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The misdiagnosis epidemic among women

Women are much more likely to be misdiagnosed than men are. The most missed diagnoses for women include endometriosis, PCOS, heart attack/heart disease, autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, pain disorders and even stroke.

Why is this?

There is an attitude in medicine that many women have symptoms that can be attributed to gynecological issues or doctors feel women are overreacting and dismiss other possible causes for their complaints. Some studies even suggest that male doctors have difficulty identifying with female symptoms in general, which often leads to the idea that women are exaggerating or aren't actually experiencing the symptoms they feel. This especially happens with hormonal symptoms and oddly enough, pain.

Over 75% of autoimmune diseases occur in women. You may be surprised to learn that on average it takes a woman with an autoimmune condition about 5 different doctors and 4.6 years to receive an accurate diagnosis. This is partially due to these old beliefs in healthcare and lack of education regarding female symptomatology. This is completely unacceptable.

There is also a lot less research based on women. It was standard for decades to conduct randomized controlled trials on men only. Many drugs were only ever tested on men! It wasn't until 1993 that a law was passed requiring clinical trials to include women and it still hasn't been 100% implemented in research.

Women tend to have different symptoms for certain diseases than men do. An example of this is a heart attack. Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, lightheadedness, feeling of indigestion or heartburn, sense of impending doom, weakness, jaw, arm and back pain when experiencing a heart attack. These symptoms are often dismissed by health professionals. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself, ask questions, get another opinion or another doctor. Trust your body, don't ignore symptoms and find someone willing to listen to you.


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