What can consulting patterns at a Herbal Medicine Practice indicate about male health-seeking behaviour patterns male health-seeking behaviour patterns with regard to Herbal Medicine? - A literature review and retrospective clinic data study.
This study investigated male attendance patterns at a herbal medicine clinic in Glasgow to determine whether there was any correlation to male attendance to GPs in Scotland. A retrospective clinic review was done of male patient data at the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine’s student clinic to extract attendance information from January 2004 - November 2005. Primary complaints were grouped according to ISD-Scotland Stand Morbidity Groupings. Data was analysed and an attempt was made to compare this to ISD-Scotland statistics.
Differences in collection methods and depiction of data made direct comparison to ISD-Scotland data untenable. However, correlation was found between the most frequently seen complaint group at the clinic and the conditions with the highest contact rate amongst GPs. The rate of return for follow-up visit for this complaint was low. Overall, 35% of men attended the clinic for only one consultation. Due to the small numbers in the population studied, the relevance of these findings to a broader population is questionable.
A literature search was executed on male orthodox and herbal medicine healthcare attendance in order to investigate known patterns. Using defined search criteria, studies on male attendance for herbal medicine appeared to be poorly represented and it wasn’t possible to extrapolate age or gender patterns of attendance from the papers investigated. Lack of knowledge about herbal medicine appeared to be a significant reason for not using herbal medicine.
Patterns in orthodox medicine were also considered to gain an understanding of male attitudes to health. It was discerned that men’s interpretation of physical health is different to women and they are more likely to seek medical help for physical rather than psychological symptoms. There is evidence to suggest that male perception of symptoms also differs from women and that they are more likely to attempt to rationalise or ignore potentially serious symptoms.