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5 Mistakes Women Make @ the Doc's Office

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Old 05-20-2008, 09:05 PM   #1
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5 Mistakes Women Make @ the Doc's Office

On May 15th, CNN's website ran an article on the above topic that I have found very enlightening. I was floored when I read the article because as I was reading it, the proverbial lightbulb went off in my head as I began to think of many posts on Healthboards! Many of the "don'ts" in the article are almost exactly what many of us talk about on a daily basis.

Thus, I'm wondering if some of our problems may be related to proper communication with one's respective Doc? For example, the article talked about how women will diagnosis themselves and interpret their own symptoms and then go to the Doc with their own full diagnosis rather than just the facts. Not only does this put off Docs @ times, but more importantly, it can put one's own health @ risk by thinking one knows the answer rather than letting the Doc diagnosis what is wrong.

Additionally, women tend to do lots and lots of research and take mounds of printouts (from the web or whatever) into their appointment, which in turn scares a lot of Docs. Conversely, they should simply write down a few points and ask the Doc @ the appropriate time.

Women also don't typically question Docs and often fail to recognize gender bias. This can cause women to fall into the trap of just accepting things rather than forging ahead. Furthermore, when there is gender bias, Docs just don't take them as seriously (as men). One hates to admit that, but often it is true....Especially, when some of these other issues are combined.

Lastly, a woman's intuition is often right, and they should trust it more often than they do. This goes hand in hand with many of the other recommendations. I know there is a fine line between too much pressure and not enough, but the point is to try to trust your own judgment.

I wanted to bring this topic up because as everyone knows, I'm a huge advocate of healthboards, and the support everyone provides is incredible @ times. I really do wonder if quite often, communication isn't to blame for a lot of our issues. This article definitely seems to hit home re: a lot of the comments I read....And I think we're all guilty @ times.

A special thanks to the head moderator who approved this thread in advance and allowing me to reference the article and the location as well as the contents. I do think it's a very important issue.



Last edited by Executor; 05-20-2008 at 09:08 PM.

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Old 05-20-2008, 10:57 PM   #2
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Re: 5 Mistakes Women Make @ the Doc's Office

First, While I agree that there is a significant lack of appropriate communication between doctors and patients, I have to say I think this article may be a tad gender biased, itself.

I have known women and men who exibit these tendencies. I'm not sure if the article credits any studies or research, but I find it very interesting and will take a look at it.

My husband alone, is a prime example of a man who communicates very poorly to his doctor. I also would like to know if there are any statistics about poor communication vs. generational differences.

My late parents, both had a preconception about doctors being somewhat God-like. They never questioned anything a doctor told them. My father, who had a pituitary tumor, would have probably lost his sight, if I had not pushed him to see a specialist. All because his primary doctor said there was nothing wrong, and my father beleived him, even though he was symptomatic.

Excellent article, on point, but I can't say I totally agree with the "gender" reference. Thanks Ex, for yet another interesting and informative thread!

Old 05-21-2008, 06:40 AM   #3
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Re: 5 Mistakes Women Make @ the Doc's Office

I would agree Cmpgirl that the article is probably gender biased. You make a very good point that both men and women can make the same mistakes. I guess the author assumes women make them more often.

I think what is really interesting is the point you bring up about the generation gap....Very true that most older people never question Docs. I'm guessing that it has to do with their lack of information gathering techniques whereas younger generation people tend to rely heavily on the internet. Older people also have a lot of respect for social class and more specifically, certain professions, whereas young people aren't as impressed.

Nevertheless, this concept is certainly an interesting one and we can all probably learn something from it.


Old 05-21-2008, 08:59 AM   #4
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Re: 5 Mistakes Women Make @ the Doc's Office

thank you for bringing this to our attention; I think this article is right on money.
I can't let my husband to go alone for his app. and this is a man who has diabeties and had cancer years ago.
Dr. asks him if he had any surgery, he says NO. Good thing I was right there and asked him how come you say no if you had rectal cancer removed. He says it was years ago and I am OK now why to mention this?
He never asks his Dr any questions saying why to ask, Doc knows what to do without him asking. My husband is only 55 and very educated otherwise...

Steve, this is an answer to you about downfalls....LOL

Old 05-21-2008, 10:47 AM   #5
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Re: 5 Mistakes Women Make @ the Doc's Office

Thanks. I'm going to read the article now as well (I have done no work today lol). I'm guilty of researching too much and diagnosing myself. I was going to bring a sort bullet-point list to the neuro. I could bring the 9 page letter I wrote to myself which I keep as a reference point to when XYZ happened , eg the car accident. I think I'll now leave that home

My husband - I have to drag him to the doctor. He won't ask questions and even told the podiatrist he saw 2weeks ago that he had a full physical work up in Janaury - he went to the GP for a cough! I told the podiatrist my husband was mistaken and the physical is on the list for 2008. He's never had one and he's 48!

Old 05-21-2008, 11:29 AM   #6
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Re: 5 Mistakes Women Make @ the Doc's Office

OK Ladies.

I can feel the arrows whizzing by.

I don't know what the big deal is with full disclosure anyway. You tell a doc what's needed for the reason you are visiting him or her. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't ever disclose all the meds I take to any doc (except my GP, or if surgery is involved). Why bother? What difference does it make to my allergist if I take stool softeners? None! If I tell docs about my heart drugs then I stand no chance of proper sedation in a procedure, so I say nothing unless directly asked "have you had heart failure?" I mean, come on. I go in for a tooth extraction, and all around the tooth is this huge abcess. Painful as he!!. So he asks about meds and heart and such and I have to tell him I take digoxin, which is usually only to treat heart failure. Because of that little tid bit, I get nothing but novacaine, through a huge 12 foot needle right into the abcess. OUCH! Never again will I reveal that piece of info to an oral surgeon.

There's reasons not to bother docs with all the details. Ladies! This isn't a shortcoming, it's a favor we're doin' them. If this is all you can pin on us, then I say we're darn-near perfect.


Old 05-21-2008, 11:57 AM   #7
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Re: 5 Mistakes Women Make @ the Doc's Office

I have a feeling I'm going to get yelled at for this. First I want to say thanks to Ex, I love information even if I diagree with it and actually I think a lot of it is correct. But, I agree with Steve. First off yes, most docs do not like you coming in armed with info or opinions and I come in with both. Even though it has meant that I have had to go through a lot of docs until I find the ones that I gel with, but that's what we end up encouraging each other to do anyway. The docs I have now (except one who would definately not appreciate me bringing in info or telling him what I am willing or not willing to do, but he is one of the best in his field, he treats my mom as well as me, and has helped both of us tremendously), have thanked me for the info I have gathered and respect me for my hhmm.... strong opinions.(I'm glad I don't know what they say behind my back) I also do not tell all docs everything. Unfortunately I have been a patient for a long time and you do learn things that are or are not in your best interest like Steve not getting pain meds for that procedure.

I definately think the article has merit in the fact that if we are going to have a somewhat long term relationship with a certain physician, we need to figure out the best way to make that relationship work for both parties involved. And, I have read many arcticles and studies where some docs and maybe a lot of docs definately treat women with less how shall I say it not respect, but do not take us as seriously as men. I have seen it wth my own husband and with my parents. I don't like it, but it is what it is and you just have to find someone you can work with and it's not easy, but it's worth it.


Old 05-21-2008, 12:08 PM   #8
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Re: 5 Mistakes Women Make @ the Doc's Office

No arrows from me, Steve. Maybe a spitwad, through a straw...... I just think that it is a universal problem. Not gender specific. I also believe that much of how you behave in a physician's office, depends on your previous experience with the medical community.

When someone has been through the proverbial "wringer", one has a tendency to approach medical care, with more of an arsenal at their fingertips. Once burned....

In any case, we all need to be the best possible self advocate, and try to accomplish that with as much information as we can obtain. I don't agree with bringing in reams of printouts and "telling" the doctor what you think you have, but you should be able to communicate your symptoms effectively. Only we can truly know what our bodies are telling us.

Just my humble opinion.........

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