This week a friend emailed an article about a toolkit for male health. It got me thinking: why don’t boys go to the doctor? It seems that for teen girls, there are numerous reasons that lead them in for medical evaluations (menstrual cramps, acne, concerns about weight, reproductive health). There are screening guidelines that encourage women under age 25 to seek medical care routinely, but our teen boys are often left out. It’s not that teen boys are more or less healthy, it just seems that we’ve been less likely to consider that boys need medical visits too!
Adolescent males have higher rates of accidental trauma, are more likely to complete suicide, and have just as many questions/concerns about their changing bodies as girls. We can often get them in for a medical visit once a year if they play a sport (for a screening sports physical), but after age 15, boys are much less likely to come in for a visit than girls. An annual visit with a medical provider is recommended for everyone! For teen boys, this visit can address pubertal changes, acne, depression & anxiety, substance use, immunizations, reproductive and sexual health, peer influence, self esteem, school performance, sleep, body image, and the list goes on and on.
This week, the Partnership for Male Youth launched an online tool for parents and providers that highlights the importance of male health and provides tools (including videos) on topics ranging from reproductive health to trauma.
If you are the parent of a teen male and it’s been more than a year since seeing his medical provider, schedule a check up. I’m sure his primary care provider would like to see him and you can both take advantage of the visit to have your questions related to his health answered.