Topic: Women don’t ‘feel heard’ during reproductive health appointments
A new study found that 23% of women and people with gynae organs have felt ‘not listened to’ during medical appointments about their reproductive health. We explore why this is, and ask a GP for their advice on being heard.
Many of us will understand the importance of taking our reproductive health seriously – and yet, research by the gynecological cancer charity The Eve Appeal, has recently highlighted that nearly a quarter of women and people with gynae organs have felt ‘not listened to’ when seeking medical help from a healthcare professional.
Additionally, of the 72% of women who have had an appointment for their reproductive health, 23% felt they weren’t taken seriously and felt disappointed by how their healthcare concern was handled, and 20% felt like they were raising a ‘trivial issue’.
Coming just after endometriosis awareness month in March – sparking conversation about a condition which, on average, takes eight years to diagnose, despite affecting one in 10 women in the UK – as well as Channel 4’s The Black Maternity Scandal, which investigated the increase in the likelihood of death during pregnancy and after birth for Black women, the findings from The Eve Appeal study echo a similar sentiment.
“It’s always disappointing to hear that patients feel that they have not been heard by their doctor, or any health professional,” Dr Clara Russell, a GP with nearly 20 years of experience and founder of Noggin says as she reflects on the study. “Unfortunately, I’m not surprised that these are the findings.
“The reasons for this are complex. An issue for both patient and doctor is time – 10 minutes is often not enough to go through the wide range of symptoms that may be relating to reproductive health.
“Symptoms can be complex and masked as something else, such as pelvic pain that is disguised as abdominal in origin, or irregular periods and fatigue that may be linked to stress and mental health,” Dr Russell explains.
Topic Discussed: Women don’t ‘feel heard’ during reproductive health appointments