysfunction to go
to their doctors to have their blood work done. See
if there’s something else going on,” she says.

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6. And just
generally feeling ~off~ is a perfectly legit reason
to go to the doctor.

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Fatigue, shortness of breath, sudden weight gain or
weight loss, a new sunspot appearing, migraines
that suddenly get worse — anything that just
doesn’t feel normal could be a sign of something
else going on in your body, says Lamm and Fadich.

“Normal is different for everybody, but if you go
to the doctor now and tell them the symptoms, then
they can diagnose you and figure out what it is.

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7. Getting
tested for STIs isn’t something you just do once.

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You should ideally be getting tested every time you
have a new partner — before you have sex with them,
Fadich says. This way, if you were to come down
with something, you’d be able to trace it back to a
specific person, rather than calling the past five
or six people you had sex with and scaring the shit
out of everybody.

That said, men who
have sex with men are at a higher risk of HIV
and certain other STIs, so if that’s you, it’s a
good idea to keep a regular schedule with your
doctor. Here’s more info on
STI testing for anyone with a penis.

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8. Know when
you need to get screened for certain things.

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While you can search the US Preventive Services
Task Force
website for specific screening guidelines, you
should really talk to your doctor about when to get
checked, Fadich says. Certain factors can up your
risk of certain diseases at an earlier age.

For example, it’s
recommended that most men get their first
prostate cancer screening at age 50. But black men
and men with a first-degree relative who had
prostate cancer before 65 should get screened at
45. And if you have more than one first-degree
relative who had prostate cancer before 65, get
screened at 40.

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9. If you
smoke, you should definitely see a doctor at least
once a year.

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smoking rates declining in the US, men are
still more likely to smoke than women.

So, really, you should just stop smoking, but
because we’re not trying to be judgey here we’ll
give you a tip you can use. Fadich says people who
smoke should commit to seeing a doctor once a year
so that they can get their lungs tested.

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10. You
should probably tell your doctor if you’re
regularly exposed to some hazardous stuff on the

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Whether that’s stress, smoke, heights, the sun —
whatever. It may seem like a normal part of your
day-to-day life, but it could also up your risk of
certain things. And if you’re someone who doesn’t
go to the doctor regularly, you probably aren’t
even thinking about this.

In some cases, you may be at risk for occupational
illnesses, which are caused by exposure to
harmful chemicals or conditions that speed up their
development. So people who work in construction, at
chemical plants or other factories, or anywhere
where there’s exhaust spewing out into the air
could face a higher risk of certain diseases, and
therefore need to see their doctor regularly to
monitor for any changes, Fadich says.

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11. Mental
health conditions affect men, too.

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Roughly 30%
of men say they’ve experienced depression once
in their life — it just shows up in different ways,
causing irritability, sleep and concentration
problems, fatigue, and eating disorders, Lamm says.
Recognizing this is important because men are four
times more likely to commit suicide than women,
making it the
seventh leading cause of death among men.

“Men often don’t like to talk about their feelings
and emotions because they are told from a young age
that big boys don’t cry — man up,” Fadich says,
while also encouraging men to talk to their
doctors, a trusted family member, or a friend about
how they’re feeling and what they’re experiencing.
At the very least, it will help lessen the stress
associated with keeping this to yourself. At best,
it can help you get treatment and get back to being

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