• Sunday, October 01, 2023

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Women’s pain ignored or dismissed – Survey suggests

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

According to a poll, women feel that their pain is not taken seriously and is often overlooked or they are regarded as emotional.

The research which was conducted via OnePoll and commissioned by Nurofen, the pain relief medication brand discovered that women were more likely to suffer from headaches, migraines, and fibromyalgia, while period pain and endometriosis were also found to be big contributors to pain, the Independent informs.

A survey of 5,100 adults found that 56% felt the pain they experienced was ignored or dismissed. Also, 50% of these people reportedly felt this way when seeking support from a GP.

Additionally, another 27% reportedly said they felt the same way when discussing about their pain with other healthcare experts.

The survey also discovered that a similar percentage of women felt their partner or significant other had ignored or dismissed their pain, while 21% also reportedly said the same about their friends.

Based on the survey, 24% of women in comparison to 17% of men who felt their pain was dismissed or ignored reportedly said that usually, no one took their pain seriously.

In fact, nearly half of all the adults surveyed believed that there was a “gap” in the identification and treatment of pain between the two genders.

Amongst the adults surveyed who think the gender pain gap occurs, 63% of women and 39% of men believe women’s pain and discomfort is not always taken as seriously because women are thought to be “emotional”.

Feminist cultural historian and author of Unwell Women, Dr Elinor Cleghorn, who advised on the report, reportedly said, “Gender bias in medical knowledge, research, and practice is deeply ingrained.

“Today, we are facing up to the consequences of centuries-long discriminatory misbeliefs about women’s pain.

“The misunderstanding, minimisation and misdiagnosis of women’s pain-causing health conditions is compounded by the pervasive influence of gender norms and stereotypes that are not only medical but social and cultural.

“It is clear from the research that there is a gender pain gap when it comes to the experience of women’s pain. We need to take action to tackle this long-standing issue.”

The study also discovered that in comparison to 60% of men, 74% of women regularly opted for self-care when experiencing pain, instead of seeing a healthcare professional.

Additionally, 31% of women were concerned about wasting their GP’s time and 27% believed that self-diagnosis was easier due to wait times.

However, one in six women reportedly said that they experienced severe pain on any given day, including headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia etc.

Besides, 32% of women experienced period pain as part of their everyday lives, and 18% of those who suffered from endometriosis pain reportedly experienced it for between three and five years.

It was also discovered that 41% of women have sleep troubles due to the pain they experience; 39% feel less able to exercise, and 24% experience depression.

Therefore, as a result, 65% of all the women who were surveyed would reportedly like more access to information pertaining to their pain.

Janet Lindsay, from the Wellbeing of Women charity, is quoted as saying, “We hear time and time again of women being dismissed or not taken seriously when it comes to their pain.

“Many women feel they need to put up with discomfort and pain, and that this is a ‘normal’ part of women’s health – and this is completely unacceptable.

“This report highlights the urgent need to address the stark inequalities around women’s pain.

“We must all work together to close the gender health gap once and for all, by improving research, and ensuring better access to information, care, and support for women” she concludes.


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