D is for Demand Better Healthcare for Yourself

D is for Demand Better Healthcare for Yourself

The healthcare system in America is not without its flaws. One that sweepingly affects women across all walks of life, being taken seriously at the doctor’s office. Many women experience their symptoms being dismissed, from mistaking heart disease for anxiety to being prescribed less pain medication after surgery. This is a serious problem, and not just for women. We all suffer when our healthcare system isn’t working at its best.

Historically, women have been marginalized in the medical field. Whether they weren’t allowed to practice medicine or their conditions weren’t being taken seriously, this trend is, unfortunately, nothing new. The term “hysteria” is even derived from the Greek word for uterus! Oftentimes because of gender bias, doctors (even female doctors) will be more inclined to think women’s symptoms are psychosomatic (all in your head) or due to hormones. These misconceptions can be dangerous.

So how do you advocate for yourself when your health is on the line, but no one will believe you?

Luckily, this topic is currently being researched, so more and more doctors are becoming aware of this phenomenon. But this isn’t enough sometimes, so learning how to speak up for yourself at the doctor’s is important.

Be Assertive and Persistent 

Speaking up for yourself can be difficult, especially when there seems to be a power dynamic from doctor to patient. But the doctor is there to help you, and you know your body best. So if something doesn’t feel right, do not hesitate to say something, and repeat yourself if it wasn’t taken seriously the first time.

Do Your Research

Doing research is essential, but don’t get bogged down with extremes. Unfortunately, this can sometimes weaken your case. But if you research your symptoms and many match up with a specific condition, ask to get tested or checked out for that specifically. Being educated can help you to advocate for yourself and to be assertive.

Get Second Opinions

You should feel comfortable with and trust your doctor. But, even with someone you like, opinions can differ. You wouldn’t buy the first car you test-drove, so it is best to shop around for a doctor or diagnosis. Doctors are just people; sometimes, they miss things or are overworked and stressed. But getting another set of eyes on the problem can never hurt if your symptoms are serious.

The quality of your healthcare may literally be a life-or-death situation! Therefore, it is crucial to demand better healthcare for yourself and all women. And the more women who can advocate for themselves at the doctor’s office, the more women’s health can improve.


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