University of Colorado junior Nick Moreland said he only goes to the doctor when he’s “really” sick.
“I usually just ride out what I can,” said Moreland, who added that other than a physical in high school, he rarely gets medical checkups. “But if it’s really horrible, I guess I’ll go to a doctor.”
This week is National Men’s Health Week and local professionals are encouraging college-aged men to make a habit of sexual health checkups and preventive screenings.
“In terms of preventative care, men are sometimes less likely to seek care than women,” said Dr. Savita Ginde, the medical director for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Women are raised with the notion that you go in once a year for a pap. They are used to frequent visits with the doctor.
“Men need reminders and need to realize their health care is just as important.”
Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Monica McCafferty said only 6 percent to 7 percent of overall clients are male.
Dr. Thomas Kunstman, of CU’s Wardenburg Health Center, said men may be driven by fear when it comes to health care.
“I think men often feel worried when they think something’s wrong,” Kunstman said. “Either that or they feel omnipotent and that nothing can be wrong with them.”
In a college environment, Kunstman and Ginde said males should be concerned with the health hazards of sexually transmitted diseases.
“We have specialists who want to help men have a healthy sex life,” Ginde said.
Ginde recognized that men may shy away from dealing with sexual care, but they are not alone.
Sexual dysfunctions such as premature ejaculation affect 30 percent to 70 percent of men — most common in the age range of 18 to 30 years old, according to Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains debuted a new Men’s Sexual Health program at the Aurora Health Center this week.
“This is a great opportunity to put the focus on men’s health, especially for men who are sexually active,” McCafferty said.
Aside from sexual checkups, Kunstman and Linde noted the importance of testicular cancer screenings.
“Testicular cancer is a cancer for young men,” Kunstman said. “They should check themselves every now and then while in the shower. Just make sure nothing is different. If you find something different, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cancer. But it’s good to check know your body.”
Ginde said many college students may think preventative care is only for the “elderly population,” but treating ailments early on more effective, especially since testicular cancer affects men between the ages of 20 and 39.
“Men are less apt to seek preventive care,” Ginde said. “But it’s good to learn healthy lifestyle habits early, before they start to build careers and a family.”