Women, especially millennial women, are feeling dismissed by healthcare providers at an alarming rate. This is according to a new report from Mira, a women’s health company that provides a personalized and lab-quality tracking system for reproductive health.
Medical gaslighting occurs when a patient’s concerns or symptoms are dismissed or minimized by healthcare professionals. Over the past year, there has been growing concern about medical gaslighting in mainstream and social media. The movement under the #Medicalgaslighting hashtag has taken TikTok by storm with over 220 million views. This viral trend highlights the prevalence of medical gaslighting, especially among young individuals, women and minorities. But it isn’t a new issue.
Women have been excluded from medical research for years, which has contributed to the gender gap in healthcare and led to dismissive attitudes towards women’s symptoms and complaints. It’s a known fact that women receive 25% fewer painkillers in emergency rooms and hospitals compared to men, are diagnosed with cancer 4 years later than men and are referred to mental health professionals 4x more often than men when facing physical symptoms.
That’s why Mira teamed up with medical experts, patients, and reproductive tech companies to bridge the multiple gaps behind the medical gaslighting trend women have been facing for years. According to the nationwide survey commissioned by the brand, 65% of American women felt like their doctor dismissed, ignored, or minimized the severity of their medical concerns. Female millennials were particularly affected with 72% feeling ignored or dismissed by doctors.
More than a third (35%) of female participants reported that their experience of medical gaslighting was worsened by their gender, which is twice higher than male patients (16%). Additionally, 6 out of 10 millennial women have been told by a doctor that their physical symptoms are “just stress” and over half of female respondents have been advised to lose or gain weight to feel better.
In response, Mira has released a free guide on self-advocacy, designed to empower women and ensure their medical complaints are taken seriously.
“My hope is that this research sparks a larger conversation about medical gaslighting, especially among young women. We believe bridging this gap requires effort from all stakeholders, including patients themselves. As women are diagnosed an average of four years later than men, there is no shame in asserting yourself by asking plenty of questions, expressing any concerns, and seeking second opinions when your gut tells you something is ‘off’,” said Sylvia Kang, CEO and co-founder of Mira.