Men’s Health Month: 5 ways you can help his health

  • How this yearly June event builds awareness about preventable health problems in men
  • There’s a big reason why men are getting COVID-19 more often than women
  • Five ways to help him take a more active role in his health

[3 MIN READ] 

American philosopher Robert M. Hutchins once said, “Whenever I feel like exercising, I lie down until the feeling passes.” 

Does that remind you of any of the men in your life? 

While a little humor is a good thing, men’s health and wellbeing are no laughing matter. That’s where Men’s Health Month comes in. Like Movember, June is a month to raise awareness of preventable health problems for men. It also encourages early disease detection and treatment among both men and boys. 

We’ve compiled some tips to help you encourage the husbands, fathers, brothers, sons and friends in your life to seek regular health advice, get necessary screenings and make lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise or adopting a more nutritious diet. After all, we don’t want them to “lie down” on the job of caring for their health.

Men’s health and COVID-19

While COVID-19 research is in its nascency, there have been a few studies supporting statistics that show men have a higher rate than women of getting the virus. Many factors are being studied, including hormones, differences in immunity, smoking and others. 

But research has shown that men are more reluctant than women to see a doctor. That may play a part in why men’s health is more impacted by COVID-19 and other health problems. If men aren’t seeking treatment as soon as they feel sick, it’s more likely to take a higher toll on their health. 

Because of social or cultural views about masculinity, or simply because they won’t take the time, men often put their health last and are less willing to go to doctors.

5 ways you can help the men in your life stay healthy

You probably can’t strap your partner, friend or teenage son into the car and drive him to the doctor — after all, you can only do so much. But what you can do is help him take a more active role in his own health. Here’s how.

1. Look out for symptoms

You can help by looking for the signs of common health problems that affect men. Here are several symptoms to be on the lookout for:

  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits. For instance, if he gets up several times a night to go to the bathroom, it could be a sign of an enlarged prostate. 
  • Depression. A man may be reluctant to ask for help and try to hide his depression. That means you might spot these symptoms sooner than he does:  
    • Becoming overly anxious
    • Having trouble sleeping
    • Complaining about feeling sad, helpless or empty
    • Engaging in risky or reckless behavior
    • Losing interest in hobbies or sex
  • Other serious health problems. These could be a variety of symptoms that men often allow to fly under the radar, including:  
    • Changes in urine or stool color
    • Persistent backaches
    • Unusual lumps
    • Obvious changes in warts or moles
    • Bleeding that won’t stop
    • Recurrent chest pains or headaches
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Extreme fatigue 

2. Encourage regular checkups.

While some symptoms are fairly easy to notice, many aren’t. That’s why regular checkups with a primary care doctor are so important. It’s the best way to detect diseases, such as diabetes and prostate cancer, that can devastate a man’s health. And although he may be wondering if it’s safe to get care during COVID-19, rest assured Providence is implementing 7 safety steps to keep all patients safe and healthy while they get the care they need. Try to get him to join a family health schedule and make it a competition to see who can schedule and complete all of the necessary appointments or screenings. If he knows the rest of the family is getting physicals at the same time every year, he may be willing to join in, especially if there’s an incentive.

3. Do DIY checkups

Along with regular doctor visits, doing consistent self-checks are a vital, easy way to protect his health and yours, too. Ask your partner to help check you for unusual moles and do the same for him. Remind him to do a self-exam for testicular cancer, too.

4. Make it convenient

Help him look for doctors who have evening or weekend office hours or offer virtual care or telehealth. Locating an office close to work or school can help with convenience too. Try making healthcare appointments for the two of you for the same day, time and place, and then reward yourselves by doing something fun afterward. Another idea is to send him a Lyft or Uber to take him to his appointments. 

5. Pair up to work out

A few days a week, do an exercise that you both enjoy together. It could be walking, swimming, biking or even ballroom dancing. Let him know that you need his support (even though it’s helping him, too). Remind him that when you’re both healthy, you’ll both enjoy better moods, stronger immune systems and more stamina for work, school or home responsibilities. 

Celebrate Men’s Health Month together

You can also inspire the man in your life to eat a high-fiber, low-fat diet and quit smoking. Most importantly, make sure he knows that the best way to acknowledge this special month is to schedule a doctor’s appointment for a complete checkup. It’s the greatest gift you can give each other.

Find a doctor

Providence doctors can help all the men in your life improve or maintain their health. Search in our provider directory for a primary care doctor.

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In these uncertain times it’s important to remember that if you need care don’t delay. Learn more about your care options at Providence.

Regular checkups and screenings can improve a man’s health and extend his life. Share the ways you’re helping the men in your life recognize Men’s Health Month @psjh. #MensHealthMonth     

Related resources:

7 safety steps

Men’s Health Month

The doctor’s advice most often ignored by patients

Presenting Characteristics, Comorbidities, and Outcomes Among 5700 Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19 in the New York City Area

Masculinity impediments: Internalized masculinity contributes to healthcare avoidance in men and women

Don't delay care if you need care

Taking care of your emotional health

Get it checked

Men should know signs of testicular cancer

Men can pedal without fretting about performance

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Women's Health team is committed to providing useful and actionable insights, tips and advice to ensure women of all types can live their healthiest lives.

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