The Gender Bias in Medicine

A repost from my the Undiagnosed Warrior Facebook Page, but felt it needed to be shared here as well since it is such an important topic for women living with chronic illness, particularly the undiagnosed. Really, though, it hurts all of us in one way or another.This is in response to an article entitled How Doctors Take Woman’s Pain Less Seriously.


“Women are likely to be treated less aggressively until they prove that they are just as sick as male patients.”

Sadly, this woman’s story isn’t abnormal. And it’s not just a one-off or one bad hospital either. It happens every day, in multiple hospitals and doctor’s offices, to women all over the country.

“From an early age we’re taught to observe basic social codes: Be polite. Ask nicely. Wait your turn. But during an emergency, established codes evaporate—this is why ambulances can run red lights and drive on the wrong side of the road.”

“…he’d never checked back after his initial visit. He was that sure. As far as he was concerned, his job was done.”

Gender bias is everywhere in the field of medicine and it’s essentially killing millions of woman everywhere.

“Everyone we encountered worked to assure me this was not an emergency.”

Remember, though, this isn’t just a problem that affects women with chronic or invisible illness. This affects all woman. Your daughter. Your mother. Your grandmother. Your friends. Your boss. Your co-workers. Anybody.

Don’t believe me?

Read Is Medicine’s Gender Bias Killing Young Woman

“In training, we were taught to be on the lookout for hysterical females who come to the emergency room.”

These articles are just two of the many that are out there in the world.  Look it up – do some research. Ask any female that has a chronic illness. They spend more time with doctors than almost anybody.I promise that they know about this all too well, given the amount of time they spend in medical facilities.

“The presence of stress, the researchers explained, sparked a “meaning shift” in which women’s physical symptoms were reinterpreted as psychological, while “men’s symptoms were perceived as organic whether or not stressors were present.”

So why aren’t all the extremist, feminists, or politicians out fighting for this cause? For this equality? If you believe strongly in woman’s rights, educate yourself. There are bigger things to fight for than free birth control.

10 thoughts on “The Gender Bias in Medicine

  1. MjBee says:

    So true, i’ve been at the ER with chest pains before and been automatically told, panic attack, anxiety. A male friend went to ER, complained of chest pains, had it thoroughly investigated, hooked up to machines, bloods, ecg bla bla, turnt out his was anxiety/stress in the end. But, as a male, he was definitely given much more of a reaction than I ever have had !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Midnight Knitter says:

    I have to admit I haven’t encountered this, but my bias is that I have mostly women doctors. My last two medical emergencies triggered more aggressive response than I really wanted. It’s hard to get out of the ER when they are sure you’re having a heart attack… It was an ulcer. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Undiagnosed Warrior says:

      Oh dear. I admit, it’s gotten better now that I have a diagnosis and abnormal testing to “prove” it. I take those tests with me to every appointment now.

      But when I was undiagnosed and/or younger, it was rather frequent. I went to the ER one time for extreme abdominal pain, the hospital was surprisingly was empty. Still, the doctor didn’t examine me, didn’t run tests, or provide pain meds (even though if he had asked I would have declined). He told me my vital signs were normal and I should go to my primary care, not the ER… it was a Sunday. I was sent home with no treatment or evaluation. I’ve had this happen in multiple doctors offices too, no actual exam or testing, just a prescription for antidepressants. Most recently was this past May when I tried to find a new PCP.

      Like

  3. KatieComeBack says:

    I was going to mention heart attacks as an example. Symptoms for women can be very different from those men have – and there haven’t been as many studies done on women, because our hormones eff with the results! (Or…that’s been the excuse.)

    In medicine, regardless of our genders, we ALWAYS have to be advocates for ourselves. Always.

    Liked by 1 person

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