Women Share The Times Doctors Just Ignored Their Issues

Ashley Hunte
Doctors and nurses in an operating room.
Unsplash | Piron Guillaume

In a perfect world, any sick or injured person would be able to see their doctor and get the treatment they need. But the unfortunate reality for many women is that getting the right diagnosis isn't always so simple.

In fact, women's health is oftentimes taken far less seriously in the medical world than men's health. The women in this list shared their stories, showing just how much they had to go through to be treated like proper patients.

A Twitter thread by Marisa Kabas where she talked about her healthcare struggles went viral.

Kabas shared the years-long process it took for doctors to take a large fibroid in her uterus seriously, citing weight bias as the reason why they didn't.

She also shared that doctors dismissed her concerns, telling her to "lose weight."

Weight bias and stigma affect many aspects of society, but can have especially detrimental consequences in medicine. Obese patients (especially women) are often told to lose weight, rather than have their symptoms investigated.

In continuing the thread, Kabas also revealed that she ended up diagnosing herself.

She did finally get the diagnosis and confirmation that she had a large fibroid in her abdomen, and was scheduled for surgery in November of 2021.

Her thread prompted other women to share their own stories.

Another user shared that she had gallstones for a decade, but was never diagnosed due to her weight.

"Society hates women especially fat women," she wrote in her Tweet.

Another user pointed out how perception shifts when your weight is different.

The user wrote, "my doctor told me it wasn't worth treating me until I lose weight. Never mind that until I got sick I was so thin people thought I had an eating disorder."

Weight can even come in the picture for something completely unrelated.

A user shared how her doctor brought up weight when she was being treated for burns and injuries due to a car accident. You'd think that the two would have nothing to do with each other.

Many people have to change doctors multiple times before they find one who addresses their issues.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a doctor's whole job to run tests to see if there are any actual issues with their patients?

For women, weight and menstrual issues can be severely undermedicated.

Weight gain and difficulty losing weight are common symptoms of PCOS. It's also a condition that's commonly underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed in women. For many women, it seems like their doctors simply don't care.

It's amazing (and sad) how people treat you differently when you lose weight.

A user shared, "I know weight stigma is real because I lost 140 pounds and suddenly everyone wants to help me instead of dismissing everything as a weight issue."

Listening to stories where women's pain isn't taken seriously really sucks.

It's very aggravating to know that, not only do doctors dismiss women's pain as "menstrual pain," but they also dismiss mensural pain as something you don't need to worry about that much.

Fun fact: serious and debilitating menstrual pain isn't "normal."

One user shared the story of a friend whose menstrual pain wasn't taken seriously because "it’s 'normal' for some women to have such pain." The only problem with that is, it isn't normal at all and can be the sign of something seriously wrong.

In this case of this user's friend, it ended up being serious.

It's absolutely terrifying to know that, for whatever reason, a doctor could decide not to treat you because they don't take your concerns or outright pain seriously.

These same issues can apply to kids, too!

I'm no expert on kids, but I do feel like you should take their pain seriously, too. Even if a child doesn't "seem" like they're in pain, that doesn't mean they aren't.

The intersection between weight stigma and menstrual dismissal is pretty scary.

It's definitely sad how many doctors treat weight gain as the problem, instead of a potential symptom to a much larger problem. Losing weight can't help with everything.

Age can be a huge factor, too.

"My psoriatic arthritis went undiagnosed for years because doctors would walk in, see a 20yo girl, and immediately say my pain was from an injury I couldn't remember," this user said.

Just because something is uncommon for young people, doesn't mean it can't happen.

There are many diseases and conditions that are generally associate with age (like arthritis and general pain). But that doesn't mean people in their teens, twenties, or thirties can't get them!

Some doctors value a woman's ability to reproduce more than the woman herself.

In discussing her struggles with endometriosis, a woman shared that her doctor "Won't give me a hysterectomy because I 'haven't completed my family.'"

If only that doctor could realize that giving birth to kids isn't the only way to "complete" a family.

For many, doctors can be downright condescending.

This user shared the story of how Covid-related shortness of breath was dismissed as obesity-related, which is both demeaning, and just plain nonsensical. Especially since it ended up being pneumonia (which can be life threatening).

For some, not even losing weight can get doctors to take them seriously.

This user did everything right, and yet was still told not to worry about a lump that ended up being cancer. Weight stigma is real, but some doctors also don't care enough about women.

And of course, mental health is oftentimes dismissed, too.

Or, serious health issues could be dismissed as mental illness. Either way, mental health (and physical health) should be taken seriously in every single case. But I guess that would be too much to ask for.