Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Is It Just Me: That Feels Misogyny Is Rife in the NHS?

Just as I thought I couldn't despise it here more, another little kick in the guts comes along.

As a girl, I prefer, if possible, to see a lady GP about "certain" lady based issues. I can't be the only one who feels that sometimes it can be easier talking to a woman rather than a guy. That's not to say Men as a species have no understanding or sympathy for our lady bits when they go wrong, but, as a result of not having what we have, they probably find it difficult to show empathy.

Up until recently, it's been impossible to see a female GP at my surgery, meaning making an appointment with the Nurse who would then listen to your issues and promptly make an appointment for you to see a male GP. Which would end up with mixed results, depending on if the male read what the Nurse had written or whether they looked embarrassed by you mentioning anything to do with cycles.

However, late last year our surgery suddenly took on a part time female GP. Hallelujah, I thought, no more embarrassment.

It's pretty tough to get an appointment with her though, its a busy surgery, which deals with both NHS and Private patients. Its practically impossible to gain any form of appointment unless you ring from 8.30 or 2pm every day, getting the engaged tone anyway.

After a couple of weeks, I finally got one yesterday for the lady GP.

As I've blogged before, I suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Its a bane of my life, it really wrecks weeks of each month in varying degrees. It took years to get a firm diagnoses too. I was misdiagnosed a lot of times, due to male GPs who really didn't have a clue what they were doing. It all came to a head when I was misdiagnosed as having appendix that were about to burst. Finally, a more understanding male GP at my surgery (who is by far the best one there), actually took the time to look through my notes, noticing that I get pain on both sides, thus it couldn't be appendicitis. 

On having a scan, I had lots of cysts on both sides- its unusual to have it on both ovaries, but, me being me, and my luck being non-existent, I have them there.

For those who don't have or know about PCOS, it causes all manner of nasty symptoms, everything from heavy and irregular cycles, to excess hair, weight gain (especially around my middle), and depression. I have all of these things down to it, and previously it was why it took 6 years to conceive Mini. 

As I see it, I have done my bit to replenish the world with the Brats. I don't, categorically do not, want anymore children. Neither does Elder. I could have died having Littlest due to the blood poisoning, and he has all manner of health issues for me to deal with down to his prematurity too. I know that having another child, due to other internal issues I have, could very likely result in a baby born even earlier, and their chances of survival would be slim. 

In short, it would be dangerous for a baby and me to even attempt it.

You'd think, then, that when I have asked politely to have the whole lot removed- a hysterectomy as well as having my ovaries removed- the NHS would agree, what with all the above and my PCOS making my life hell for at least 3 out of every 4 weeks of a month?

No, they don't agree.

The thing is, they also cannot give me an alternative solution either.

Which is why I went to see the female GP. I expected a bit of understanding, but no. I got spoken to in the manner of a naughty school girl. She left me feeling really upset. She kept saying she couldn't comment on my past symptoms down to not being aware of my notes, but every time I attempted to enlighten her as to my cause and reasons for having what I know would be a drastic operation, she just spoke over me, never giving me a chance to make my point. She even called me selfish for saying that I really do not need all this possibly until I'm in my 50s and having menopause what with all the health issues that I have to deal with that Littlest has. 

I walked out in shock that a woman could treat another woman so badly. I was in and out in under 5 minutes in the manner of a conveyor belt.

She even told me off regards turning down an appointment with a male gynecologist, saying I hadn't even phoned the hospital to cancel, and how irresponsible of me to waste an appointment. This was actually completely incorrect. I had simply rang and asked them to cancel the appointment and asked instead to be sent an appointment to see the female equivalent. I now know why the appointment never came, as clearly they never updated the system preferring to slag me off for non-attendance. The problem is, I often don't chase my own appointments up down to having to chase so much for Littlest. His illness comes first after all. 

So, instead of going in, having a kind ear, and being allowed to explain the multitude of issues I have with that part of me, I left with a packet of pills which have done nothing to sort out the problem she suggested they would, and her only suggestion was a Mirena Coil.

Which the nice male GP told me wasn't an option for PCOS sufferers. 

The problem with the coil is that it can and does make women who have it put on upto 4 stone in weight (when PCOS already causes weight gain this is hardly a solution, to make me gain more weight, and then need possible gastric band surgery or other medication). It also causes depression (again, something PCOS causes already), acne, stomach cramps, infections, and obliterates your sex drive (should you even be attractive to the opposite sex after putting on enough weight to be the size of a small family car).

In other words, it will actually make my existing symptoms worse. Which, if she is meant to be a healthcare professional, you would expect her to know. She also told me I was exaggerating having the cysts on both sides (even though I invited her to look at the scan in my notes), and that PCOS doesn't cause pain. In which case, surely I would definitely need referral for investigation as to what is causing the pain? Apparently not. 

In my view, this is just Misogyny alive and well and used as a cost cutting initiative within the NHS. If I can pay to have it removed, they would do it, no argument. As I can't, it's going to continue effecting my day to day life, probably for at least the next 20 years.

In the longterm, PCOS is going to very probably cause secondary health issues, like type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and can, more worrying, hide the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

The NHS just does not care whatsoever. 

I really have no clue what to try next. All the bitch I saw last night has done is send me for a referral for this blasted and unnecessary Coil, despite me protesting that it would make the situation worse. 

Any ideas? I'm at the end of tether frankly.

5 comments:

  1. Can you not go to another doctors? Or a well woman clinic?
    I know in our area they won't give you a hysterectomy until your a certain age just in case you want to conceive again and you have to give solid valid reasons if you want one . sorry no help at all

    BNM

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  2. Rachel Simons5 March 2014 22:53

    Are there any other surgeries near you? I wouldn't be happy either. Doctors are supposed to reassure you and it sounds like she has no clue when it comes to PCOS. I would definitely see another doctor

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  3. LazyGirlBlog6 March 2014 11:58

    In our town, we have the GP, or the hospital, but the GP is the "gate keeper" when it comes to seeing anyone at the hospital. I was hoping with all the crap I have I'd have enough of a good reason to have the hysterectomy but she doesn't think so. I will be without doubt going back to the nice male GP, he was so good last time so hopefully he'll get something sorted

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  4. Swap surgery. I had a 'man' problem about a year back and didn't want a female doctor - I'm sure they're professional and non judgemental and so on and so forth, but i just wasn't comfortable discussing my man problems with a lady I didn't know. Anyhow, my old clinic said they didn't offer a gender preference choice, so I changed - new one is closer, cleaner... and didn't think it unordinary at all that I asked for that! Good luck getting things sorted.

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  5. I have fibroids and hysterectomy was recommended. With all the research I've done, I'm now flying to Australia from New Zealand to have Focused Ultrasound and avoid hysterectomy at all costs because it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke 3 times, or with oophorectomy 7 times. Within 2 years, 35% of women need a related surgery. It increases the risk of lifelong depression, osteoporosis, early onset menopause, weight gain. The long term effects include incontinence, both bladder and bowel and increased risk of various cancers including lymphatic and breast cancer amongst others. It also increases the risk of lifelong thyroid problems. On top of all this, it can cause vaginal dryness, pain on having sex, loss of libido, prolapse vagina, prolapse bowel...

    I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I hate the thought of any woman going in to such an operation with hope of health and wellbeing only to face multiple problems later down the track. The best best primary source I can direct you to is The British Journal of Science 2013 report released in September. I urge you to google it with 'hysterectomy' as the last word, download the pdf, read it and make the best decision for you.

    All the best and I hope you find good solutions to this traumatic experience.

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