Men’s Health Month: Making Men Feel Comfortable in Doc’s Office

Developing a relationship with a primary care physician can be a way to get men into the doctor's office for regular checkups. Photo Credit: Jesper Aggergaard/Unsplash

Eric Tegethoff,

Public News Service – OR

PORTLAND, Ore. — It’s Men’s Health Month, and doctors have a request for men: Get a checkup from your primary care physician.

Doctor Safina Koreishi is a family medicine physician and medical director of the Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization. She said there’s a whole host of things men should keep their doctors up-to-date on, including weight, diet, blood pressure, and smoking and drinking habits.

Primary care doctors also are good resources for talking about issues such as depression. Koreishi noted in the past few decades, it’s become more socially acceptable to bring up mental health.

“But I think we still have a ways to go when it comes to mood, in terms of helping men feel comfortable talking about it,” Koreishi said. “I think women tend to feel somewhat more comfortable, if I’m going to make a generalization.”

Depression is a major public health issue. According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates across the country have increased by more than 25 percent since 1999.

Koreishi said men might be wary about visiting the doctor because they assume a checkup will include a prostate exam. But these exams aren’t common anymore unless someone is showing signs or has a family history. She said men might also stay away simply because they don’t have a relationship with a primary care physician.

“That’s absolutely, I think, paramount in people’s comfort in having a lot of these conversations, especially things that may not seem to the general public as being what they think about is talked about in a doctor’s office,” she said.

Koreishi added that men older than 50 should be screened for colon cancer. They have a few options: They can get a colonoscopy once every ten years or do an at-home “FIT kit” test once a year.