Words: Sophie Henderson
Feature Image: Raw Pixel
Suzannah Weiss, the feminist writer who currently serves as an editor at Complex, has taken to Twitter to discuss the hardships women face when seeking medical diagnosis and treatment. The post, which was published earlier this month, has sparked a viral conversation allowing fellow females to join the discussion and identify with one another.
Weiss asked women how long and how many doctors it took them to get diagnosed. She has obviously struck a chord with a growing number of people who feel ignored by their doctor in terms of their own physical and mental health, particularly in regards to female-related illness. The all-important question at the heart of the discussion followed: are women’s symptoms regularly dismissed by doctors?
Women with chronic illnesses: how long & how many doctors did it take you to get diagnosed? I counted 11 months & 17 doctors & wrote down what each did to show what we go through just to begin to heal. pic.twitter.com/2TJ7FOyH3B
— Suzannah Weiss (@suzannahweiss) October 16, 2018
In response, she continued:
“Women, PoC, NB folks, & LGBTQ people with chronic illnesses are criticised for self-diagnosing, but the reason we self-diagnose is that those charged with diagnosing us are biased against us and don’t understand issues that disproportionately affect us.
“We get called hypochondriacs when what we really are is empowered and determined to love and care for ourselves.
“We’re deemed irrational for turning to alternative medicine, but conventional MDs rush us out, dismiss our concerns, and prescribe things that make us worse.
“This is a feminist issue. We are sick, suffering, & even dying because people still can’t trust our knowledge of our own bodies.”
Using the hashtag #MyDoctorSaid, Weiss asked for people to share their own intimate and disparaging moments with medical staff.
#mydoctorsaid “you can’t come to the ER everytime you have anxiety” as my BPM was 188, HR was 144/88, for over 48 hours, continuously. I was peeing pure blood. They sent me home and told me “women have worse periods than me.” I was not in my period. I have a liver tumor.
— NikkiNightmare (@NikkiCarruthers) October 26, 2018
#MyDoctorSaid that I could straighten my fingers if I just tried. #MyDoctorSaid it was only a burst cyst. There was no need for dramatics. #MyDoctorSaid there was no reason why the tumor pressing on my nerves should be causing me pain
— Jennifer Leavey (@everydayangle) October 26, 2018
#MyDoctorSaid my period pain and out of control bleeding was all in my head. Two years later, stage 4 endometriosis and down to one working ovary. Still recovering from my second surgery in 12 months.
— Kari (@myyellowbikini) October 30, 2018
As told in Stylist, this is not unique to American healthcare. In the UK, a 51-page report has been issued suggesting that thousands of women in the UK suffering from endometriosis or fibroids feel dismissed and/ or ignored. The issue is widespread, and Twitter has once again justified a mass concern.