The feminine Dilemma in healthcare: Common vs normal

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There are quite a number of ways I have wanted to say all of this. I am a naturopathic medical student who is flabbergasted by healthcare for woman in the United State. I personally have dealt with an immense amount of shame, pain and guilt regarding the health of my own body. This type of behavior needs to stop.

Woman are given powerful bodies. Bodies that can create a new human. Just take a moment to think about that. Now because of the biological fact, pain is a part of the feminine struggle. If you desire to have children, pain is inevitable. Yes you can take drugs and get injections, but at some point and from some part of the process pain is involved. I personally feel that because of this biological fact it has common acceptance that woman will perpetual be in pain and we just don’t care. Painful periods, painful migraines, painful side-effect from prescriptions. It is as if the world has stated “ Well you can handle it, right?.”

I have dealt with so many health related issues in regards to feminine health. I have been embarrassed for asking about information.

A month ago I went to a medical doctor. I usually see a naturopath for treatment, but my insurance covers labs more often from allopathic physicians. So i book ed an appointment and showed up to see the physician. I talked about my concerns, one of them being in my left lower quadrant. In my medical student head I was running through diagnosis most of them improbable and some of them more relevant. I needed tests to prove anything. I reported pain on my abdominal exam which was ignored. I spoke of the pain being pretty severe once of twice a month. the reponse:

That’s pretty normal

I'm serious. The response was: that is normal. No suggestion of a treatment option. No further questions. She mumbled something about my ovary. They literally just shrugged off my pain as nuisance to a visit.

Let's let that settle in. Pain should never be the normal. Living my life every month (in this specific case every two week ) does not have to be "NORMAL". It is COMMON for woman to experience menstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms. Pain is not normal. It is not way of life if you have a vagina. It isn't an excuse to for the medical field to ignore you or put you on birth control. It is it always something that can be treated. No. Should you feel shame for having to take ibuprofen for your cramps every month? No.

I am simply refuse to believe healthcare should be limited to the time it takes to post on instagram. It should be personal. It should be from people that care about the emotional, mental and physical well-being of each person. A patient should be able to ask question. I personally think this is how care for woman should be.

I have a running joke with my husband that woman get ignored in medicine. During my gynecology class there many times when my husband would ask me, "That is really unnecessary and painful, why haven't we come up with anything else" My snarky response to him was "Because they are woman and we don't care."

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I used to think I was purely kidding. That medicine wasn't that cold. That woman's experiences were not completely ignored. That new testing and procedures were being developed to help woman. The reality: Medicine accepts a lot of status quo. Change is difficult. Especially in a purely evidence based model (not saying that it bad thing. It is just the reality of life in medicine). And guess what birth control isn't a magical cure all and yet so many woman are given this suggestion and no more.

Medicine is changing. There are so many tangible things that help woman feel better including diet, exercise, acupuncture, herbs, supplement. So many. But it is something that has been individualized by a licensed professional with training the alternative treatments. It is something that I cannot wait to help people with in my not-so-distance feeling. I think the next step in feminism the dialogue around woman's health and I can’t wait for the day when abortion is not the center piece.