(AscendHealthy.com) – Most of us are raised to trust doctors. That faith means we may accept their expert medical diagnosis and recommendations as fact.
But what if we are experiencing severe pain that our doctor dismisses as a minor muscle strain? Or perhaps we suffer excruciating headaches that the doctor says are “just from stress.”
Such scenarios might provide clues that our doctor is gaslighting us. Learn the signs of and solutions to medical gaslighting by reading the article below.
What Is Medical Gaslighting?
Here’s a term to expand our vocabularies: Medical gaslighting. This phrase refers to doctors and other healthcare providers who ignore or minimize our symptoms. Instead, they seek to persuade us that our problems are either imaginary or have a minor cause.
Just like other types of gaslighting, healthcare-related gaslighting may make us uncertain about our feelings. We also may worry that our symptoms could continue without relief.
Researchers have found that women experience medical gaslighting more often than men. One study, for example, compared women to men who sought relief from intense stomach pain in the emergency room. Men received help for their pain in less than 40 minutes, while women waited more than an hour.
Why Do Women Face Medical Gaslighting More Than Men?
Experts say health-related gaslighting might occur more to women because they experience pain more often than men. For example, nearly 15 percent of women suffer from extreme pain during menstruation. When it comes to chronic pain, 31 percent of men versus 45 percent of women deal with this disorder.
Also, there’s a perception issue. Doctors may view men as less likely to admit to pain and more apt to try to project a strong image. That perception may make healthcare providers more apt to believe men who complain of pain.
In contrast, women may be seen as more likely to express their feelings. Doctors may view their pain complaints, therefore, as a result of women being more emotional.
Research confirms these theories:
- When men and women have the same procedure, women receive fewer drugs for pain management.
- Women who say they have chest pain are less apt to get stress tests and hospitalization than men.
- Women tend to receive insufficient pain treatment when compared to men.
Empowering Ourselves Against Medical Gaslighting
We may wonder if there’s anything we can do if we think that our doctor is gaslighting us. The answer is yes.
Options for stopping medical gaslighting include:
- Find a new doctor who listens, appears candid and treats all patients respectfully.
- Prepare for each medical appointment with a short, prioritized list of questions and concerns.
- Get a second opinion.
- Seek out other patients with similar ailments on social media to get support.
Experiencing gaslighting in any situation may cause us to doubt ourselves. Because we may trust our doctors to make decisions that are best for us, we may have an even more difficult time recognizing medical gaslighting.
We all deserve to be treated with respect by those we choose to care for our health. By recognizing signs of gaslighting from doctors and working to halt that situation, we are taking steps to a happier, healthier future.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
Copyright 2023, AscendHealthy.com