How Often Do You Get a Regular Checkup from a Doctor?

That’s kind of a personal question, so I don’t expect you to actually answer it. Though I am curious.

This subject came up about a month ago when I was talking to a doctor friend of mine. I’m not sure what led us to the topic, but I asked her how often I, as a 35-year-old man, should get a normal checkup from a doctor.

You see, I do not like going to the doctor. I like going to the dentist because my teeth feel super clean afterwards, and they have nice things to say about my flossing habits. But I generally only go to the doctor if I’m sick or injured. I also donate blood on a regular basis, so I figure if I have a weird disease, the Red Cross will probably let me know. I also go the dermatologist and otolaryngologist on occasion.

Plus, I take my cats to the veterinarian at least once a year. Surely that counts for something!

My doctor friend carefully listened to me as I tried to lead her towards the answer I wanted, which is: “Jamey, you only have to go to a doctor for a regular checkup once every 10 years. And you’ll never have to get a colonoscopy because you poop so much and your cats are adorable.”

But here’s what she actually said, “Jamey, you need to get a regular checkup from your doctor once a year.”

I replied, “Can’t you just do it?” (My friend lives in Texas; I’m in St. Louis.)

“No,” she said. “Go to your doctor.”

My friend is very wise, so that night I added this annual reminder on my calendar:


Deep down, I knew I should have been going to the doctor annually. I may not have gone to the doctor for a regular checkup even once in my 20s, but I’m no spring chicken anymore. I’m a winter chicken, and there’s a fox in the henhouse.

So a few days ago I took the plunge and scheduled a regular checkup. It feels super inefficient to go to the doctor when I’m not sick or injured, but I’m doing it anyway.

What about you? Do you go to the doctor once a year for a checkup?

7 thoughts on “How Often Do You Get a Regular Checkup from a Doctor?”

  1. I went to the doctor in my twenties once for a check-up . . . but after waiting two hours (after being on time for my appointment), I just left. I recently had a a head injury that put me in the hospital for a day, and they took several tests. I saw a doctor a week later to have staples removed. That doctor did a couple more tests, so I figure that counts.

  2. Andrew: I totally forgot about the waiting! It’s the worst. I wish doctor’s offices could work a little more like restaurants: If you make a reservation, you get in when you arrive (or if you don’t make a reservation, you could get a virtual “buzzer” that lets you go about your business until it’s your time to come in).

  3. I haven’t had a regular check up in awhile…a couple of weeks ago I scheduled a number of appointments I’ve avoided. 🙂 I also only scheduled ones for first thing in the morning so I don’t have to wait much and I feel like my doctor is willing to spend a little more time with me because they aren’t busy first thing.

  4. Nope – I pretty much only go when I’m sick. I have Kaiser, so my doctor is satisfied with an email and an annual blood test. Even when I’m sick or injured, they pretty much just tell me to lose weight and I’ll be fine. >eyeroll< I'm 45 and uterus-less so no real reason for me to go to the lady doc either. They don't get to smash my boobs in the vice, and if there is nothing wrong with my hind end, there's no reason to go rooting around up there. I just hate hate hate going to the doctor! Even when I am sick it's like pulling teeth to get any decent tests or meds going. Why do I want to go in once a year so they can tell me I'm still not thin and 25? Waste of time and money IMO.

  5. My clinic uses the same buzzer type that macaroni grill uses. But just like at the restaurant, you can’t go too far once you check in. And a big reason we run late is that when your first patient shows up 15 minutes late, it throws your whole day off. So yes, first appointment of the day is always your best bet.


Leave a Reply

Discover more from

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading