I know this may sound stupid, or controversial... but it's something I can't help asking myself... so, I felt I'd try and find out what others think.
I have Endo (finally diagnosed after a long fight, in 2011). I've had 4 lap surgeries so far. I've been misdiagnosed and fobbed-off in the past. I truly feel that the only way I managed to get an accurate diagnosis was by fighting, and fighting, persisting, and pushing for answers - until the point where I honestly believe that Doctors saw me as a "nuisance"!
I've posted on here before, and from what I've seen in my own posts and in other people's, women with Endo get a raw deal. On average it takes 7 years just to get a diagnosis. Meanwhile, women are just left to cope alone with both the physical and emotional effects of the illness. They may be in pain, constantly fatigued, bloated, nauseous... They may survive on a cocktail of painkillers and other pills/potions. They may fear infertility, suffer painful periods, struggle to conceive and be left worrying if they will ever have kids. They may have painful sex, causing problems in relationships. They may be tired and worn out all the time, prone to infections, and lacking energy. They may struggle with a whole range of symptoms (some of which are pretty awful and embarrassing) including diarrhoea, urinary problems, heavy/painful/irregular periods, mood swings, adhesions, nerve pain...
Furthermore, they ADDITIONALLY have to struggle with the impact of these symptoms (especially if untreated). They may have problems at work, or in their studies, with unsympathetic employers or colleagues. They may miss out on social activities or hobbies. They may have problems with family and friends who just do not understand the illness. They may be mis-diagnosed or not diagnosed at all. They may be incorrectly labelled by Doctors as having "stress", "anxiety", "Irritable Bowel"... They may be incorrectly told they are "malingerers" or "hypochondriacs". They may be accused of "making things up", "fussing", "being mental"... they may be told "it's just period pain" or "it's all in your head"!
WOULD this happen if Endo seriously and regularly affected MEN? Or is this an example of SEXISM? Of SEXISM in the healthcare industry? Are there still people out there (health care professionals included) who think women are "worth less" than men? Who believe women SHOULD be "housewives" and firmly "behind the kitchen sink"? Who feel that women need not work, so the impact of Endo on a woman's career is not important? Who feel that women should rely on men as "breadwinners" and should thus not worry about Endo symptoms affecting their lifestyle? Are there people who truly believe that women are the "weaker sex" and therefore cannot tolerate pain? That women make more of a "fuss"? That women are "neurotic" or "hysterical"? That women are more likely to suffer anxiety and depression?
Personally, I believe that SOME people DO hold these outdated beliefs - AND that SOME of these people can be found (inappropriately) working in the health care professions. I believe, myself, that women and men should be equal, and have the same right to good health care. I believe that women's lives, careers, hobbies, loves, interests, passions... are JUST as important as men's. So, with women making up at least 50% of the population, does it not make utter sense that they get treated fairly, and equally?
Anything that NEGATIVELY AFFECTS WOMEN, ends up NEGATIVELY AFFECTING SOCIETY. This is what I believe about the failing to diagnose and treat Endo efficiently, quickly and effectively. Women's lives are NOT "second rate"!
If anyone reads this, and it strikes a chord, PLEASE do tell me what YOU think. I'd LOVE to know just what other women feel about this issue - and about what might be done to address it.
Thanks in advance,