How Sexism Affects Girls’ and Women’s Health

All over the world, women, for a variety of reasons, experience much higher rates of pain than men. More than 100 million Americans report living with chronic pain, and the vast majority are women. Yet, doctors discount women’s reports of pain. Both male and female doctors exhibit the same biases in treatment. 

1. People have a difficult time recognizing women’s pain. Not in an abstract sense, but in an actual, practical, “Does that expression on her face mean she is in pain?” way. People are much better at reflexively decoding pain when a man’s face reflects it than when a woman’s does.  This is also true when a white person is experiencing pain versus a black person. 

2. Gender bias and stereotypes infuse the way doctors treat women’s pain. A 2014 survey of more than 2,000 women, conducted by the National Pain Report and For Grace, a non-profit devoted to finding solutions for women in pain, found that three quarters of the women surveyed were told at least once by a doctor that nothing could be done for them and that they would just have to live with chronic physical hurt.

  • 57% report being told by a doctor, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”
  • 51% report having doctor’s say, “You look good, so you must be feeling better.”
  • 45% reported that they were told, “The pain is all in your head.”

My personal favorites? “You are too pretty to have so many problems,” and “You can’t be too sick because you have makeup on and you are not in your sweatpants.”

3. Men and women experience different kinds of pain differently, but women report feeling more intense pain. However, when men report pain, they are treated more seriously. Doctors, for example, are more likely to prescribe painkillers for men, but sedatives for women. One study showed that men are also more likely to be sent to intensive care units. In an extensive essay on pain last year, Judy Foreman shared research showing that women are far less likely to get hip or knee replacements and that doctors are disinclined to think that women have heart problems, even when they have symptoms. Women are more likely to seek treatment for chronic pain, but are also more likely to be inadequately treated by health care providers.

4. Despite the fact that men have higher rates of recognized trauma leading to post traumatic stress disorder, women are more than twice as likely to have anxiety disorders and to report fatigue than men. Women’s higher rates of symptoms for PTSD has puzzled doctors, who frequently write the effects off to women’s nerves or over-emotionality. However, researchers have documented the link between concerns about physical safety and psychological harm. Consider, for example, that before puberty, boys and girls experience depression and anxiety at similar rates, but, upon puberty, when street harassment, awareness of physical vulnerability and rape begin, girls’ are up to six times as likely to suffer from anxiety as teenage boys.

Researchers have now concluded that women are more likely to have a whole host of physical problems due to the accumulated effects of hyper-vigilance, sexual objectification, and harassment. Recently, scientists at the University of Mary Washington’s Psychology Departmentshowed the effects of sexual harassment on women, effects that are even stronger in women who have been sexually abused. They concluded that women are experiencing “insidious trauma,” something most doctors are oblivious about.

Lastly, medical research continues to fail to take sex-specific issues into account, mistakenly assuming that male, mostly white male, test subjects sufficiently represent all of humanity. This discriminatory skewing of research, in favor of male physiology, has considerable impact on women’s health, including pain and pain mitigation.

For entire article read Role/Reboot. 

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Federal employee health plans MUST cover transition-related care, says government
LGBT advocates praised the long-awaited move to cover transition-related care — while noting that questions about implementation remain.
By Chris Geidner

The Obama administration has informed all providers of health insurance to federal employees that they must cover transition-related healthcare. 

Previously, the administration had said it would not make a decision on this until the fall. The new plans will take effect in 2016, though some questions remain about how they will be implemented. 

The change was made through the Office of Personnel Management’s issuance of a new “carrier letter” — instructions to federal health plan participating insurers — with no accompanying news release.

“Effective January 1, 2016, no carrier participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program may have a general exclusion of services, drugs or supplies related to gender transition or ‘sex transformations,’” the letter stated. “This letter clarifies OPM’s earlier guidance recognizing the evolving professional consensus that treatment may be medically necessary to address a diagnosis of gender dysphoria” — the medical diagnosis that corresponds with seeking treatment for being transgender.

So incredibly important. 

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CNN dubbed this “the summer of Sanders” as media outlets finally picked up on the large crowds Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has attracted during campaign stops. His rocketing poll numbers in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire led to countless stories heralding a Sanders surge — but the story is as much about the issues as it is about the man.

With Bernie Sanders, it’s leadership on the issues – not a cult of personality – propelling his long-shot bid

NC: There is a post on Tumblr about a professor from Nigeria that has produced the cure for HIV/AIDS within two months.

The very first thing I thought when I heard this was “God, please protect this man from any harm that’s gonna come his way.“

I’m also hoping that he doesn’t let this get into a white persons hand either.

History has showed us time and time again that when a black person creates something here come white people ready to take it and the money that goes along with it.

I also hope every penny he gets from this goes to Africa and Africa only.

Again please God, don’t let this get into the hand of white people and don’t let him be so trusting of them.

  • Republicans:We need a fresh, new idea to reel in the youths.
  • Republicans:I got it!
  • Republicans:Let's repeal Obamacare.
  • People:You've already tried that 50 times.
  • Republicans:Down with the healthcare providing tyrant!
  • People:But we like not dying...
  • Republicans:Don't worry, millions of Americans who now have health insurance, we will do our best to make sure you're normal and insuranceless once more!
Feds Order Federal Employee Health Plans To Cover Transgender Health Services

WASHINGTON — The federal government on Tuesday ordered federal employee health insurers to include transition-related health coverage for transgender employees in their plans.

The change was made through the Office of Personnel Management’s issuance of a new “carrier letter” — instructions to federal health plan participating insurers — with no accompanying news release.

“Effective January 1, 2016, no carrier participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program may have a general exclusion of services, drugs or supplies related to gender transition or ‘sex transformations,’” the letter stated. “This letter clarifies OPM’s earlier guidance recognizing the evolving professional consensus that treatment may be medically necessary to address a diagnosis of gender dysphoria” — the medical diagnosis that corresponds with seeking treatment for being transgender.

Read more.

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#11. WHY MEDICARE ISN’T THE PROBEM; IT’S THE SOLUTION

Again and again the upcoming election you’ll hear conservatives claim that Medicare - the health insurance program for America’s seniors - is running out of money and must be pared back.

Baloney. Medicare isn’t the problem. In fact, Medicare is more efficient than private health insurance.The real problem is that the costs of health care are expected to rise steeply. 

Medicare could be the solution – the logical next step after the Affordable Care Act toward a single-payer system. 

Please see the accompanying video – #11 in our series on ideas to make the economy work for the many rather than for the few. And please share. 

Some background: Medicare faces financial problems in future years because of two underlying trends that will affect all health care in coming years, regardless of what happens to Medicare: 

The first is that healthcare costs are rising overall - not as fast as they were rising before the Affordable Care Act went into effect, but still rising too quickly.

The second is that the giant post­war baby boom is heading toward retirement and older age. Which means more elderly people will need more health care, adding to the rising costs.

So how should we deal with these two costly trends? By making Medicare available to all Americans, not just the elderly.

Remember, Medicare is more efficient than private health insurers ­­ whose administrative costs and advertising and marketing expenses are eating up billions of dollars each year.

If more Americans were allowed to join Medicare, it could become more efficient by using its growing bargaining power to get lower drug prices, lower hospital bills, and healthier people.

Allowing all Americans to join Medicare is the best way to control future healthcare costs while also meeting the needs of the baby boomer and other Americans.

Everyone should be able to sign up for Medicare on the healthcare exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act.This would begin to move America away from its reliance on expensive private health insurance, and toward Medicare for all – a single­ payer system.

Medicare isn’t a problem. It’s part of the solution.

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Health Care: U.S. vs. Canada

Sen. Bernie Sanders asked a panel of experts to contrast the United States health care system with single-payer models throughout the world.