Women’s Specific Health Needs

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The health care needs of women are too often either overlooked or misunderstood. Women are more likely to dismissed as hysterical or faking it when they go to a doctor’s office or emergency room complaining of pain. According to one study, 1 in 10 women have endometriosis, a painful condition that can affect fertility, but, on average, it takes a woman seven or eight years before she gets correctly diagnosed with that endometriosis. Women may be afraid to speak up about their pain for fear they won’t be taken seriously, especially if medical professionals have dismissed their concerns before. Sometimes, a woman’s boyfriend or husband may be listened to more than the woman being treated. Fighting back often means both getting creative and staying persistent.

Specialized care

The good news is that more and more medical groups are realizing that women are being treated unequally. That’s led to more and more medical offices devoted exclusively to serving the needs of women. Places like Vanguard Medical Group Women’s Health Services in New Jersey go beyond gynecology and obstetrics to focus on all aspects of female wellness. Ailments like depression affect women more often than men, while other diseases have symptoms that may present themselves differently in men than in women. Women need doctors, nurses, and other health professionals who will truly listen to them, rather than just nod and pretend to take notes.

If your doctor doesn’t seem to be listening to your concerns or has made sexist remarks, feel free to speak up. Searching for a different care provider is a hassle, but it may be the quickest way to get the care you deserve. You can even report your doctor to the state’s medical board if you feel like he or she really crossed a line and deserve to be punished for it.

Risk factors

Women also carry some unique risk factors for certain diseases and conditions. Any woman who has ever taken birth control pills knows that hormonal birth control can be a risk factor for strokes. Then again, so can pregnancy in general. Pregnancy is a risk factor for an alarming amount of conditions, but having something exist in a woman’s body can feel uniquely perilous, regardless of fertility status.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. There’s evidence that women are almost twice as likely as men to receive regular dental check-ups, as well as schedule the recommended follow-up treatments. Broadly speaking, a woman who is told she has a cavity is more likely to go to the front desk and make an appointment for a filling, while a man is more likely to walk out of the dental office and never look back. There could be several reasons for that. Some men can feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness. They’d rather just muddle through on their own and hope things resolve spontaneously. That works OK for a small cut on the finger, but it doesn’t work very well when there’s a broken leg or a missing tooth. The former requires a trip to either an urgent care clinic or a hospital; the latter requires some quality cosmetic dentistry, possibly in the form of a permanent dental implant. Both genders have the right to ask for the help they need and then receive it in a timely manner, ideally from a doctor who sees them as a person rather than a living embodiment of harmful stereotypes.

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