Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Ever worried about your health? You’re most definitely not alone. From physical health to mental wellbeing, the average man has lots of questions, concerns and areas of interest when it comes to their health.
There are numerous stereotypes about men’s health, from the widespread belief that men don’t like talking about their mental health to the idea that most guys don’t bother with things like skin and hair care.
For Men’s Health Month (June), we set out to explore men’s attitudes towards their health in five key areas: mental health, physical wellness, sexual wellness, hair and skin. Our goal was to find out how men really feel about their health, as well as any key stigmas or difficulties they face.
Our team surveyed 1,403 men in the United States between the ages of 25 and 45 about a wide range of health-related issues.
Overall, we found that many men are dealing with health issues that affect their daily lives, from mental health issues to problems concerning sexual health, physical wellbeing and more.
We also found that stigmas still exist that prevent men from asking for or seeking out help when it comes to their health.
Below, we’ve shared the top findings from our 2021 Men’s Health Survey. You can read on for a deep dive into each section of our survey and its most important findings, or view our full data in this downloadable report.
Over the past year, men experienced high levels of stress, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression. Despite this, many men don’t seek help and there are numerous perceived barriers when it comes to men’s mental health treatment.
Culturally, men reaching out for help with mental health has been associated with weakness -- a stigma that could still prevent many men from seeking mental health support today.
In the past year, the majority of men surveyed experienced high stress and symptoms of anxiety. However, only half have ever sought help for their mental health concerns.
73 percent of men reported experiencing anxiety, while 61 percent reported experiencing some symptoms of depression.
Although 82 percent of men reported experiencing moderate to extreme levels of stress during the past year, only 52 percent have sought out help in the form of psychiatry, support groups or therapy before.
For men, the biggest barriers to therapy are cost, lack of comfort (stigma) and difficulty finding a mental health professional or knowing where to start.
Despite the majority of men experiencing mental health concerns, 51 percent of men say that they don’t need therapy. 23 percent say that therapy is too expensive, while 22 percent aren’t comfortable with the idea of going to therapy.
Access to mental health services is a common issue for men. 22 percent of the men that took part in our survey reported either experiencing difficulty finding a mental health professional or not knowing how to start looking for mental health treatment.
Overall, both stigma regarding mental health treatment and lack of access prevent many men from seeking professional help for their mental health concerns.
Men overwhelmingly want to feel in control of their health. Exercising regularly is how most men stay healthy -- diet, in general, isn’t as big of a priority. Most men exercise at least a few times a week, and the majority of men consider themselves physically active.
When health issues arise, many guys are hesitant to talk to a healthcare professional until their problems are serious -- a mentality that may prevent men from accessing the professional care they need before it’s too late.
Most men take their physical health seriously. Six out of 10 men exercise at least one to two times per week, and many feel confident about their bodies.
When asked about physical activity, 87 percent of men reported being either very active, active or somewhat active.
Of these, 31 percent exercised at least five times per week, with 31 and 24 percent exercising either three to four times per week or one to two times per week, respectively.
Although eating habits are less of a priority than exercise, 54 percent of men say that eating a healthy diet is very important to them. 44 percent of men felt confident about their bodies.
When it comes to seeking out health advice, many guys turn to “Dr Google” before speaking to a real medical professional. 44 percent either agreed or completely agreed with the statement “Google is my go-to source for health advice.”
34 percent of the men that participated stated that they don’t have clear answers or solutions to their health issues.
Just under half (49 percent) of the men that took part in our survey reported that they generally avoid going to the doctor until they’re having a serious problem.
Despite this, just over half (54 percent) reported going for a physical in the last year despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the last four years, 89 percent reported undergoing a physical examination.
Despite being sexually confident, many men still find it difficult to talk about their sexual health concerns with their partners. Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) say that sexual health issues significantly impact their relationships and sex lives.
Talking about sex still seems to carry a stigma, with many men preferring more discreet ways of getting sexual health help.
More men are sexually confident than they are body confident.
56 percent of men reported feeling confident about their sexual performance, attractiveness and stamina -- a significantly higher percentage than the 44 percent of men who stated that they felt body confident.
Using protection and getting tested for STIs may not be the priority for many. More than one out of every five men never use protection with new partners and the majority don’t get tested for STIs on a regular basis.
Only 37.7 percent of men reported getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) on a regular basis. 36 percent of men don’t get tested because they’re in monogamous relationships, while almost 16 percent don’t get tested because they aren’t sexually active.
While more than half of men report using protection when having sex with a new partner every time or most of the time, 21.25 percent answered “never” to using protection when having sex with a new partner.
Contrary to popular belief, erectile dysfunction (ED) isn’t only an older man’s problem -- it’s increasingly an issue for younger men.
Although erectile dysfunction is often associated with age, more than one out of every three (36 percent) men in the 25 to 45 age group reported experiencing ED in the past year.
When erectile dysfunction does occur, it can take a real toll on relationships, dating and sexual encounters.
More than half of the men who experienced erectile dysfunction in the last year agreed that ED impacts their relationships and dating life, that they often fight with their partner because of ED, and that their ED causes them to avoid having sex.
Although safe and effective ED medication is available, almost half of men make lifestyle changes rather than using medication.
In comparison, 48 percent report using lifestyle changes, such as exercise and changes to their diet and alcohol consumption, to combat erectile dysfunction.
Popular techniques for treating and/or preventing ED include solo masturbation (practiced by 38 percent of men), pornography use (36 percent) and mental health therapy (31 percent). Only 15 percent reported using wearable devices or sex toys.
35 percent of men reported using supplements, vitamins or other non-prescription treatments to help with ED. However, the scientific research on most natural remedies for erectile dysfunction is mixed, with none producing results comparable to ED medication.
Despite the prevalence of issues like ED, many men still feel uncomfortable talking about their sexual health concerns with their partner.
One out of every five men reported that they feel somewhat uncomfortable or not comfortable at all discussing their sexual health issues with their partner.
The same active ingredients as Viagra®. Starts working in 30 minutes and lasts up to 6 hours.
Same active ingredient as Cialis®. Starts working in 1 hour and lasts up to 24 hours.
Exclusively at Hims, starts working in 15 minutes and lasts up to 6 hours. Same active ingredients as Levitra®.
Hair loss and thinning negatively impacts men’s confidence in daily life, relationships and in the workplace. However, although proven, science-based hair loss medications are available, many men aren’t turning to them to treat their hair loss.
This may indicate a lack of awareness about effective hair loss solutions or treatments that exist in the market.
The top three hair care products used by men are shampoo (82 percent), conditioner (62 percent) and styling gel, creams or balms (38 percent). Less than 20 percent of men use FDA-approved medications to treat and prevent hair loss.
Despite the widespread belief that hair loss affects older men, hair loss and thinning are extremely common amongst men aged 25 to 45.
Despite the negative impact that hair loss can have on confidence and quality of life, many men never seek treatment for their hair loss.
More than three out of every five men that participated in the survey reported experiencing hair loss or hair thinning.
Of these men, 42 percent have never met with a doctor to discuss their hair loss and 64 percent have never used any science-based, FDA-approved hair loss products such as minoxidil and/or finasteride.
Although many men never seek treatment for hair loss, issues related to hair loss are a common occurrence for men with hair loss or hair thinning.
57 percent of men reported thinking about their hair loss frequently, with an equal percentage of men reporting that they felt the need to cover up their hair loss as often as possible.
48 percent of men felt less confident in the workplace due to hair loss, while 47 percent believed that hair loss had impacted their dating life or their relationship with their partner.
A decade ago, a men’s skin routine was virtually unheard of. Now, most men have a quick and easy skin care routine that they follow. However, the majority of men are missing a critical skin protection component -- sunscreen.
Melanoma, a particularly dangerous form of skin cancer, is affecting young men at a higher rate, making it important that men start to add this product into their skin care toolkit.
Men tend to follow simple skin care routines, most often consisting of shaving products, cleanser and moisturizer.
A majority of adult men use one to three skin care products a day, with cleansers/facial washes, moisturizers and shaving products the most common (all used by more than 50 percent of men).
Other skin care products used include masks (used by 28.4 percent of men), skin care vitamins or supplements (28.9 percent), facials (26.9 percent), pads/wipes (19.6 percent) and exfoliants (19 percent).
Despite the dangers of UV exposure, many men are still unaware or not concerned about the importance of daily sunscreen.
Approximately six out of every 10 men don’t use sunscreen (only 39 selected sunscreen as one of the skincare products they use).
This is worrying, as the number of new invasive melanoma cases diagnosed annually increased by 44 percent over the last decade, according to data from the American Cancer Society.
Men are more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than women, making it essential for men to take sunscreen and other protective measures seriously. More education on sunscreen may be necessary to reduce the skin cancer risk men face.
Generic for Rogaine®, this FDA-approved over-the-counter version of topical minoxidil is used for regrowth on the crown of the head.
This is the FDA-approved dynamic duo. When used together, men saw better results in clinical trials compared to using either alone.
If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want too many steps in your routine, this once-a-day pill could be right for you.
Clinically proven to regrow hair in 3-6 months, no pills required.
Throughout our research, the overarching theme that we found was that many men are dealing with issues that affect their daily lives, whether that’s mental health problems, physical wellness, sexual health or concerns related to their hair or skin.
While many men actively seek help for their health issues, there are still significant stigmas that can prevent men from asking for or seeking out help.
There also may be a lack of education or awareness about the numerous treatments, solutions and products that are available to help men take more control over their health and wellbeing.
This combination of stigma and lack of information can have real, measurable negative effects on men’s health and wellbeing, including in their personal and professional lives.
Many men take action on their health through diet and exercise. When issues arise, they often turn to Google to research their concerns. They often can’t find high-quality, reliable information online and may wait until their problems become serious before seeking professional help.
However, we may be starting to see this trend change. With the acceleration of telehealth as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of men report seeing a doctor for their health needs.
Telehealth, due to its convenience and privacy, provides men with a solution that enables them to discreetly find help for the conditions that are affecting them most.
Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership.
She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH.
Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare.
Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.