In recent years, there has been a focus on the way women are treated in medical settings. There have been reports that women aren’t believed when they seek help from doctors.
In fact, in 2022, the Women’s Health Strategy for England reported that more than 4 in 5 (84%) women had at times felt that their healthcare professionals were not listening to them.
With this issue being so prevalent, what can be done to make advocating for our health possible?
Understanding common illnesses
The imbalance in the way women are being treated means that symptoms that they are presenting with aren’t necessarily being picked up as a certain illness or condition.
Therefore, misdiagnosis is more likely as some medical professionals aren’t paying attention. This, in turn, can have negative consequences for women who are already in pain and can lead to medical negligence claims being made.
One way to get past this could be to educate women in common health issues. By doing this, it’s possible to see a medical expert armed with the correct information.
Here are some of the main issues to be aware of:
Breast and cervical cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK. If you are registered with a GP as female, you will be invited for NHS breast screening every three years between the ages of 50 and 71.
Cervical screening (a smear test) helps prevent cervical cancer and is offered to women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64.
It’s so important that you attend these screenings. It’s also vital that you check your breasts regularly for lumps and look out for any changes that could be related to your cervix.
This condition affects women of reproductive age. Tissue that’s similar to the lining of the womb begins to grow in places such as the fallopian tubes or the ovaries. This triggers the painful symptoms.
For those with the condition, pain tends to be in the tummy and back, and this typically worsens during a period. The pain can be debilitating and can impact everyday life and typical activities. There’s no cure, however there are treatments that can help with symptoms.
Cardiovascular disease can be fatal for anyone. However, those assigned female at birth are at higher risk due to hormonal and anatomical differences.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and even menopause can all affect the heart too. Regular exercise, eating healthy and stopping smoking and drinking alcohol if you do those things can help reduce the risk of a heart attack.
However, if you have a heart condition, or you suspect you do, go to your GP immediately. It’s especially important that you know the symptoms of a heart attack, including central chest pain or discomfort in the chest that doesn’t go away, and pain that radiates down the left arm, or both arms, or to the neck, jaw, back or stomach.
Women are being let down by medical professionals. Understanding common conditions could be helpful.