Do you think that women are not taken as seriously and symptoms dismissed more quickly?

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Marie-Claire
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 900
   Posted 7/20/2007 12:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello everyone.
I post in both the crohn's disease forum and the Ms one . I was diagnosed with CD 30 years ago...and now have been told I have "probable MS'>
My question is this: Do you feel that women are dismissed more quickly, or not taken as seriously when it comes to neurological symptoms or even "tummy" problems. ?Do you think that women have to complain longer, louder to get results. ? Just a thought.
Are men diagnosed more quickly than women?
Just wondering.
Mary confused
50 yr.old retired RN,Crohn's D for last35 yrs..severe esophagitis, migraines,strictures,urethral stricture,depression,probable MS.
 
 


uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 7/20/2007 4:52 AM (GMT -6)   
I've not ever felt like a doctor has dismissed my symptoms, or me, more quickly because I am a woman. But then, I tend to not go to a doctor until I really am ill, and I am very straightforward and matter-of-fact, unemotional, and focused. I respect the fact that the doctor has very limited time (these days around 20 minutes per patient if all goes well!), so I leave out emotional stuff and just present the facts of whatever is bothering me. I usually get what I need pretty quickly, and I'm on my way.
...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


jeshurun
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/20/2007 4:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Isn't it great that men don't get emotional over their illnesses? After all, if we could all be like men, as the professor said in "My Fair Lady," it would solve most of our problems, especially wasting our doctor's doctor's precious time. I have found that I could not control my emotions while I was in the downward spiral of an exacerbation that included severe depression. But, of course, that just makes me a weak old woman in the eyes of "our superiors" including most doctors. They have seldom wanted to know about my feelings and fears. A prescription will cure everything all of that. You just take the medication and can be very ill but you will feel very good about it. But there is one exception. If you mention thoughts of suicide to them you may get their attention. Over a life time I have had several very bad experiences with doctors, one concerning an issue with a certain female, my teenage daughter. For two years, I told him she was having severe headaches. For two years, he told me she was a nerotic female trying to get attention. Toward the end of this time, my daughter told me she was in such pain she was thinking about suicide. We had a dentist appointment that week so I mentioned the problem to him. He promptly sent her to a specialist with a new Xray machine. She was diagosed with TMJ and began treatment immeiately which saved her life. Poor doctor? Poor training in dealing with females? I don't know. I only know that much of the time in my experience, my non-specific medical problems (no bleeding, broken bones, no fever etc.) have been "easily explained"
by my emotional nature and my lack of intelligence-I'm blond- which made me want to scream. (my IQ was officially documented by a registered psychologist in the 1970s as 148.) Of course, it has been explained to me by well meaning people that it could be four points less due to scoring error. To which I reply, Yes, and it could be 4 points more, NU? (Thats Hebrew for Yes?) Don't let their arrogance get you down. Do your home work, speak up, don't let their cool, detached and taciturn demeanor deter you from getting the treatment you are paying for. They are not gods though many think they are. Even my dentist agrees with me on that. :>) I hope I have made you smile at least once!Woman, you deserve the best!!!!

Marie-Claire
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 900
   Posted 7/21/2007 1:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for your replies.
I've posted this same question on the crohns forum and got a mixed bag of opinions. CD deals with a lot of tummy problems which I guess for women could be hormonal etc....
Wonder if MS patients have gotten the same responses. ?
Just a thought...will keep checking this thread...see what people think. It's always good to get other people's opinions and feelings...gives you something to think about.'
Mary
50 yr.old retired RN,Crohn's D for last35 yrs..severe esophagitis, migraines,strictures,urethral stricture,depression,probable MS.
 
 


Shashi
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 156
   Posted 7/21/2007 7:41 AM (GMT -6)   
My husband and I were recently in the market for a new primary care provider.  We saw an internal medicine doctor who was very convenient to our home with high hopes that he'd be who we needed.
 
We were allowed to have a "joint" appointment, and the doctor did great with my husband.  He went over his medications and his complaints, made suggestions on a few things and tweaked his meds a bit.  I was impressed with his knowledge and competency - until he got to me.
 
I handed him my symptom list and journal which my neurologist has me keep so she can monitor any progression of whatever it is that I have. (I haven't been diagnosed yet.)  He took one look and said that I needed to lighten up and that I was obsessive.  (I'm probably the least obsessive person on the planet!  eyes )  He then went through and dismissed most (but not all) of my symptoms as being caused by anxiety.  (At that time I was taking an antidepressant my neurologist prescribed to help give me a bit of energy and Valium for dizziness.  How the heck could any anxiety symptoms get through those two meds?!)  He also changed my antidepressant without consulting my neurologist. Needless to say, I was very upset at this appointment and we didn't go back to him.
 
We just found a new doctor yesterday who is wonderful!  He's very down-to-earth, easy to talk to, and has a great sense of humor, as does his whole staff. As he was reviewing my medical history, I told him I had an undiagnosed neurological problem. He laughed and told me that was typical with neurological problems. When I told him I'd been dealing with these symptoms for about a year, he said that even after a year, I was still early into the diagnostic process and that it could take several years before I found out what was going on. He also said my symptoms do sound like MS.

As it turns out, his wife, who's name is Lisa too, has MS and sees the same neurologist (who is an MS specialist) that I do. Since he lives with MS on a daily basis, hopefully this will give him more empathy for my situation, along with a unique understanding of the symptoms I have and the medications I take or need.

For instance, he prescribed Provigil for me. I told him that our other family doctor had prescribed it before, but my insurance company wouldn't pay for it because they said that it wasn't approved for MS-related fatigue. I've done some research on it though, and it IS approved for sleep apnea, which I was just diagnosed with a few weeks ago. So, we're going to try to get it for me to combat this horrible fatigue I have on a daily basis. He was telling me that his wife takes it, and it really helps her without giving her the jitters that other meds of this type can do.
 
Anyway, to answer your original question, yes, I feel that some doctors, though not all (thank goodness!), are quick to dismiss women's symptoms more quickly.  It's sad that in this day and age that this still happens.  That's why I'm glad my neurologist (an MS specialist) is female.  She's never made me feel that my problems weren't important.


Hugs,
 
Lisa ~
 
Living in Limboland!
 
I may not know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.

Post Edited (Shashi) : 7/21/2007 7:43:16 AM (GMT-6)


DFC
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 136
   Posted 7/21/2007 8:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Marie-Claire, jeshurun, Shashi
I really liked your postings...we really deserve the best whether we are women or men. My emotions let me down when I am spiraling downward physically and I am confused and/or fatigued. I still try (if I am able) to ask intelligent questions or share thought provocating ways of dealing with my disease. Where does it say that because we are emotional that we deserve inferior treatment, or even worse still, arrogance or apathy from the medical system or that we are wasting their time? Having said that try to have your questions written down before you go to the doctor, and tell her/him you need know what to do to get the best answers to deal with your symptoms. Oh course we are emotional!! MS can play havoc with our emotional control and the doctor should be told when you are not having a good day. Don't apologize for being emotional. Heck, someone with a painful break in his/her leg would not be expected to apologize for being in pain. Nor would that patient be dismissed as being neurotic. When we are summarily dismissed as being drama queens, neurotic, or attention seeking hypercondriacs it makes us question our sanity even when we know something doesn't feel or perform right. Does this sound familiar to those in limboland who don't yet have a firm diagnosis. Maybe it feels like reliving a nightmare for those that are newly diagnosed. Many of us can probably remember when we finally were dianosed because, not we wre happy to have MS, but to realise we were right all the time and not losing our minds. Some of we veterans should try to remember how scary it was at first. I include myself in that group...I ever have to be mindful that at least I now know. Hang in there and fight the good fight by being pesistent and try to remember when you have a flareup especially with new symptoms what were the results and what was affected. Sorry for my rant but as a woman I want to be taken seriously as men get taken when they have a heart attack or just looking for a treatment for erectile dysfuntion. We deserve no less treatment, emotional or not. Dale:)

Cheryl1018
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2003
Total Posts : 267
   Posted 7/23/2007 11:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Definately. I have had problems all my life starting with severe mentrual issues before I was even a teen, and then endometriosis, IBD, migraines, severe joint pain - and for the most part its like "well, could be your hormones" or not sure what the diagnosis is. My hubby goes to the doc with any type of issue and he is taken very seriously. I am a volunteer support contact for the Endo Assoc. and I see it all the time, how women are not taken seriously.
Complete Hysterectomy 1991 due to Endo
Fibro/IBD
Migraines - bad ones!! Ow.
Save a life - adopt a shelter dog!!
 


DFC
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 136
   Posted 7/23/2007 3:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Cheryl ... I too had a radical hysterectomy due to endometriosis in 95...2 years before I was diagnosed with MS. I learned early in my teen years not to complain about menstrual cramps. What would be the use as no one listen anyway if one did. Glad you are doing volunteer work as it is good for the soul don't you think?Couldn't help but notice your "adopt a shelter dog". I have a black and tan minature dacshie that I love dearly which I got from " dachshund rescue" when she was 4 years old. That was 2 years ago and she is definitely my fur baby. My family had standard dachshunds when I was a girl growing up, so it seemed like the logical choice...but I digress. Women aren't taken seriously maybe because we are emotional, but that does not mean we should be disrespected or ignored. Women are who they are and if we weren't the world can kiss itself goodbye. Many women are not emotional and that is okay because that is who they are...but many of us are and that is also okay as that is who we are. A little bit of empathy goes a long way and is a far cry from sympathy. The humidity is making me cranky so I had better end this rant. Sorry all!!! Dale

new to the club
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/24/2007 3:15 PM (GMT -6)   
For what it's worth, as a dude, I've had my symptoms dismissed twice in the last 6 months. Once by a male gp (pre-diagnosis, I had to ask for the MRI) and once by my neurologist's female nurse recently (post diagnosis). Though quite emotionally volitile lately in regards to my new found syndrome as most of us are, I always try to be clinical and objective when describing my symptoms, and I have lately begun to think that I am not taken seriously because I DO NOT sound all that upset.

Take that for what it's worth, perhaps this is only one guy's experience.

DFC
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 136
   Posted 7/24/2007 7:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi New to the club,

Thanks for the male insight. I think we should all feel what it is like to be in someone else's shoes. Thanks for reminding me of that. When were you diagnosed and how are you doing? Try telling your doctor that although you appear calm you are really very concerned with your diagnosis and need some really relevant support and information. Do you belong to a MS society? It is not my thing as I am introverted and too many people around me freaks me out. I am better in one on one situations as are most of my siblings. Don't know why as there were 7 kids in the family..think we would be used to crowds...and I even have 4 children...talk about a crowd...what was I thinking?? lol...there goes that warped sense of humour again...as my coworkers say " Today Dale you are definately in Brat mode" which today is so true. It is the only thing that keeps me from losing my mind...hmmm? Take care and thanks again for the male point of view and experiences. PS: I wouldn't trade my kids in for anything and even though I don't like crowds I do love my kids dearly!! Dale
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