Women’s pain, men’s pain.

/Women’s pain, men’s pain.

How doctors take pain less seriously when the person having it is a woman.

Anecdata time: this is sort of the reason I never, ever go to the doctor. For, like. Anything. Got a headcold and need some time off work? I just take it. My husband’s always like, “Go to the doctor and get a medical certificate!” I never do. Why? Because they never give me one. I’ve been sick as a dog in jobs where I was desperate to get time off–often because whatever illness I had was making my work physically painful, like the time I got a throat infection while on a service desk–and been told to do things like “gargle salt water” or “breathe lemon vapour” and get back to it. Oh, and there was the time (and this is disgusting, but) I literally shat blood for no reason1 and the doctor just shrugged and said it was probably nothing.

This is why I never go to the doctor. And that’s not even counting the times I’ve been for the chronic pain I’ve had since I was a teenager (no, doctor, I’m not paying you $200 to ask me “have you tried yoga?”, fuck you, seriously).

In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think I’ve had a positive interaction with a medical professional over an illness2 in my entire adult life.

My husband, meanwhile, gets a small case of the sniffles and comes back from the doctor with six prescriptions for antibiotics and a week off work.

I just… ugh. I give up.

  1. For the record: yes! I do have a history of horrible bowel cancers in my family. Thanks for asking! ^
  2. Things like contraception are okay, I assume because I’m not there to ask for advice. I’m just like, “I want this, give it to me.” Any interaction where I’ve actually had to get a medical opinion, though? Torture. And utterly pointless. ^
2017-07-17T11:37:12+00:00 17th February, 2016|Tags: health, women's health|4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Vickie 18th February, 2016 at 9:41 am

    I’ve read similar accounts from women who had their female nurse roll her eyes at them, suggesting that they simply didn’t know how to handle period cramps, etc. This internalised sexism is very disturbing. For now I have good health and have established a good relationship with my GP (I visit her for routine blood works, pap smear and the like, so she knows what I’m like when I’m in good health and mood). but I know that health never lasts forever. One day I might just be Rachel…

    • Alis 18th February, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      My regular GP is a woman, which I think is why she’s not too bad on contraception and the like. But I still go with my husband when we need medical certificates (usually we’re sick at the same time; the joys of relationships) because… yeah. He can always get one for both of us. :

      (And if I ever end up at a different GP… Ugh. I may as well not have even bothered. >_<)

      • Vickie 23rd February, 2016 at 11:19 am

        God/s forbid one day we need to go to the ED or a specialist without a referral! I have plans to health-field-namedrop at a few hospitals (I work in health IT — the good side for now, not the big bad expensive IT that everyone hates).

        P.S. WordPress needs to tell me someone replied to my comment!

        • Alis 24th February, 2016 at 8:17 am

          I’ve never managed to get to a specialist without a referral, and even when I got a referral, it was always because I went to the doctor and explicitly asked for one. Even then, they’d always try and tell me I didn’t really need to go. Ugh. :\

          And, hm. This server has always been a bit flaky with sending emails. I’ll go and fiddle a bit with sendmail and see if I can get it working…

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