It has been very interesting to see the changes in how men access medical services over the years I have been a GP in Hyndland, writes Dr Isabelle Cullen.
Traditionally men are more reluctant to go to see their doctor. While women are used to attending regularly whether for routine checks such as smears and mammography or antenatal care, men have often delayed seeking help and presented late in illness.
This was a common theme in my early working life.
I do think that pattern of behaviour is changing though.
There is a greater understanding of various men’s health issues thanks to the many public health campaigns and, of course, the internet can be a valuable source of information.
I see a lot of male patients now who have concerns about various symptoms and are comfortable talking to me – even about potentially embarrassing subjects.
This is a big shift culturally and is hugely important – allowing earlier diagnosis and treatment of both minor and more serious illnesses and reducing unnecessary discomfort and worry.
Early intervention can make a significant difference for many conditions including cancer and heart disease leading to much-improved outcomes.
I am also very optimistic about how many more men are presenting with mental health problems now.
While the high rate of mental health issues is very worrying, it is a good sign that fewer men will suffer in silence.
Contacting your GP can be the first step towards recovery and accessing the support you need.
If anyone is reluctant to contact their GP regarding embarrassing physical symptoms or worries about mental health - remember your GP has seen it all before...literally! We are used to dealing with these sensitive subjects.
There is a greater understanding of various men’s health issues thanks to the many public health campaigns and, of course, the internet can be a valuable source of information'
Dr Isabelle Cullen
As ever, remember that you GP surgery remains open despite lockdown.
We are available to discuss your worries and can arrange any necessary examination and point you in the right direction towards other specialists as necessary.