Ask Dr. Christina: How Do I Get My Husband to Go to the Doctor?

Dear Dr. Christina,

My husband and I have been married for 5 years, and he is a wonderful man. I am concerned because for the past three months he has been peeing blood off and on. I have been telling him that he needs to go to the doctor. He just jokes about it and tells me he strained himself on the job and that it is nothing I should worry about. I cannot help it. I told him I would go with him and that I would make the appointment for him. He tells me that I am making something out of nothing. I do not want to nag him, but something in my gut is telling me that I am not wrong. I love him and I do not want anything to happen to him. Please tell me if I am being too protective.



Dear Bea.

I am glad you wrote to me, for so many women find themselves in your shoes—where you instinctively feel something is just not right. That is what we call “women’s intuition.” You are not alone in trying to get your man to go to the doctor. Many men do not feel they need to see a doctor unless they are extremely sick. A lot of men feel they just do not have the time to get off work to go to an appointment and will also give the excuse of the medical costs involved.

One of the biggest obstacles to improving men’s health is the men themselves. They do not tend to make health a priority. Men often feel invincible—or think they should be. They do not think about any preventative care because they fear that their physician may find something physically wrong with them.

Bea, now you are talking about peeing blood, which can be caused by many reasons. You need to realize that you are talking about a very private personal area. Your man may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable having a doctor examine any of his private parts, much less risk finding out that something is wrong with any of them.

In this case, it is very important that you get your husband to see a doctor to check that his urinary tract (including his bladder, kidneys, and urethra) and/or his prostate gland do not have an infection. It is also important for the doctor to check if there are any stones, polyps or masses that may be causing his bleeding, including any signs of cancer. I do not want to scare you, but he really needs to be examined—first by your family doctor and then possibly by a urologist (a bladder and kidney specialist).

You are so right about not nagging him or starting arguments about this issue, for these will push him further away from what he needs to do.

Here are some suggestions about what you can say and do instead:

1)     Tell your husband how much you love him and that you are worried about him.

2)     Enroll some of his friends to encourage him to go.

3)     Gently remind him of his family history of disease in the hopes that this may cause him to question his own mortality.

4)     You can offer (or in your case re-offer) to make the appointment for him and to go with him if he would like. I know you have already offered this to him once, but perhaps after he has talked to his friends and/or thought about his family history, he might be open to having you do this.

5)     Gently suggest that it would be better for your man if the doctor could find out if something is wrong sooner so he can be treated right away.

6)     Be his wife and partner and treat him as an adult. Acknowledge that he is capable of making his own decisions. You can share your concerns and fears with him, and if he still does not want to go, then there isn’t much more you can do but accept your own feelings of frustration, which I understand is very hard to do.

Bea, your letter has brought issues to the forefront that scare all of us, but it is necessary to follow your heart and intuition. Sometimes the patient and the patient’s family knows that something is wrong, and that in itself may save your loved one’s life. Persistence and vigilance are so important in order to help reduce your husband’s fears or doubts about going to the doctor. You may just be his saving grace.

I admire you and your courage, but mostly your love for your husband and your wanting the best for him. I hope you can continue to encourage him to go make that appointment with his doctor. Hopefully you will find that it is something that can be treated quickly and/or caught early so he can live a very productive and long life.

My thoughts and good wishes go out to both you and your husband,


Dr. Christina

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