Fact: men experience disproportionately higher rates of sickness and premature deaths than females, however, their utilization of the preventive health care system lags – this is according to the American Journal of Men’s Health, July 2013. As a male naturopathic doctor, I hear and know of many reasons to avoid seeing your doctor. Of course, we can all agree to the prevention concept that regular health check-ups help to pick up on issues at an early state, to avoid such issues to fester and get worse and become more difficult to treat. However, as the above fact confirms, the application of this concept can be opposite to what occurs in reality. In the end, the decision to visit the doctor comes down to a few common ‘excuses’ which I will discuss.

Excuse #1 – No Time

Yes, this is the most common excuse for all matters, for health check-ups or cleaning out the garage. It is however an insufficient argument since health maintenance is fundamental to the full enjoyment of life. Without good health, how can you enjoy all your hard work to get to the stage in life you are at currently, or that you plan to enjoy in the future, such as in retirement? This excuse is really quite superficial; so, as a concerned friend, spouse, or family member, you need to dig deeper to understand what’s the real excuse (read on).

Excuse #2 – Fear

This can mean many things:

• fear of truly knowing what is behind your recurring symptoms (ie, fear of the unknown)

• fear of specific tests;

• fear of specific treatments; etc.

When it comes to fear, it can really hold you back from moving forward. To help someone who is scared means trying to show them that understanding of the health situation brings them closer to resolution. As for the fear of undergoing specific tests, often there are newer medical options that are now available; for instance, a potential alternative to a colonoscopy is swallowing a pill-sized camera which sends pictures that are recorded for physician viewing. In most cases, the fear is larger in your mind than it is in reality. Men are often surprised at how simple or easy a treatment or procedure can be.

Excuse #3 – Embarrassment

Despite doctors having ‘seen it all’ doesn’t mean it’s not still embarrassing to talk about certain topics. Men may have reservations about discussing topics such as about the prostate, erections, bladder control, or sexual and hormonal health. This is a normal situation, since we all have many areas that we individually find embarrassing to talk about. Speaking with friends of a similar age group can help, to understand how others are addressing similar scenarios.

Excuse #4 – Mistrust

It is understandable that there may be mistrust of the health care system or of a specific doctor. However, as with fears, there are solutions. For instance, consider changing doctors if it is an issue of personality conflict; or at least discuss the issue with the practitioner. Consider seeing a naturopathic doctor for an alternative perspective on your health, particularly if you are weary of common medical treatments for which you would like feasible alternatives. There are also medical specialists who can be a source of highly informed expertise and decades of experience. If you are feeling uneasy about pursuing formal health consultation, consider starting by reading more about the topic of your concern such as through books and reputable online websites.

Excuse #5 – Finances

Medical costs always seem to be rising, so the cost of seeing a doctor and/or of getting treatment is a legitimate concern. Keep in mind however that alternative resources may be available and appropriate levels of extended health insurance may also be worthwhile to explore. For men, cutting corners financially may seem like a logical answer when it comes to health, however, it would be useful to discuss this among family and friends to get support of various kinds before shrugging off your next doctors appointment.


About the Author

Rahim Habib is a registered naturopathic doctor with over 15 years of experience in general family practice. He has a special interest in helping patients comprehensively detoxifying their bodies for preventative and therapeutic benefit. He also has a special interest in children’s health, assisting kids in their learning and behavioural health with conditions such as ADHD, Autism spectrum, asthma, allergies and childhood obesity. He also helps adults with chronic conditions, such as thyroid disorders, infertility, inflammation, obesity, autoimmunity, dementia and cancer care. He is the director of the Four Seasons Naturopathic Clinic for Detoxification and Healing and can be reached at 905-597-7201 or