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Medical Gaslighting Is A Real Problem For Women

When medical professionals gaslight their patients, it's not only harmful to their health, it's also traumatic for their mental well-being.
When medical professionals gaslight their patients, it’s not only harmful to their health, it’s also traumatic for their mental well-being.

Gaslighting is psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment.

This has happened in the medical field for years, especially to women. If you’ve been made to feel like your symptoms were all in your head, been laughed at,  ridiculed, or talked to in a condescending way, you have been gaslighted. 

I had my first migraine at 16, and at age 20, I started getting them every other day. I saw a neurologist and had a MRI and when nothing conclusive came back, I was told to exercise more and stress less. That’s the first time I remember a doctor making me feel stupid and like it was my fault. 

Four years ago when I was searching for answers to what I believed was a hormone imbalance, I took my list of 30+ symptoms to a medical professional and asked her to run a thyroid and hormone panel. After I finished reading the list to her, she immediately responded that “these are all signs of anxiety and depression so we could get you on some antidepressants, plus you’re at that age where your hormones are all over the map so we could get you on some birth control too”. 

I’m thankful I was in the space to not accept the autopilot answers and brush-offs any longer, but how many women aren’t in that same head space I was? How many women go through this year after year and get told the same thing repeatedly? How many women start to believe their symptoms are all in their heads and resort to antidepressants? How many women have not been empowered to know they can speak up and no longer accept the status quo? How many women needlessly suffer every single year because this is our standard of care? 

It’s unacceptable and it’s the biggest driver behind my why. Not only do I want to help women restore their health and balance their hormones, but I want to empower them to find their voices. I want them to find the strength to say “this is not ok and I won’t accept it”. I want them to fight until they are heard. I want them to stop feeling responsible, guilty, and dismissed. And so I do that for them until they can do it for themselves!