Admit it: There are about a million things you'd rather do than plan a trip to the doctor's office, even if you feel downright miserable. In fact, one study by the Cleveland Clinic found that 72% of men surveyed would rather clean the bathroom than visit their doctor.
While a sparkling bathroom can be rewarding, a trip to your doctor's office for a wellness check keeps you healthy and well. (Bonus: Regular check-ups keep you in tiptop shape so you can help around the house). Here are three quick and painless doctor visits men should stay up to date on (and a few more to always keep on your schedule).
A physical (also called a wellness exam) is a great opportunity to check in with your doctor. You'll share any recent changes to your health or concerns, and your doctor can run routine tests to ensure everything is in working order.
These tests are the most important part of your exam. They give your doctor the chance to identify any warning signs that you may be at risk for developing a serious health condition, like diabetes or heart disease. If you are at risk, then you and your doctor can create a plan that reduces your risk and keeps you healthy and strong.
Routine tests and screenings at your physical may include:
- Weight and height check
- Body mass index (BMI)
- Blood pressure
- Glucose levels
- Cholesterol levels
- Skin cancer screening
- Blood tests to screen for other serious diseases or conditions
Your doctor can also discuss if you need any other screenings based on your risk. For example, they may recommend a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan if you have a history of smoking.
Colorectal cancer screenings
Colorectal cancer affects the colon or rectum. Rates are rising in younger adults. Fortunately, when detected early, colorectal cancer can be treated effectively. The key to early detection is regular cancer screenings.
The U.S Preventive Services Task Force is a group of doctors that review and recommend cancer screening guidelines. They recommend adults at average risk begin colorectal cancer screenings starting at age 45.
There are several different types of screenings, each with its own benefits (and downsides). Your doctor will go through each of your options and discuss which is best for you.
Colorectal cancer screenings can include:
- Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
- Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year
- Multi-targeted stool DNA test (mt-sDNA) every 3 years
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- CT colonography every 5 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSIG) every 5 years
Screenings should continue through age 75. Then, you and your doctor can discuss if you should continue colorectal cancer screenings.
It's also important to note that if you are at high risk of developing colon cancer, you should start screenings before age 45. You may be at risk if you have a:
- Personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- Family history of colorectal cancer
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
- Confirmed or suspected hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome
- History of radiation to the abdomen or pelvic
Vaccines are a safe and effective way to avoid common illnesses and stay healthy and well. Your doctor will discuss what shots you need during your annual physical exam. Be sure you stay on track with these immunizations:
- Annual flu shot
- COVID-19 vaccine and booster
- HPV vaccine (under age 26)
- Tdap vaccine (if you haven't already received it)
- Td booster (every 10 years)
- Shingles vaccine (50 years or older)
- Pneumococcal vaccine – PPSV23 (65 years or older; under 65 with certain health conditions)
- Pneumococcal vaccine– PCV13 (Older adults with certain health conditions)
Other important health screenings for men
Your annual physical, colorectal cancer screening and vaccines aren't the only appointments you need to make. Be sure to stay on top of these important exams for your good health:
- Prostate cancer screenings. Talk to your doctor about your risk of prostate cancer and if you need to start screenings.
- Bone density test. Men over the age of 70 should have a DEXA scan to check for osteoporosis, which can put you at higher risk of bone fractures.
- Hearing screenings. Men should have their hearing checked every year starting at age 65.
- Dental exams. See your dentist at least twice a year (every 6 months) to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which can lead to serious health conditions and even malnutrition.
Looking for a primary care partner to help you keep your health on track? Schedule an appointment online today with a physician near you!