Getting a man to go to the doctor can be difficult – very difficult. In fact, a 2011 health care report by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that men are 80 percent less likely than women to use a regular source of health care.
The problem is particularly acute in younger men. Half of men ages 18 to 50 don’t even have a regular source of health care, other research has shown, and one national survey revealed that a third of men in this age group hadn’t had a checkup in more than a year.
UCLA Health is trying to change that by launching The Men’s Clinic at UCLA.
“In general, guys don’t seek medical care until they absolutely have to,” said Dr. Jesse Mills, an urologist and director of the clinic. “Men wait until they’re on the brink of collapse, they have a bone sticking out or someone forces them to see a doctor.”
The Men’s Clinic, which opened in January, is the first UCLA Health clinic to focus on providing healthcare services specifically for men. The goal is to help them take better care of themselves. The lure are evaluations of urologic, sexual and reproductive health, Mills said.
Services include fertility treatments, including on-site sperm testing and vasectomy reversals; assistance with sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation; and hormone therapy for low testosterone levels. Once a patient is comfortable with the concept of seeing a physician, health care workers can then recommend other, non-urologic health screenings.
“If a problem is affecting a man’s sex life or his sense of masculinity, then he’ll see a doctor,” Mills said. “We see The Men’s Clinic as a gateway, or first step, toward getting men the healthcare services they might not even realize they need.”
The Men’s Clinic seeks to provide an environment in which men are comfortable opening up about the sometimes embarrassing physical and mental aspects of their lives.
“Often during an exam, I’ll learn that a patient has endured back pain for years, or I’ll notice symptoms that may indicate he’s struggling with depression,” Mills said.
Sometimes, an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, may be contributing to a man’s urological or sexual issues.
“At The Men’s Clinic, we can get him the help he needs,” Mills said. “Everyone in our office has specialized training in men’s health and understands the importance of treating our male patients with the utmost discretion and professionalism to make them feel at ease.”