It’s no secret that I am absolutely nuts about men’s health. One way I spend my time is reading and summarizing different research studies about the topic. A lot of these studies look at disparities in men’s health, but I am interested in why they exist.
I recently decided to ask my social media followers a simple question: “Why don’t men discuss their health?” I was amazed by all the different responses. So far, we’ve explored Response 1. Over my next several columns, I will share some of the other responses and how we can fix them.
Response #2: It is “awkward to talk to my single mom.”
Right off the bat, my inner college bro laughed and thought to himself/myself: “Since this guy has a mom, it’s pretty clear that she does know a thing or two about testicles.”
However, upon more mature reflection, I was sympathetic to this lad. At first, I was hesitant to tell my mom that I had discovered a lump in my nether regions. I didn’t hesitate to say cancer, but I didn’t want to mention the word “testicle” while I was on the phone with her.
Yet I eventually sacked up and told her. To my surprise, it was not nearly as awkward as I thought it would be. One of her friend’s husbands apparently had testicular cancer when he was younger, and she proceeded to tell me all about his experience. While that conversation was indeed awkward, it proves the old adage that moms really do know everything.
Once that conversation drew to a close (which was far more detailed than I ever wished), I was glad I talked to her. True to the definition of a mama bear, my mom ended up doing everything she could to support me during my cancer battle.
How we can fix this problem
You could always talk to your dad (or chosen father figure), but the Cleveland Clinic recently found that fathers are often reluctant to talk about health. Around one-third of men surveyed said their father discusses getting annual health exams with them, and even fewer discuss sex (2 percent) and urological health (23 percent).
More promisingly, the same study found that in the majority of cases of fathers who do talk about health with their sons, these conversations started before the age of 16. As our generation grows and expands, this is good food for thought to keep in mind.
But to get back to the original response, if there is no father in the home, the mother may be the only opportunity to have a potentially life-saving conversation. There is no reason to feel awkward, though. Simply put, your mom has quite literally seen your junk since you were born. Dare I say it—she was probably way more familiar with your twig and berries before you were. Moms are always there for you, even if you may be uncomfortable with it at first.
After all, how many other people in your life cleaned off your scrotum when you filled a poopy diaper?
For the record, I really don’t want an answer to that question.
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