Study finds men do consult GPs

New research by the Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing (FCMHW) and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute has found that contrary to popular belief, men do go to the doctor.

The study published in the American Journal of Men’s Health assessed around 2000 men over the age of 35.

FCMHW Director, Professor Gary Wittert, who led the study with Professor Shu Kay Ng at Griffith University says men deserve more credit for seeking help for health issues.

“Our findings show men regularly visit their GP and are conscientious about their health,” says Professor Wittert.

“We see that the greater number of chronic health conditions that men have, the more frequently they visit their GP.”

The study showed the frequency of GP visits increased significantly when one of the chronic conditions was paired with depression or anxiety. Men who fit into that category went to the doctor more than 10 times per year.

Professor Wittert says the work demonstrates that health care practitioners must consider the mental health status of men when they present with chronic physical conditions and not assume their symptoms are purely the result of physical disorders.

“The evidence suggests that when depression and anxiety go undetected in those living with chronic physical diseases, it makes the experience of those chronic diseases worse for the individual,”  he says.

“Reducing the disproportionate burden of multiple chronic diseases among men requires looking at the full picture, especially in men who are frequent users of healthcare.”