Millions of people are misdiagnosed every year in the United States – and the sad thing is a large percentage of them are young women. Many patients often get a few minutes with their doctors, which mean that the likelihood of misdiagnosis is high. This is what happens for both genders, but the question still begs, why are so many women the victims of misdiagnosis?
Conditions Often Misdiagnosed
So, before we look at the common causes of misdiagnosis, we need to understand the common conditions that are misdiagnosed:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome and thyroid disease: these conditions manifest with the same symptoms that include weight gain and mood swings. Many practitioners have told patients to change the diet and perform exercises to cut the weight, ignoring the two possible conditions.
- Ovarian cancer: the symptoms include irregular bleeding and bloating, with many doctors interpreting the results as irritable bowel syndrome.
- Heart disease: most doctors miss the diagnosis, thinking it is heartburn or anxiety.
These are just a few of the many conditions that are misdiagnosed, and the misdiagnosis is as a result of the following reasons.
1. They Use Their Gynaecologists as Their Primary Doctor
Unknown to many women, the gynaecologist doesn’t know everything – he is a specialized doctor that deals with issues to do with reproduction. Unknown to you, this doctor won’t give you that diagnosis you want that is out of his specialty.
Experts say that a specialist won’t be able to diagnose everything –you will need a general practitioner for this.
2. Most Women Look Healthy
Most women in their 20s and 30s are generally healthy, and doctors don’t necessarily look for serious conditions. Most practitioners think that the issue is mild, and forget to scan for more serious conditions.
Anne (not her real name) complained of a severe stomach-ache to her doctor, who just gave her a painkiller thinking that it is as a result of food poisoning. When she visited a specialist, a polyp was discovered in the colon, and it was growing bigger by the day.
3. “It’s All in Your Hormones”
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among women. Many women are more likely to report issues with breathing, an increase in the heart rate and sweating. Do you know what this leads to – the doctor tells the woman that she is suffering from a panic attack or that her hormones are acting up! Many women admit that their physician never talks to them about the risks of heart disease and even doesn’t recognize the symptoms, instead attributing them to stress, hypochondria or panic disorder.
Some are told to stop being “hysterical”! Well, you don’t need to be hysterical anymore – you can file for compensation for medical malpractice because at the end of the day you aren’t getting what you need to get from the doctor.
4. The Conditions Take Longer Before Being Diagnosed
Some of the conditions that are specific to women often take years of a series of examinations and tests before they are accurately diagnosed. This means that it needs a doctor that is patient enough to take the whole process through and through; otherwise, he might leave it on the way. One such condition is endometriosis.
5. Poor Communication
One of the reasons that make it hard for doctors to diagnose women conditions fast is that women often communicate poorly. They often add so many stories that don’t help in the diagnosis. Doctors often regard this form of communication as “emotional,” making it hard to get the right diagnosis.
While this isn’t the patient’s fault, women are advised to stick to the facts when they describe their symptoms to the doctor.
Misdiagnosis is a common practice that needs to be done away with. Women are more prone to misdiagnosis due to their body composition and the way they communicate.