This is going to be really rant-y and rage-y, but it’s justified. There will likely be lots of upper case yelling. Stick with me to the end and you’ll see why.
When I published Murder on My Mind, my sole goal was to share my experience walking (and sometime crawling) through menopause. I was hoping my words would resonate with some women, that I could make them feel better about the playlist of crazytime that seems to be on random repeat for years. My book did that, but it opened me up to a whole world where women are starting to share stories about menopause.
Daily, I see three different and extremely alarming trends.
1) Women are laughed out of their doctor’s offices for expressing concern over things they know are not normal for them. One woman’s doctor told her NOT TO COME BACK UNTIL THE HOT FLASHES START.
2) Doctor’s are prescribing anti-depressants like they are passing out skittles . One woman with a suspected UTI was prescribed an antibiotic that is so strong it’s known to send women into a coma. Thankfully, the woman had a facebook group focussed on menopause to ask for advice when her OWN MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL FAILED HER.
3) Women are still treated as second class citizens, expected to endure pain, quietly. One woman’s friends told her to drink a glass of Chardonnay before going in for an IUD implantation. WINE SHOULD NOT BE PREVENTATIVE PAIN THERAPY.
My head is going to fucking explode.
This is utter bullshit. It’s 2021. Black lives matter, MeToo is part of the lexicon, and BIPOC people are finally having their voice heard. So why, in this day and age, is the medical profession still so goddamned backwards when it comes to women’s health?
I wish I could say it was just the men who are behaving like bullies on the playground. Sadly, there are many lady doctors (and yes, I am using that as a derogatory term because if you have a vagina YOU SHOULD DO BETTER), who are ignoring their patients who are telling them things aren’t right, that they aren’t sleeping, that they are paralyzed by anxiety for the first time in their 50+ years of life.
It’s beyond disgusting. It’s inhumane.
There is no need for any of us to walk around with a prolapsed uterus or a vaginal floor that has collapsed. Has your doctor even heard of clitoral atrophy? Probably not, but not because the research isn’t there. It’s more likely a lack of interest than a lack of resources.
So, what can we do?
PUSH BACK. When your doctor laughs at you, ask what’s funny. When you are handed a prescription, ask about the side effects and known complications. If your doctor can’t answer that, ask why he or she doesn’t know. If you feel like you are being dismissed, puff out your chest and be a bitch. It’s your body, and the doctor doesn’t know it as intimately as you do. If you still aren’t satisfied, find another doctor.
Nothing will change until we demand it. We need more clinics focussed on women’s health (note to buy stock in those). We have to step up and say “You know what? That’s not good enough for me.”
But more than anything, we need to talk to each other. We need to support each other through this journey, in person and online. If you have (or had, or are going to have) a vagina, this is your call to action. It’s time for the medical community to #listentoUs.