When it comes to medical research, women’s bodies have been largely dismissed. The truth, for many women, is that we’re ignored and oftentimes gaslit into ignoring our own body’s cues. We’re mostly told that our issue is something that can easily be fixed with lifestyle changes. Or pretty much told to f*ck off. Yep, that’s about it. Which is why, we’ve curated this list of confessions by women who have shared times they were medically gaslit, it may just offer you insight to support your health better.
1. “I once went to a doctor complaining of extreme fatigue. Like, sleeping 16+ hours a day. Got told it was just depression. I tried to argue, saying it was not. Got put on the largest dose of a medication for depression, then they added a second. I got a second opinion. Turns out it was actually severe sleep apnea. A CPAP fixed my issues but it took forever to wean down from all the medication.”
2. “I have my elderly mother living with us. Even though she is bright and completely with it, I have to go to the hospital with her for any emergencies or procedures, if I don’t it either gets implied that it is all in her head or in one instance, a doctor referred her to a psychologist. When I go with her, they try to ignore her, and talk to me. I have to constantly point them to my mother.”
3. “I went to the ER a few years ago, I was I think 32 at the time, because I was nauseous and shitting blood. This motherf*cker had the audacity to ask if I was sure it wasn’t just my period. I stared at him straight in the eyeballs and was speechless. Sir…sir. I have been having periods for 20 years. I know which hole it comes out of and what it feels like.”
4. “While in the hospital to manage pain from a very large ovarian cyst, I requested a GI consultation (gastrointestinal) for abdominal pain that felt different. It had been going on for a while and I wanted to be seen by a GI doctor. My OB/GYN denied the consultation repeatedly but when I insisted, she finally got me a consultation, and sent psych. I had had CD for several years. So, I texted my colorectal surgeon and within 15 minutes, he took over my care until I could get a GI consultation the next day.
After being fired, my OB/GYN came up to my room, sat at my bedside and said, ‘So you finally got what you wanted. You’ve got an OB and now GI and surgery are involved. Should we get specialists for musculoskeletal too?’ I shit you not, those were her words. I sat there in my hospital bed in disbelief. When I saw the GI doctor the next day, they ordered an endoscopy and discovered a section of my intestine was heavily ulcerated and bleeding. I had surgery to remove that piece of intestine a couple days later. The part of this that really gets to me is that my OB/GYN was a woman. I had a diagnosed health condition and she made me believe I was insane. Even when psych did come up to my room, the man said he wasn’t sure why he was there because I seemed to be of sound mind. The entire experience still boggles my mind.”
5. “My daughter was 11 when I started taking her to the doctor for stomach pain. It was diagnosed and treated as anxiety for an entire year before she landed in the hospital and was diagnosed with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. I kept insisting it was something else, but since her blood-work early on looked fine, they told us to try Prozac and yoga.”
6. “Dismissed on and off my whole life. Ended up having Crohn’s and a near fatal chronic heart condition. It sucks SO badly to have to constantly fight to be heard, but please advocate for yourself. You know your body and you know when something simply isn’t right.”
7. “I was unlucky to get a stroke and I met so many women from all over the world who were sent home instead of being properly checked, some while having stroke… ‘It’s just a migraine, neck pain, panic attacks.’ and any excuse in the world… it’s scary as hell.”
8. “I was diagnosed in the 80s and I really have to give it to my mother and the doctor I had at the time. I was 9 and going through issues and at the same time my mom saw an interview on Oprah – of all places – with someone that had Crohn’s. She recognized the symptoms I had and asked my pediatrician to get me tested. One screaming blood test later I was seeing a GI for the rest of my life. I see so many people close to us get the runaround, especially women or people of color, when they are trying to get their symptoms diagnosed. It’s terrible and for some can be deadly.”
9. “I’ve experienced medical gaslighting a few times over my 12 year CD journey. It’s horrible when it happens and when you’re proved right there’s never any acknowledgement of it.”
10. “When I was really very unwell after a close relatives death, I had to BEG the doctor to let me have time off, and he made me go back every week for an extended sick note in an obvious show of ‘I think you’re lying.’ My ex went to the doctors’ to say he was really stressed with work once and they immediately gave him SSRIs, got him a therapist and prescribed him Xanax, something that they don’t even really like giving out here (I’ve had severe anxiety for like 15 years and have never once been given Xanax in case I have a bad day). It all felt like such a slap in the face.”
11. “My sister had a cyst the size of a small grapefruit on her ovary that had twisted, and the doctor dismissed her. Somehow it was also missed on ultrasound. They went to another doctor and finally they found it. She had the cyst and ovary removed in emergency surgery.”
How sad is this?