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This is What Happened When The Doctors Did Not Take Women’s Pain Seriously

October 29, 2019

Most of the times when we visit doctors they usually listen carefully to what we have to say so they get to examine us and give a proper prescription. However, sometimes a disconnect occurs and it can be devastating. Here are some cases told by women who lived some of those experiences.

1/The Woman With the Breathing Problems

Back when I was 17, I started having a really hard time breathing. My primary doctor told me it was just asthma. It became progressively worse, and my inhaler wasn’t really helping. One night, I woke up basically having a panic attack because it felt like I couldn’t breathe. My dad rushed me to the hospital, and after giving me an EpiPen for an allergic reaction, the doctor proceeded to tell my dad right in front of me that I was probably making it up to get out of school. This happened several times with doctors telling me I was overreacting. After two months, I finally went to a specialist who discovered that I had a severe infection on my voice box that was inhibiting airflow into my lungs.

2/The Woman With Shingles

When I was in college, I got shingles and waited a while to go to the hospital because I had been misdiagnosed by my student health center. Eventually, I showed the spots to my friend, who said it looked like shingles and took me to the emergency room. I walked in and told the male nurse that I thought I had shingles, and he scoffed and said, “Where did you come up with that? The internet? You would be in a lot of pain if you had shingles.” As soon as I lifted up my shirt he said, “Oh my god you have shingles! Isn’t this painful?” Yes…it is painful. That’s why I’m here.

3/The Woman With a Torn ACL

I was in a skiing accident when I was 17 years old. I immediately knew that I hurt my knee very badly as it kinda just snapped down and swelled up right away. I went to a clinic and I told the doctor what had happened. I told him what my pain level was at, and he told me it couldn’t have been that serious, that I just bruised up my knee and I’d be fine shortly. So I had no further testing and was sent on my way. After two months, my pain hadn’t improved at all and my knee was still swollen, so I went to see a different doctor. Turns out that I had torn my ACL, MCL, and my meniscus. I needed a surgery, and everything was worse because the first doctor didn’t listen to me and get me to an orthopedic right away. I ended up getting scheduled for surgery and they did everything they could to make my knee normal again. But because of the

initial outcome to my pain, I have never been able to ski again, I had to stop jogging or running, and my knee will forever and always will be a bit messed up.

4/The Woman With Leg Pain

I have chronic pain in my legs that sometimes limits my ability to walk when I have severe flares. One time during a particularly bad flare, I went to the doctor for help and she offered to escort me to the psych ward.

 

5/The Woman With a Staph Infection

When I was 15, I had a minor knee surgery. The first day was fine, but each day I got progressively worse, to the point that I couldn’t even put weight on my leg at all. It was so swollen that it looked like my thigh went straight down my leg. My temperate reached 102. When I went to the office to get my stitches removed, my mom expressed concern about the excruciating pain and fever. The doctor laughed and said, “It’s just because she’s blonde and 15.”

A week later I came in again because the problem was still there. After unsuccessfully trying to drain my knee, he brought in his colleague. That doctor took one look at my knee and had me rushed to the hospital. Turns out I had a staph infection that had been doing work on my knee for what was at that point 18 days.

6/The Woman With a Giant Kidney Stone

I went to the ER with terrible abdominal pain. It was so bad that I was actually screaming. The doctor asked me some questions, did no tests, and sent me home with a diagnosis of gas. I went back a week later for the same reason. This doctor actually did his job and found a giant kidney stone.

7/The Woman With Hyperemesis

Basically, my entire experience with hyperemesis was a mess. I was pregnant and throwing up 10–15 times a day. It took several trips to the ER and three different doctors before I found someone who believed me and gave me anti-nausea meds. Most people don’t take it seriously because they assume it is normal morning sickness. I lost close to 30 pounds in the first two months of my pregnancy, I could not keep down water, and I was so dehydrated I was having muscle spasms. But I had a doctor tell me I wasn’t sick enough to take time off work.

 8/The Woman With Fibromyalgia

After my rheumatoid arthritis went into remission, doctors couldn’t pinpoint why I was still living with chorionic widespread pain. The pain felt similar to my RA but not quite the same, and it became debilitating. One doctor, after seeing my blood work, literally called me a “druggie.” He accused me of looking for prescriptions even though I had specifically stated that I was in desperate need of a diagnosis and didn’t want any pain-relieving pharmaceuticals from him. I walked out of his office in tears and almost gave up. I felt like the lowest human being on earth and didn’t want to go through that humiliation again. Luckily I have a wonderful support system that encouraged me to keep trying and finally found a doctor that diagnosed me with fibromyalgia.

9/The Woman With Endometriosis

It took FIVE doctors before I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. The first doctor told me that period pain was normal even though I said the pain wasn’t just during my time of the month. The second doctor said it was probably gastrointestinal issues and that I should go to a specialist. The third doctor prescribed birth control after birth control that helped in no way. Fourth doctor thought maybe it was endometriosis, maybe it was cysts, couldn’t be sure, and gave me a painkiller to help and sent me on my way. Fifth and final doctor got me scheduled for an ultrasound. She prescribed a birth control that did help but when the pain worsened she scheduled a surgery for a laparoscopy in which they discovered that I did, indeed, have endometriosis.

10/The Woman With crtitical Knee Pain

I needed knee surgery due to my knees being super hyper-mobile. They would constantly shift out of place and dislocate while doing any physical activity. It was so incredibly painful sometimes that I legitimately could not walk. I met with a surgeon who acted like I was some weak girl simply because I wasn’t injured playing sports or during physical activity. He would only speak to my mother about maybe getting a brace or working out more to strengthen it and would act like I didn’t exist or like I wasn’t even in the room.

 

11/The Woman With Massive Cysts on Her Ovaries

When I was 14 or 15, my parents took me to the ER because I was crying and vomiting from a pain in my lower stomach/pelvic area. It took four hours to get into a room and by that time I had vomited three times. A doctor finally came in and I told him everything I was experiencing. He said I was probably about to start my period. I said no, that I had just finished like a week and half ago. He gave me fucking Tylenol while I was still crying and curled up in a ball on the bed. Two hours later a female nurse came to check on me and everything was still the same. My mom asked for a different doctor because the guy wasn’t listening to me. Somehow the nurse got a female doctor to come in. She gave me an ultrasound, and I ended up having massive cysts that were rupturing on BOTH of my ovaries.

12/The Woman With a Labrum Tear

I injured my shoulder during a swim meet and it continued to hurt beyond the time the doctor said it would. Six years later, after begging for surgery to alleviate pain, my doctor barely agreed to exploratory surgery to see if anything was wrong that he couldn’t see or detect with the other methods he tried. After surgery he apologized to me… There was a huge tear in my labrum that required surgery to fix.

13/The Woman With a Deadly Infection

I had abdominal surgery and the doctor took me off my pain meds two days later. That night, I experienced the most excruciating pain in my abdomen. It was very intense. The next morning, still in pain, I told my doctor. He said I was being sensitive and sent me home. I ended up back in the hospital 24 hours later with a deadly infection called peritonitis and was suffering sepsis. My doctor almost killed me by brushing off my pain.

 

14/The Woman With a Burst Appendix

Back when I was in eighth grade I had severe abdominal pain and went to my local clinic. Without doing a single test, or listening to my symptoms, he told me I had a UTI. I was rushed in again the next day and this time I had a different doctor. She immediately discovered that my appendix had burst and that I needed to get to an ER right away. I ended up being in the hospital for five days.

15/The Woman With Stage 4 Endometriosis

I had been going to my OB-GYN for nine years telling him that I was hurting horribly with my periods and cramping between periods. He told me I’d grow out of it. I got fed up and switched to a different doctor in a different town. She had me in the operating room within a month and I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis that probably could have been treated or cured long before it got this bad.

 

 16/The Woman With Crohn’s Disease

I had chronic stomach pain growing up and the pain was so severe that I was often curled up reeling in pain. There was no relief whatsoever. It randomly came every month or so and lasted about a week. I went to the doctor multiple times. The doctors always passed it off as overeating or gas pains. Last year I finally went to the ER because the pain was so bad I couldn’t breathe. Turns out I’ve had Crohn’s the entire time.

17/The Woman With Ulcers Lining Her Bladder

I have a bladder condition called interstitial cystitis, which means that the lining of my bladder (which protects it from acidic urine) doesn’t form properly, and my bladder and the surrounding muscles often spasm, causing pain and preventing me from urinating properly. When I was 23, I went to a urologist, after the third negative UTI test in a month, for further diagnosis. The first urologist I saw listened to my symptoms, and dismissively said, “What do you want me to do about it?” I was shocked but asked him to please run whatever tests he could. He agreed to do a cystoscopy, and the day of told my mother in the waiting room that he didn’t think he would find anything and I probably just drank too much alcohol, which irritated my bladder. During the cystoscopy, they filled my bladder with water to expand it, my heart rate went up (indicating pain), and they found tiny ulcers on the lining of my bladder. The doctor sheepishly told my mother what they had found and gave me the name of a urogynecologist who specialized in my condition.

 

18/The Woman With Kidney Stones

I was 19 on a job in San Francisco by myself and thought my appendix was rupturing on my flight over. I went straight to a doctor when I landed, and he insisted it was cramps. The pain persisted and I ended up passing out on the job and had to be brought in to the ER. Turns out I’d been feeling and passing kidney stones for four days. Thanks, doc.

 

19/The Woman With a Blood Clot

A couple of years ago I went to my doctor because my left underarm and arm had been extremely sore for a few days and I couldn’t really stretch my arm all the way out. When I suddenly got blue marks down the inside of my upper arm, too, I decided to get it checked out. My personal doctor thought it could be something potentially dangerous (blood clots were mentioned), and she sent me to the hospital. The doctors at the hospital were a completely different story. They kept asking me if I had hurt it somehow/strained it by carrying something heavy mildly insulting explanation. I told them I wouldn’t be there if I knew the reason why it hurt. They took a blood test and it came back negative for any sign of blood clots. That just made them more sure it wasn’t anything serious. But I kept insisting I felt there was something wrong. Very reluctantly the doctor at the hospital said that, if I wanted, I could come back in the morning for an ultrasound. I quickly said yes and went home. The next day I went in for the ultrasound and guess what: one blood clot in my arm.

20/The Woman With an Autoimmune Illness

I’ve struggled with chronic stomach issues my entire life, and I started seeing this GI doctor a couple of years ago. He was literally so sexist that he would only talk to, shake hands with, and properly address my boyfriend. It was as if my boyfriend had to be the messenger for me, to explain how bad my health issues had gotten. I had two procedures done, and then that doctor ended up diagnosing me with IBS. I was crushed. I knew it was something more severe than IBS. When I got a new GI doctor a few months later, I FINALLY learned that I have a chronic illness that can’t be cured and can lead to cancer and other horrible things if it goes unchecked for a long period of time.

22/The Woman With Fibromyalgia

I was 36 and had lived with muscle/joint pain since my early twenties. Whenever I brought it up to my general practitioners, it was pushed aside and treated as not important since the pain roamed around my body. I had my knee go out one day after taking what should have been an easy walk. I went to another GP and after an X-ray came back clear, she actually rolled her eyes at me. I insisted I be treated. She told me I probably needed to lose some weight (leftover from pregnancy). I kept insisting something was wrong. She begrudgingly said, “I guess I can refer you to a rheumatologist.” Turns out I have fibromyalgia. And I have for about 15 years now. Don’t give up! Your health is too important!

 

23/The Woman With Gallstone Issues

I went to the ER a couple weeks after I had my gallbladder removed. I was in terrible pain, completely keeled over. My husband pretty much had to carry my into the ER and talk for me because I couldn’t move. The doctor told me it was just cramps and sent me home. When the pain wouldn’t go away, I went to a different urgent care. The doctor there did an MRI and found that a gallstone had actually been stuck and sealed in a bile duct. It required another surgery to remove it, and if I hadn’t gone elsewhere it would have gotten much, much worse.

 

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