Equality & Diversity
I've linked to many stories about how women's health concerns have been ignored, either individually (by doctors not taking them seriously) or collectively (by drugs not being tested on women) (e.g. here) but I thought it would be a good idea to have a thread dedicated to these sorts of stories.
She was told to lose weight, but something else was going on
An all-too familiar story of a woman who had health problems which were ignored or dismissed as lack of willpower for years until finally one doctor decided to test for polycystic ovarian syndrome which, of course, was the cause. It's fucking infuriating that doctors can put people though so many years of frustration and ill-health because they'd rather pretend that the symptoms are due to some sort of moral failing rather than legitimate health concerns.
Of course, it's not just women who face this kind of bias. Research published in PNAS found that there's a racial bias in terms of pain perception,
"Black Americans are systematically undertreated for pain relative to white Americans. . . . [Our] findings suggest that individuals with at least some medical training hold and may use false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites to inform medical judgments, which may contribute to racial disparities in pain assessment and treatment."
A really disturbing article on many levels,
The Pill pushback
Women are going off the pill after suffering side effects. The article doesn't seem to give numbers so it isn't clear how big an issue this is but what disturbed me most was the seeming indifference from doctors and the reliance on 'natural family planning' through the use of apps to track cycles which just makes me go .
I'm also surprised at the prevalence of the coil over the implant. It may be because I love my implant but listening to friends describe their experiences of getting the coil fitted (and replaced) I can't imagine ever wanting to go through it. The implant is simple, you get a local anaesthetic and there's some bruising for a few days after but that's about it. The coil in comparison seems downright barbaric and it baffles me that it still seems to be the preferred long-term method for so many people.
Going back to the article, it really worries me that people are going off the pill, seemingly without trying alternatives, and trusting that an app can tell them when to have safe sex. That's a level of faith in technology I don't know if I could share.
There was an article which I now can't find, of course, about a woman who had horrendous period pain for years, couldn't get her doctor to take it seriously, and eventually it turned out to be endometriosis. She had surgery, bingo, pain sorted.
In looking for that piece, though, I saw that Daisy Ridley has been talking about having endo and polycystic ovaries:
And from that we get back to the story of how some period pain is as bad as a heart attack:
And no one really seems to give a shit.
I think I remember that endometriosis article Suw, it was horrific.
This article has yet more stories of how women are ignored, this time blaming all their complaints on being overweight. I'm sure this happens to men as well but it does seem that women are particularly 'punished' for not being thin.
Talking of endometriosis, researchers are apparently progressing toward a diagnostic blood test for endometriosis.
That would be amazing! Mine was only caught by accident, because I had an ovarian cyst. Without that, I would have continued suffering probably for the rest of my menstrual life. I had no idea that endo causes pain in the hips, thighs and lower back, all of which vanished after it was removed. It was a revelation after that surgery!
If this does turn into a simple blood test, frankly, every woman should be given it every few years. The number of women suffering is likely far, far higher than 10%, because most have no clue that their pain has a treatable cause.
Mothers are made to feel guilty whether they breastfeed or formula feed their baby
Another one to add to the list of 'women are damned if they do, damned if they don't'.
What Passed for Birth Control in the Victorian Era
An excerpt from a new book, Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage and Manners that looks at Victorian birth control.
Asking this question can help prevent unplanned pregnancies among teens
Asking teens if they want to get pregnant in the next year makes them more likely to use contraception.
Zambia women's 'day off for periods' sparks debate
This is a fantastic idea, though I think that rather than give a special day off for periods we should just have a better approach to sickdays in general, and accept that period pain counts as a sick day.
Paula Johnson: When Does Medicine Leave Women Behind?
A TED talk on how medicine isn't tested on, or designed for, women.
I told my doctor I didn’t want kids. She sent me to a therapist.
In so-called liberal Sweden, a woman was denied bodily autonomy.
In 1914, Feminists Fought for the Right to Forget Childbirth
A fascinating tale. I first came across this in the [Spoiler Alert for Mad Men] episode where Peggy gave birth.
Living with children may mean less sleep for women, but not for men
Research that will surprise no-one.