When you think of the medical system, what comes to mind? Do you view healthcare as the system that helps you get better when you’re sick? A system you can count on to treat illnesses, no matter how tricky the symptoms are?
For many of us, this is how we view healthcare. If a doctor can’t heal us, then who can?
But what if the healthcare system pacified you or let you down in some way? And you didn’t get the help and healing you wanted and needed.
This can be difficult to accept. It may even feel like a betrayal to some.
Perhaps even more difficult to accept, is learning that this system we put so much faith and hope into, has built-in gender and racial biases.
How Medical Biases Lead to Misdiagnoses and Underdiagnoses
For years, western medicine has failed to recognize that there are biological differences between men and women. This has led to numerous health-related problems for us women.
In addition, medical research has historically excluded women from clinical trials. This occurred over concerns of getting “complicated results” due to variations in hormones throughout our menstrual cycle.
Failing to see women as biologically different then men and excluding women from scientific research and studies has made it difficult to effectively treat a woman. These critical mistakes and oversights lead to countless misdiagnoses and underdiagnoses.
Examples of gender biases
There are countless examples of women who’ve been pacified, women who’ve experienced gaslighting, and women who’ve straight-up been ignored by the healthcare system.
In two words — gender biases.
Let’s look at some examples together.
1. On average, it takes eight years to diagnose women with endometriosis. This along with several other factors prompted Scotland’s government to create a women’s health care plan. Not only to significantly reduce the diagnosis time for endometriosis but to provide care and support for a woman who’s miscarried, to offer specialist menopause services, along with many other health services.
2. Women get diagnosed with heart disease seven to ten years longer than men. By the time they receive their diagnosis, many women have developed other chronic illnesses as well.
3. There are concerns with prescription drugs causing complications in women since most of the participants chosen for pharmaceutical studies are men. According to Aditi Bhargava, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, “the process of developing drugs using only males of a species in pre-clinical studies likely contributes to the higher rates of adverse drug reactions in women compared to men.”
4. During a prolapse examination, doctors ask women to lay down. This makes absolutely no sense because many symptoms, such as pain, pressure, and bulging, go away when lying down. So, how are doctors supposed to assess the prolapse properly while in this position? They can’t!
5. When it comes to PMS, the system fails us yet again. Rather than trying to understand and connect the symptoms to a particular root cause, whether that be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual in nature, we’re handed a pill and sent home. For me, I was given birth control pills as a way to mask my symptoms. I didn’t know it at the time by the synthetic hormones in these pills created havoc in my hormonal system. I took the pill for 9 years and when I finally stopped, it took eight months just for my periods to normalize, and several years to get my hormones back in balance.
So, here we’ve highlighted just a few examples of the gender bias at play. Could you imagine if we reported all the ways the system has let women down?
It would be totally devastating.
How We Can Remedy These Biases by Learning From Ancient Medicine
Chinese Medicine, a system with a 3,000 plus year history, acknowledged that it was 10 times more complex to treat a woman than a man.
On one hand, Chinese Medicine has a much longer history than Western Medicine. But, as we cited earlier, critical mistakes have been made in our modern healthcare system due to negligence and the biased patriarchal influence that’s inherent in our culture.
As a result, women’s health has been gravely affected and deserves immediate attention and rectification.
Yet, most of us don’t have time to sit around and wait for the medical system to “get things right this time.”
This is where Women Cycles comes in
Many women, like the teachers on our platform, had no other choice but to take matters into their own hands and learn to heal themselves. Fortunately, holistic modalities, like Chinese Medicine, helped them find the answers and solutions to their health issues.
But the journey to health wasn’t an easy one, and it was lonely for most. These are two of the many reasons Women Cycles was created.
Our platform connects women who are struggling with anything from puberty through post-menopause. In addition, Women Cycles shares in-depth knowledge on various health issues, offers companionship and support, while providing inspiration and hope.
If you’ve been dismissed or ignored by the healthcare system and want to connect with a community of women that will care about you, take a look at our library of health courses and programs and join today!