Women'S Health Issues
Women's health issues: In what ways are women often misdiagnosed by their doctors? Why does this happen?
Some ailments cause psychological as well as physical symptoms. This often results in the condition being mistaken for a purely psychological one. Unfortunately, if you are a woman, these misdiagnoses are quite common, and unnecessarily so. There are three primary reasons why this occurs:
1.. Many emotional problems, including depression and anxiety, occur more often in women.
2.. Doctors tend to dismiss women's complaints as exaggerated or imagined.
3.. A woman tends to describe her symptoms a little more tentatively than a man.
The most common misdiagnosed illnesses in women are:
Condition: an insufficient secretion of thyroid hormone.
Psychological effects: fatigue and depression (including postpartum depression).
Physical symptoms: loss of appetite, weight gain, muscular aches, and/or dry skin.
Doctors will often prescribe an antidepressant. But if hypothyroidism is not treated properly, levels of thyroid hormone fall and the antidepressant will aggravate the physical symptoms.
To correctly diagnose, a physical exam and blood test are required, and the condition can be treated with thyroid-replacement medication.
Condition: excess thyroid secretion-less common, but potentially fatal.
Psychological effects: anxiety, and in extreme cases, confusion.
Physical symptoms: heat sensitivity, weight and hair loss.
This also can be correctly diagnosed with a blood test.
Psychological effects: panic attacks (which do mimic heart attacks), history of anxiety.
Physical symptoms: tightness in chest, racing pulse, shortness of breath.
Proper treatment for a heart attack can mean the difference between life and death. Doctors should not take chances and should play it safe by keeping the patient in the hospital for observation.
Conditions: Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis.
Psychological effects: changes in mood, fatigue, irritability, memory lapses, mental fuzziness, depression.
Physical symptoms: vague
Autoimmune disorders are extremely hard to diagnose. The patient's history, physical exam and lab tests must be considered. These conditions can often be controlled with immunosuppresive drugs, such as prednisone.
Conditions: iron deficiency, lack of vitamins B-6 and B-12.
Psychological effects: depression, apathy, trouble concentrating.
Physical symptoms: poor appetite, weight loss, weakness, constipation or diarrhea.
Blood tests can properly diagnose anemia and can be treated with supplements, either orally or through injection.
Medication side effects
Condition: any prescription or over-the-counter drug can affect mental health.
a.. Oral contraceptives can cause aggravate depression
b.. Steroids can cause anxiety, depression, mood swings, hallucinations
c.. Sleeping pills can cause memory loss, confusion, difficulty concentrating
d.. Decongestants and appetite suppressants cause anxiety
e.. Ulcer drugs can cause depression
Use caution in taking these medications
To get the right diagnosis: Write down your symptoms as they occur, what appeared to trigger them and when they first appeared. Bring this list with you to the doctor. Also, bring a list of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs you are taking. Ask for the last appointment of the day. If the doctor doesn't have to rush off to the next patient, he might take extra time.
If the doctor fails to take your complaints seriously, find one who does.