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Many men find it difficult to discuss their emotions, sexual difficulties, relationship problems, mental health issues like stress and depression, or physical problems — especially those that affect urination, defecation or intercourse. They simply have not been “programmed” to talk about these things, and they aren’t used to doing so. As a result, men may delay or avoid doctor visits, even (or especially) when they suspect something is wrong. Unfortunately, this can have disastrous consequences.

You could almost say that men are an endangered species: They are dying from diseases that could easily have been prevented had they been addressed much earlier.

• Men are dying from cardiovascular disease, our number-one killer, because they tell themselves that the chest pain is just a post-golf muscle twinge.
• Men die of cancers (particularly those of the prostate and colon) that have metastasized because they didn’t want to have “that test.”
• Men die from the effects of untreated depression and bipolar disorder, which in older men may result in a fatal heart attack or suicide.

In essence, men are dying of a slew of preventable, treatable disorders. Men’s stoicism — their reluctance to admit to “weakness” when it comes to their own health — threatens their very lives.

Generally speaking, women visit their doctors regularly, schedule routine check-ups and use more sick days to recuperate from illness. Women have far fewer reservations about relating how they feel, which is a key reason that they are hospitalized sooner for medical treatment and have more surgical interventions than men. Instead of worrying that they’re “whining” or “complaining,” postponing preventive tests and life-saving treatment, men would do well to follow the health-wise example of their female counterparts.

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