Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why Fibromyalgia Has a Credibility Problem

Patrick Wood, MD, a senior medical adviser to the NFA, believes that sexism may be at the root of this.

"Why in this society are we so free to dismiss the complaints of 30- to 50-year-old women? Why can we marginalize their experience so easily? It really does become an issue of gender politics. Why can we marginalize her and disregard her complaint, and yet if she were a man the same age we might take her seriously?"

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This is frequently a subject of discussion in mixed-gender groups.  Our male members complain about how badly doctors have treated them until they hear what the women have had to endure.
When I first got sick in 1987, my boss had similar symptoms.  He was sent to more and better specialists for more and better tests.  After my first batch of test results came back negative (tests which *should* have been negative with CFS), I was told "just tell your husband you want to quit your job" and further tests were refused.  No one ever suggested to my boss that he tell his wife he wanted to quit.  No one ever suggested he was faking.  At least we could laugh about it, "so much for women's equality" -- we could no longer delude ourselves that society had advanced far enough to automatically treat men and women equally.
When I relapsed in 2000, I found it's not just the older generation.  Male doctors younger than me also made comments to me as a woman that they would not make to men, about being a "depressed divorcee" and "wanting to get alimony".

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