Univ. of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics doctors aims to educate men about their health

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics wants to educate men about their bodies and show the importance of going to the doctor.
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 3:41 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A Cleveland Clinic study shows one in five men admit they haven’t been completely honest with their doctors. The study also shows men don’t go to the doctor for routine wellness visits at the same rate as women.

Amy Pearlman, the director of the Men’s Health Program at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said she wants to educate men about their bodies and show the importance of going to the doctor.

“It’s never too soon to go in for education,” Pearlman said. “As a surgeon, my number one goal is to be an educator, that is my MO. And I happen to do surgery, and I happen to see patients in clinic and do procedures.”

Pearlman and an MD/PhD student at the University of Iowa have worked together to develop an educational program to teach young fraternity men on campus about their health.

“I lived with 60 Guys for five years, and really got to see guys knowledge about their bodies, or lack thereof, a lot of young guys will have a puberty talk in seventh grade. And then after that, the conversation really stops,” said Wade Gutierrez, an MD/PhD student at the University of Iowa.

Pearlman said men often have questions about their health with topics they are uncomfortable with discussing or feel like they don’t know who to ask.

“The questions that the guys who are 21-years-old come in to talk to me about, they’re the same questions as the 95-year-olds, and the 70-year-olds and the 55-year-old,” said Pearlman.

Both Pearlman and Gutierrez agree there are disconnects between men and the health care system. They said women routinely see a doctor that is geared toward their needs, like an OBGYN for example, not only to fix things, but for preventive care and concerns.

“They view a doctor as someone who fixes problems, and I think that that mindset is what then impacts men’s willingness to go to the doctor,” said Gutierrez.

“There is not a single milestone in a man’s life that says now you have to seek health care. So so many times all the time, we see it because someone is waking up five times at night to urinate, where they notice a drop in erectile function, or they have no libido, or they are having difficulty losing weight,” said Pearlman.

Pearlman hopes by providing educational tools and outlets for men, it can teach them more about the questions they may have, and encourage them to seek medical help or a professional to help them understand more about their bodies.

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