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Why di doctors pay less attention to womens health problems?

By March 1, 2010 - 10:24pm
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My wife and I have been married for 51 years. Every doctor she has ever seen has given her less attention than doctors give me with the same complaint. She has terrible headaches, totally incapacitating yet after thousands of tests no doctor has been able to help.

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She spent about 12 years on HRT, her headaches are not migraines. Every time we got restationed we searched for new doctors. After the first 10 or so years they all seemed to run the same tests and end up suggesting narcotic pain relief which we are not using except as a last resort. She has kept and given the docs headache diaries but they found nothing of use. I would give anything if we could stop her headaches, she always tries to put on a smile but I can see when she is in pain and I feel so helpless not to be able to do anything.

March 3, 2010 - 6:58pm
(reply to the elder)

Hello again, The elder,

I am so sorry. I can feel your heartache through your words. It is horrible to see someone we love in pain. In some ways, it's worse than the one who's actually feeling the pain, because we can't do anything to help.

Where are you now? Have you found a doctor you respect there? Are you limited to doctors who are available through the VA?

How often does she have her headaches, and how long do they last?

Has she ever considered visiting a naturopathic physician? Naturopathic physicians treat the whole person, not just the presenting symptoms. They specialize in natural healing methods (for instance, they might recommend that your wife try acupuncture), and they often partner with conventional doctors as well.

Does she ever have nausea with her headaches? or stiff muscles, such as her neck?

Does she ever have any accompanying numbness or vision loss?

Did she ever have a head trauma?

Did she have the headaches both on and off the HRT?

Hoping we can find you some possibilities,


March 5, 2010 - 9:15am

The elder,

I'm so sorry your wife has had so many horrible headaches and hasn't been able to find a solution. My best friend has had really awful migraines for about 15 years now and also has had about every test there is, and she is still suffering as well.

Are your wife's headaches migraines?

Your question about doctors not paying the same attention to women's heart problems as they do to men has a lot of truth to it. In fact, for decades, whenever they did a research study, they did it on men and simply extrapolated the information to apply to the entire population. Part of the reason given was that it was too hard to control for a women's cycle. In other words, we are way behind on women's research because we have different hormones from men!

Another reason this sometimes happen to women is because all our lives, women are inescapably taught to keep the peace, to go along to get along, to not challenge people in authority. Men who challenge people in authority are seen as being strong or assertive; oftentimes, women who do the same thing are seen as being difficult or even bitchy. Therefore, many women went untreated or poorly treated and many doctors weren't challenged to do better.

Not all doctors are like this, though. There are many doctors, especially female, who are dedicated to women's health and take it very seriously. They would hate to hear that your wife has suffered so long without help.

Headaches like your wife's can be hormonally connected. Among the tests she's had done, were her thyroid levels and hormonal levels (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) checked?

How long has she had the headaches?

Is she on any HRT (hormone replacement therapy)? If so, what kind, and how long has she been on it?

If the headaches are migraines, has any of her doctors asked her to consider acupuncture, or botox injections? Have they asked her to keep a headache diary? (My friend does this. It is a very in-depth form that the doctor gives her, and she documents every headache, the medicine she takes, the effect, the date, and so on. The purpose, hopefully, is to at some point be able to make a connection between why her headaches happen).

And lastly, do they at least give her some good medication to try to stop the headaches in their tracks?

Tell me more, and let's see if we can be of any help to you.

March 2, 2010 - 9:50am
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