British men continue to be in denial about their health, with nearly two-thirds admitting a problem would have to be “severe” before they sought help.
A poll of 1,874 adults aged 18-40 commissioned by men’s wellbeing platform Manual found 64% of men often buried their heads in the sand until they really had to seek help.
More than a third said they would rather ignore a physical problem altogether than see a health or medical professional about it. In fact, it took the average man four weeks to pluck up the courage to get a heath issue checked out.
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Dr Earim Chaudry, a GP and medical director at Manual, said: “These findings are consistent with my experiences in the surgery as a GP. A large proportion of patients are women and when men do come in, they usually find it hard to open up and have an honest conversation about their health.”
More than three quarters of men and women agreed there was a lot of pressure on men to “be a man” and appear tough rather than showing their emotions.
However, more positively, 84% in the poll carried out by OnePoll also felt the idea of masculinity was changing, with men being encouraged to open up and show how they really feel.
Almost half of men said they looked after their mental and physical health more today than they did five years ago.
Nevertheless, half reckoned it was still easier for women to talk about personal issues than it was for men. Three quarters of those believed this was because it seems more “acceptable” for women to open up.
The poll also addressed the sensitive issue of erectile dysfunction, finding that many men felt they would rather break up with their partner, shop anonymously on the dark web for a solution or avoid sex completely before seeking help. Despite this, half also admitted to being afraid of being unable to perform sexually.
“What I’ve also noticed is a shift in the age of men coming in to see me, those suffering from erectile dysfunction are becoming younger,” said Dr Chaudry.
“These are common conditions and so it’s imperative we destigmatise the conversation around these taboo topics so that men feel compelled to seek help.
“Creating a safe space online will help empower these men to take action sooner,” he added.
The study also concluded that six out of 10 adults felt that men opening up more would have a positive effect on empowering others to do the same.