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E 45: Women's Health Part 1/3: Why Your GP Has Not Been Able To Help You



How many times have you left your healthcare practitioners office, feeling frustrated, scared, hopeless and desperate ?

For about 7 years, that was me...

I didn't know where else to turn and eventually realised that I had the tools to dig into the research myself (with the help of some amazing mentors and advocates of natural health).

And that's when I found the reason why doctors are largely unable to help us as women today.

You'll be very surprised (or not?) to know that there is a MASSIVE gap in the research and medical training that our healthcare providers receive at medical school. You can book a free Health Strategy Call here


Transcript:

Hello my friend and welcome back.

I’m so happy you are here again today and I truly wish we could kick our shoes off together on the patio, with a glass of whatever and have a chat.

Talking about women’s health, hormones and the menstrual cycle is something I can do for hours ever single day, because I’ve seen how that knowledge can change the lives of women in a profound way.

So thanx for being here, and instead of making this a 1-way conversation, I would love for you to let me know YOUR thoughts on all the topics that I cover in my podcast.


I wanna use our time together today to help you understand the history of the last 50 or so years of women’s health, which will help you to understand why a lot of things may not make sense to you in terms of your health.

So over the next 3 weeks, I’ll be doing a 3 part series to tackle this very important issue of women’s health and the lack of understanding and care around women’s health.


Part 1 will be on the history of women’s health, part 2 on what I believe is happening at the moment and what you can do to understand yourself and your body better, and part 3 will be on what I believe lies in the future of women's health.

So make sure you subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t yet, that way you can make sure to get notified when all of these episodes air.


Great, so let’s get into the first part of this 3-part series…

I think it is important to understand what has been happening in the past few years and how that is affecting women’s health today.


In the 1970’s, the FDA issued a policy, recommending that all women of childbearing age be excluded from clinical trials due to the increased risk to an unborn foetus.

The policy was broad and recommended excluding even women who used contraception, were single or whose husbands were vasectomized. This came as a result of the effect of a drug called thalidomide, which was used as a sedative, that has caused horrible limb deformities to babies.


At the same time, very few women worked in either medicine or science in those years, and many women also believed that women’s health needs were a low priority in the scientific and medical fields.


In 1993, the inclusion of women in clinical trials became became law after after years of advocating from the Women’s Health Movement and other activist groups.


This lead to about a 20 year research gap in women’s health of which we can still feel the effect today.

We also know that it can take approximately 17 years for research findings to make its way into clinical practice. So you can understand that this is totally the long game, and that you and I are still living in the effects of that research gap.


And here’s what I want you to hear today my friend, debilitating symptoms are not normal.

I was talking to a former student of mine this week, and she was explaining how she was suffering from incredibly heavy and painful periods from her very first period and how she was missing days of school at a time due to heavy bleeding.

It was only later that she realised that her friends were not experiencing the same and therefore what she was going through was not normal.

From that time on, she has always been looking for information and help to get to the bottom of what was happening to her body but couldn’t find anything for about 20 years.


When we go through something like this, we learn to live with a body that does not allow us to live life to the fullest.

We learn to be ok with substandard medical care, because we keep hearing that what we’re experiencing is normal.

We learn to accept that men get to live a full life in their uncomplicated bodies and we need to settle for the challenges that we are experiencing.

For years we keep ignoring symptoms that are trying to tell us an important message.

But we were never taught to understand the language that our body speaks.

We were never encouraged and taught to tune in to the subtle whispers, like heavy periods, foggy brain, pms, painful periods, poor sleep, poor mental health and so much more.

So we live with it. Until we ignore it long enough for our bodies to finally give in and we develop chronic conditions.

And i’ve seen this over and over again.


And I think what makes it worse, is that we’ve had general practitioners that have been male dominant for the majority of medical care history. It means that they don’t understand the symptoms that we are experiencing and sometimes we don’t quite have the language to explain the full impact of those symptoms.

But to be honest, even female practitioners often don’t get it.

Because the reality is, the medical training that our doctors and medical staff get, is based on those years of research that was done on male subjects.


So what does this mean for you today?

Well, I believe the first step that we as women need to take for ourselves, but also for the next generations, is to face the truth about the fact that it is our responsibility to advocate for ourselves and to search the answers for ourselves.

And as you may know, this is the hard part.

Telling a doctor that you don’t agree with his or her opinion or diagnosis, is something that takes a lot of courage and vulnerability.

But that’s what we need to do.

And then, keep looking until we find the answers.


The research is coming through right now…

And if you look for a healthcare practitioner that considers it important enough to give their female patients equal medical care, they will know what is coming through at the moment.

If they take the time to dig through and search out the new research.

And to be brutally honest, the reason why I’ve decided to specialise in women’s health and not see people of both genders, is because I believe that we can’t be good at everything.

It is hard enough to keep up with the research if you specialise, let alone try to be a general practitioner.

And I’ll share my view on this a little bit more in part 3 of this series, but I believe that we are moving towards a system that will force practitioners to specialise.

Just like I’ve had to do it for the last 2 years.

So keep looking until you find the right person who will give you the time that you deserve and the right care.


So what can you do today to find the answers that you are looking for?

Well I believe there are 3 things that you can do to move towards the outcomes that you need.


Number 1 - I believe that we need to take a hard look at our health.

And write down all of your symptoms.

I’ve seen that this can be so very hard for women, because we’ve been living with those symptoms for so long, that we can’t distinguish between what is normal and what are symptoms.

But write down the things that you are not willing to accept as normal.

It can be irritability, being a constant grump, brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, depression, headaches, poor sleep or constantly being tired despite good sleep, heavy periods that disrupt your life. If you need to make sure you always have a spare set of underwear and pants on your first day or 2 of your period, that is not normal.

Maybe you’ve just lost your drive and motivation, or maybe it’s your weight or infertility struggles.

Write those things down and make a commitment to yourself to get to the bottom of it, even if I haven’t mentioned the symptoms that you have been struggling with.

Believe me friend, for years I felt dismissed and ignored by my healthcare practitioners but let me be the first to tell you, things don't have to be this way!

Write it down and make a commitment to you and your health today!


The second thing I believe you need to do, is to find yourself a healthcare practitioner that will listen and do the necessary testing.

I find that this is a real struggle.

I often request testing for my clients and doctors are really hesitant to do proper, in-depth testing. But there are doctors out there that will work alongside a practitioner like myself for the sake of their patients.

So find a doctor like that.

But take courage my friend, if you can’t find a doctor that will support you, there are easy ways to get testing done at home.

You are not at the mercy of your gp, you absolutely can take your health into your own hands.

And like I shared last week, I believe that it is our responsibility to do just that.

If you’ve been listening to my p