When it comes to the realm of medical research, women’s bodies have been consistently overlooked and their concerns often downplayed. For many women, the unfortunate reality is that they are frequently ignored and, in some cases, gaslit into disregarding their own bodies’ signals. Instead of receiving appropriate medical attention, they are often told that their issues can be easily resolved through lifestyle changes or even dismissed altogether. To shed light on this issue and foster a better understanding of women’s health, we have compiled a series of confessions from women who have experienced medical gaslighting.

  1. “Once, I sought medical help due to extreme fatigue, which had me sleeping for more than 16 hours a day. The doctor promptly attributed it to depression and prescribed the highest doses of antidepressants, even adding a second one later. I contested this diagnosis, knowing it wasn’t the root cause. Seeking a second opinion, I discovered I had severe sleep apnea. The solution was a CPAP machine, but it took a considerable amount of time to wean off the unnecessary medications.”
  2. “I am responsible for my elderly mother’s care, and despite her sound mental state, I have to accompany her to the hospital for any emergencies or procedures. If I don’t, there’s a tendency to insinuate that her issues are ‘all in her head.’ On one occasion, a doctor even referred her to a psychologist. When I am present, they sometimes ignore her entirely and address me instead. I must constantly redirect their attention to my mother.”
  3. “A few years ago, at the age of 32, I went to the emergency room due to severe nausea and rectal bleeding. Shockingly, one doctor had the audacity to suggest that it might be due to my period. I stared him directly in the eyes, speechless. Sir…I have been experiencing menstrual cycles for two decades. I know exactly where it originates and how it feels.”
  4. “While in the hospital for managing pain caused by a large ovarian cyst, I requested a gastrointestinal consultation for unusual abdominal pain. Despite my persistent requests, my OB/GYN refused and instead recommended psychiatric evaluation. Unbeknownst to her, I had been dealing with Crohn’s disease for several years. I contacted my colorectal surgeon, who promptly took over my care and arranged a GI consultation. After being relieved of my OB/GYN, she visited me in my hospital room, sitting at my bedside and uttered the words, ‘So you finally got what you wanted. You have an OB and now GI and surgery are involved. Should we bring in musculoskeletal specialists too?’ These words left me utterly flabbergasted. The next day, the GI doctor ordered an endoscopy, revealing severe ulceration and bleeding in a section of my intestine. I underwent surgery to remove that affected portion a few days later. What remains most bewildering is that my OB/GYN was a woman herself. Despite my diagnosed medical condition, she led me to question my sanity. Even the psychiatric evaluation revealed no mental health issues. The entire ordeal still baffles me.”
  5. “My daughter began experiencing stomach pain at the age of 11, and I diligently took her to the doctor seeking answers. However, her symptoms were consistently diagnosed and treated as anxiety for a whole year before her condition deteriorated to the point where she needed hospitalization. Only then was she diagnosed with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. I had been adamant that her ailment was something different, but early blood tests showing normal results led them to suggest Prozac and yoga instead.”

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