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Sexism in Chronic Pain Treatment? - ABC News Video Clip

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Wayne, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

    Ashland, Oregon
    I thought the following 2 1/2 minute video segment on ABC News last night was quite interesting. It mentions that an age old gender bias has existed against women dating back to ancient Greece, when women's health issues were generally regarded as emotional problems and "hysteria" (thus the medical term hysterectomy). Sadly, it seems not all that much has changed in the intervening 2500 years.

    Thank goodness there's more and more women doctors (and women news reporters) who will be in positions of being able to change some of these age-old perceptions. This makes me wonder whether women doctors have been generally more accepting of pwCFS and/or FM, since it seems women are more affected by these illnesses than men.

    Sexism in Chronic Pain Treatment?

    Best Regards, Wayne
  2. maddietod

    maddietod Senior Member

    East Coast, USA
    Good find; thanks, Wayne!
  3. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

    N. California
    Hi Wayne--

    Yes, history has a strange and sometimes ugly way of repeating itself.

    It was the Catholic Church in collusion with the blossoming medical profession, that was responsible for the witch burnings that took place in Europe for 300 years, beginning in the 14th century. Some people call this the women's holocaust because the majority of those who were tried, tortured and executed for the crime of witchcraft were women. Particularly at risk were midwives and herbalists--aka the village wise women, who were often more respected than the village priests, and whom the Church looked upon with contempt for easing the pain of childbirth, which they considered punishment for "Eve's sin." There were few records kept of the trials and witch burnings, but the high estimate is 9 million. In some places entire villages were eliminated. Five generations of children watched their mothers burn at the stake.

    I wonder how much of this terror was past on to the following generations? And how much of it remains in our collective memory? And how much it influences our collective attitudes towards women even now?

    The women doctors I have known have been mostly as non-accepting of ME/CFS as the male doctors. The training they get in medical school does NOTHING to educate them about this disease. I had one alternative doctor, who was both an MD and a Ph.D Naturopath (back in 2003) tell me I needed to do affirmations that "I don't have CFS," and when I laughed and told her that was ridiculous, she stormed out of the room in a huff. I had another female doctor (back in the '90's) instruct me to make sure I got enough exercise, because as she put it, "anyone who doesn't exercise will never get over CFS." And there is one other female doctor I know who was absolutely dreadful at reducing my illness to nothing more than depression and who became furious with me for not taking "the necessary medications."

    So I don't think gender is the issue. Intelligence doesn't guarantee understanding, and it certainly doesn't guarantee compassion. All of the above seem to be in short supply in the medical profession. If you find an exception, it's like winning the lottery.
  4. Calathea

    Calathea Senior Member

    I have met both good and bad doctors. The good ones are rare enough to be treasured. The bad ones can be either women or men, but there is a certain mindset which I have only ever encountered amongst male doctors. It may be typified by the so-called ME specialist who told me, as if this explained my medical problems, "I have a wife and four daughters - I understand all about women." I have friends who are doctors or nurses and they all report a lot of institutional sexism, and incidentally racism, in the medical world.

    I don't think the "hysteria" idea goes back to ancient Greece, by the way, I think it's just medical usage of ancient Greek. It was a big idea in the Middle Ages and early modern period. They talked about the "wandering womb", where your uterus would go travelling around your body causing all sorts of other symptoms, and where the doctor would lure it back down to its proper position by waving bunches of sweet-smelling flowers near the, erm, relevant orifice. My ex-girlfriend was horrified when she found out that your uterus moves up and down a bit during the course of your menstral cycle (look up the instructions for monitoring the position of your cervix in Fertility Awareness Method if you're curious), she said it reminded her of this "wandering womb" nonsense.

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