Clichés are often clichés for a reason. Like the old adage, for example, that ‘men never go to the doctor’.
Research over the last few years shows that, on average, men visit the pharmacy four times a year compared with 18 times for women, and go to their GP just half as often as women.
It’s hardly surprising then, that 100,000 men a year die prematurely and that, over a lifetime, men tend to live two hours less per day than women.
Perhaps it’s time for them - or for their cajoling wives, daughters, mums and sisters - to read the top five reasons why men really must man-up and to the doctors…
At the heart of men’s health problems is the heart.
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) generally affects more men than women under 50 years old, nearly one in six men compared to one in 10 women will die from coronary heart disease, and around 50,000 men (against 32,000 women) in England suffer a heart attack every year.
Any man suffering symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness or dizziness should get checked out as soon as possible.
Anyone who is also overweight, smokes or takes little exercise should be additionally concerned.
Stress and depression
Men are twice as likely as women to suffer from work-related stress. Stress on its own has a huge impact on health, and add to this how men tend to shut off their feelings, and it’s a ticking time bomb.
Certainly, figures show that almost three quarters of people who kill themselves are men and men are three times more likely than women to become dependent on alcohol.
If someone you know is showing signs of anxiety or depression – for example, becoming angry, withdrawn, having trouble sleeping – then please urge them to talk to you, to see their GP, or to contact mental health charities like Mind.
Prostate cancer kills one man every hour. Yes, that’s right, one an hour.
And yet Prostate Cancer UK recently revealed as many as four out of five men at higher than average risk of prostate cancer are unaware they’re in danger. Most would struggle to recognise the symptoms, meaning that by the time diagnosis comes, it’s often too late.
So if you’re experiencing problems passing urine, such as pain or burning, or frequently waking up in the night to pee, get to your GP immediately.
All the other cancers
Sadly, it’s not only prostate cancer that is a growing threat to men. Recent figures show men are almost three times more likely than women to get oesophageal cancer, and incidents of male lung, bowel, and bladder cancers are also soaring.
Even breast cancer, normally only associated with women, sees around 350-400 new cases diagnosed in men in the UK every year.
While the symptoms for each cancer vary hugely, some symptoms tend to be common for all, so please be aware of any unusual fatigue, sudden weight loss or gain and pain in one specific area.
Women often take the hit if a couple is struggling to conceive, but it isn’t only their problem. Overheating, obesity, alcohol consumption and smoking are all factors of modern life that are contributing to why up to a fifth of young men today have a low sperm count.
“Male fertility is an area which has been greatly overlooked over the last few years. It’s important for men to think about their fertility – not just their partner’s – when planning a family,” says Professor Ellis Downes, consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Ask your doctor to investigate what might be the cause so you can identify potential solutions. Alternatively, you could try a new at-home conception aid, The Stork, if that saves some initial blushes.