Two thirds of men in the UK (65%) have hidden a health concern rather than telling anyone or seeking treatment, according to new research released by Asda Pharmacy today.
An issue men have a particular problem talking about is erectile dysfunction – something 58% of men say they have experienced to some degree, with a quarter (24%) saying they are currently experiencing it, or do regularly.
Amongst these, 61% did not tell their partner they were having difficulty getting an erection, whilst 37% did not tell anyone at all. Just a quarter (24%) saw a doctor or pharmacist. Amongst those who didn’t tell anyone, including a health professional, 47% cited embarrassment as the key reason, whilst a third (31%) say it was just too personal.
The impact of experiencing erectile dysfunction can be significant – 36% say it impacted their confidence and self-esteem, whilst 34% said it made them feel depressed.
Of course, men also keep many other health issues to themselves – 38% say they have kept one secret in the past year alone. Over half who say they have (56%) said it turned out to be an issue which should have been treated at the time or which they became ill from. In more than a fifth of cases (21%), the concern turned out to be a serious health issue.
The survey – conducted by Asda Pharmacy – found that the main reason men bottle up general health concerns is because they ‘don’t want to worry anyone’ (61%) whilst over a quarter (27%) say they were embarrassed to talk about the problem, even to a health professional. Perhaps most worrying, one in seven (14%) men said the reason they didn’t seek medical help was because they believed they had something serious, and didn’t want it confirmed.
The research demonstrates that men would be significantly more likely to seek help if they could do so without having to see anyone in person – six in ten (61%) say that this would make them more likely to seek treatment.
To help encourage more men to seek treatment for health issues, Asda Pharmacy has launched a new Online Doctor Service, where 28 conditions can be treated including high blood pressure, acne, cold sores, malaria, hair loss, erectile dysfunction and cystitis. A treatment plan can be issued without having to speak to a GP, and the prescription either be sent to the nearest Asda Pharmacy, or sent direct to the customer’s home. It can be found at www.onlinedoctor.asda.com
Maq Din, Asda Pharmacist said: “It’s completely natural to have worries about your health, but it’s always best to seek treatment right away – more often than not it’s something we can easily fix. However, it does seems that seeing a pharmacist or GP in person is a barrier for men in particular, especially for the common issue of erectile dysfunction, so we hope our new service, which allows them to seek support and treatment virtually, will help encourage them to stop bottling up health issues and get the help they need.”
Welsh Rugby legend Gareth Thomas, who is working with Asda Pharmacy to help encourage men to get help for health worries, said: “I understand more than most why so many blokes might want to keep something this personal to themselves, but having trouble getting an erection really isn’t something that anyone should be embarrassed about. The research shows that most men in the UK have experienced it to some degree or another – it’s not a big deal. I’d encourage any men having problems with this regularly to go and see a GP or pharmacist to get something that can help. For those who are reluctant to do it face to face, an online service such as Asda Pharmacy’s Online Doctor Service is the perfect solution.”