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I Should Not Need a Man With Me to Be Taken Seriously at Medical Appointments

I am a 27-year-old woman. I have been going to doctor’s appointments alone since I got my driver’s license at 17. Everything from a yearly physical to the cardiologist. What I noticed as time went on was doctors, specifically male doctors, would treat me differently when my dad was able to accompany me to an appointment. They were more receptive to my symptoms and would be more willing to run extensive tests.

While I appreciate my dad’s willingness to come with me to appointments, I have to pose the question, why is it necessary? He is not the one who is sick, I am. So why should his presence influence my treatment?

Then a conversation with a friend studying for her APRN degree brought up the concept of gender biases. Upon further research, this issue runs so much deeper than a doctor listening to a patient. Many medical studies exclude female participants due to the fear hormones will influence the results. But that begs the question, if female hormones are not taken into account, how will a woman be properly treated?

This is infuriating and scary. One would think in the year 2021, we would have moved past this. We have billionaires going to space for fun, but can’t figure out how to account for female hormones in a medical study. Or understand men and women can present symptoms differently for the same condition because our biology is different.

Of course, this does not apply to all men in medicine. I have male doctors on my medical team who are godsends. But it took time to get to them through the cloud of those who told me I was overreacting and it was all in my head. Female doctors are not innocent in this either. It’s a systematic problem that needs to be addressed at its core.

Getty image by The Good Brigade.