Your Pain is Your Fault: What Women Are Told by Their Doctors

Your Pain is Your Fault: What Women Are Told by Their Doctors

Doctor physician.  Isolated over white background.“There’s nothing wrong with you.”

“Your only problem is that you’re fat and lazy.”

“You’re too pretty to be sick!”

“You brought this on yourself. Your pain is your fault.”

These are some of the surprising, disturbing and bizarre things that women were told by their doctors, according to an online survey of over 2,400 women in chronic pain conducted by National Pain Report and For Grace, a non-profit devoted to better care and wellness for women in pain.

The survey found that most of the women believe the healthcare system discriminates against female patients and that many women feel there is a gender bias in the way their pain is treated by physicians.

One question that drew a big response from women – and over 700 written comments – dealt with what they were told by their doctors. Three out of four women said they were told at least once by a doctor that they’d have to learn to live with their pain. Over half said a doctor had told them they didn’t know what was wrong with them.

Has a doctor ever said the following to you? (Check all that apply)

  • 75% “You’ll have to learn to live with your pain.”
  • 57% “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”
  • 51% “You look good, so you must be feeling better.”
  • 45% “The pain is all in your head.”
  • 18% “Your pain was caused by a childhood trauma.”

In their written comments, many women indicated their doctors were often frustrated by their inability to diagnose and treat their pain.

  • “There’s nothing more I can do for you.”
  • “Your symptoms don’t make sense or have any relation to your condition.”
  • “Even an autopsy couldn’t give you an answer.”
  • “I’ve never heard of this condition before!”
  • “What’s going on with you is over my head.”
  • “Your disease isn’t profitable enough for me to treat.”
  • “Why do you keep coming here? I can’t help you.”
  • “You know there’s no cure for the illness you think you have, so why bother seeing a specialist to get a diagnosis?”

Other women said they were belittled or even mocked by doctors – who often dismissed their pain as imaginary or a ruse to get narcotic painkillers.

  • “If I prescribe you pain medicine you will just turn into a drug addict.”
  • “You need to see a psychiatrist. I have patients in much worse pain than you who aren’t taking opioid medications.”
  • “Are you sure you’re not just looking for drugs?”
  • “Chronic pain shouldn’t be treated with pain medication.”
  • “I don’t want to hear anything more about fibromyalgia. It’s not real.”
  • “Your only problem is that you’re fat and lazy.”
  • “At your age and weight, you’re just going to have pain. That’s all there is to it.”
  • “You are crazy, nothing is wrong with you.”
  • “You’re in pain because you don’t believe in God.”

Then there were the unconventional suggestions – some of them bizarre – that doctors had for women to relieve their pain.

  • “You need to see a psychologist, go through withdrawals and then start back on the meds. Drink wine to help you sleep.”
  • “I’m a big advocate for suffering! So, to be honest, you should suffer.”
  • “You will feel better if you just go backpack around Europe.”
  • “I can’t think of anything else to give you. Next we’ll have to try a prayer book!”
  • “I don’t know about this so you’ll have to look it up on the internet.”
  • “You can use thoughts to change your gene expression and cure yourself.”
  • “You are crying this entire visit so you must be better.”
  • “You have a broken spirit, try going to church.”
  • “You are so young, so you would not qualify for disability. Go find some work and hopefully you will get hurt more (and) then qualify.”
  • “If you get pregnant or have a hysterectomy, you’ll feel better.”

Some women feel their doctors focus too often on their appearance – using that to judge the degree of pain they were in.

  • “You are too pretty to have so many problems.”
  • “You look better in-person than on paper.”
  • “You look great, but tell me how you feel!”
  • “You can’t be too sick because you have make-up on and you are not in your sweat pants.”
  • “My former psychiatrist used (to) note how well my hair was styled when I came to see him, and correlate it with mood. I didn’t realize this until I requested records.”

Several women learned coping strategies to deal with this. Some started bringing their husbands and boyfriends to their doctor’s appointments. Others would purposely not “dress up” when they saw a doctor in order to be taken more seriously.

“I discovered that I needed to play a weird balance game with my appearance — I enjoy dressing nicely and wearing makeup, but if I went in to a doctor’s office dressed for work, they assumed I wasn’t in pain,” wrote one woman. “If I went in wearing comfortable loungewear and no makeup, they assumed I was depressed. I had to figure out a ‘just right’ solution where I would be treated respectfully and not dismissed.”

“When I have an appointment with a doctor and I am not knowledgeable about his or her of attitude towards chronic pain, I make it a point not to look good for the appointment,” wrote another woman.

Not all of the comments about physicians were negative. Several women said they were very happy with their current doctor, but finding the right one was often a case of trial and error.

  • “Seven different male doctors told me my pain was ‘all in my head’ and gave me no treatment. I did finally find a great doctor, male.”
  • “I have had doctors in the past treat me deplorably. However, my current doctors are caring and respectful.”
  • “Most of my doctors have treated me well. I go to someone else if they do not.”
  • “I have a female doctor now who treats me with care and compassion.”
  • “Doctors practicing complementary or alternative medicine are more likely to take my pain seriously. I have also found an excellent pain specialist who knows and believes me.”
  • “I finally found a wonderful woman doctor who hears what I say and treats me as a person. I don’t want to go through this without her.”

You can see the full results of the “Women in Pain” survey by clicking here.

Authored by: Pat Anson, Editor

There are 32 comments for this article
  1. Payne Hertz at 6:45 am

    It’s amazing it can take 13 years to train a professional ignoramus when amateurs on the street can do better with little to no training and still provide their services for free.

    Points for creative stupidity though. Some of this stuff is so idiotic you couldn’t possibly make it up–truth is stranger than fiction as they say. My personal favorite is a doctor who told me that if he had back pain, he would run five miles a day until it went away. Then there was the doctor who told me acupuncture is fine so long as you don’t mind getting AIDS from the needles. Such brilliance! No wonder our society gives these enlightened souls the power to decide who gets pain relief and who gets to have their lives destroyed. The rest of us mundanes lack the necessary intelligence or moral clarity to make this choice for ourselves.

  2. Kathy at 1:55 am

    It’s curable. It’s all to do with hormones and your body’s reaction to your own levels.
    I was told my male and female levels were right at the top end of normal for male and right at the lower end of normal for female.
    Therefore I was deemed to have normal levels!
    However, it’s not rocket science to work out that being at the extreme ends of the scale, was not good.
    No one listened.
    15 years later, menopause and hey presto! No more cystitis!

    There should be more research into this to help all you poor suffering ladies. It’s so debilitating, I hated it for making normal life impossible and the pain was excruciating.
    I feel for all of you. X

  3. Christy D. at 9:39 pm

    I started having pain and swelling in my joints (started in my feet) they did uric acid tests which always came back normal, so they diagnosed me with “Early on osteoarthritis.”
    For the next 4 years I continued to have quite a bit of pain and was dismissed by doctors like a lot of you have been.
    After moving to another state I started seeing my PCP here and she treated me like I was out for pain meds when I NEVER asked for them. I just wanted answers. They did x-rays and blood work and she told me there was nothing wrong with me and that the pain was all in my head. She informed me that she wasn’t prescribing anything for pain. I told her I didn’t want anything but answers. I then asked her if she could at least give me something for my psoriasis. She looked at me strangely and said “I’ll be right back.” The head physician came in a few minutes later and apologized to me for the behavior of the ARNP that was assigned as my PCP. He told me about psoriatic arthritis and referred me to a rheumatologist.
    The rheumatologist was amazing. He did in fact diagnose me psoriatic arthritis as well as fibromyalgia and started treatment. Psoriatic arthritis mimics rheumatoid arthritis with other symptoms on top of those. I’m in constant pain and the fatigue is awful. I’m only 36 and get the whole “But you look fine, so there must not be anything wrong with you” mentality from family and friends. I can’t work because I can’t lift anything so no one will hire me. I applied for disability and was denied several times because “Due to your age and education level you should be able to get a job with minimal on the job training that will allow you to support yourself and your children.”
    Really?!? I absolutely hate having to depend on other people to support me and it has led to some pretty bad depression and a suicide attempt.
    I’m sick of living this way. I have a 10 year old son and would love to be able to run around the yard and throw a ball with him, but I can’t. It isn’t fair.

  4. Kim Miller at 5:04 pm

    It is a sad state of affairs that so many diseases affect mostly women, yet we are, with regularity, told to get over it because we’re fat and lazy, it’s all in our heads, or worst or all, why do you continue to return here when there’s nothing I can do for you. I was actually told by my primary care provider, upon informing him I had been diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, “Well, maybe it will go away.”

    I know there is NO cure for IC, and being dismissed in that way when discussing a disease that changes your life, really angered me and years later it still makes me angry, because, of course it has not ,”Gone Away”.

    Why doctors take female patients less seriously than male patients, I can only guess they see us as complainers, whiners, who knows. It’s ridiculously unfair and needs to change post haste.

  5. R at 2:38 pm

    I was eventually after a decade long battle diagnosed with both interstitial cystitis and endometriosis. I was 20 when I first started asking for help. I was always told I looked fine, I was too young for those illnesses, take pain killers. Well pain killers not only didn’t help, they destroyed my stomach which caused whole new issues.

    Recently I was diagnosed with fibro (not even sure I believe it) and the doc said that IC is part of fibro and all in my head. Sorry, but a scope shows I have sores all through my bladder and scar tissue that has been building up for years, cracks, bleeds, and causes a huge amount of pain. You can physically see this illness and I respond well to IC meds. Don’t tell me when you’re not even a urologist, that it doesn’t exist.

    Getting help for endo was the worst. I’ve been on every pain killer and birth control for endo and it has ruined my body and caused HUGE problems with my reproductive organs and my ability to have pain free sex and pain free life. I finally have found a new to market med that treats endo with less side effects but they will NOT give me the damn surgery to remove some of the endo until I decide I want kids.And since I’m Canadian, that means 6 months to a year on a wait list for the surgery. They could dramatically increase me quality of life with a 15 minute surgery that removed the tissue from the strange parts in my body it has migrated. And they’d rather put me (a 28 year old) into medical menopause and pump me full of drugs that act like chemotherapy, than a 15 minute surgery.

    Due to the horrible vaginal problems all these meds and treatments have caused, a normal sex life is impossible so I referred myself to a pelvic floor therapist who treats me with physio and have had excellent results. Trying to find one took years and doctors know nothing about it.

    I have suffered for so long, and if a doctor had listened to me the first time back almost 10 years ago when I asked to be tested for IC and Endo, I could have avoided almost a decade of horrible pain.

  6. Michelle at 9:26 am

    While none of my doctors have made blatantly rude comments, I have been treated like a depressed, drug-seeking hypochondriac for years. When I was finally diagnosed with Celiac disease after 30 years of suffering, I thought they would take me seriously, but nope. Now they question the diagnosis (I had positive blood work and biopsy showing advanced, long term celiac) I have heard “everyone thinks they have celiac” and “oh honey, you don’t want celiac disease!” followed by a ten minute description of all the glorious foods I can no longer enjoy. Later that year I was also diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, for which I still have found no relief. Even urologists have just shrugged their shoulders and said “try Elmiron” (Which I did for six months, even though my co-pay is $300 a month) They have nothing else to offer, but when I am in total agony and MUST have pain relief I have to beg for narcotics, and even that doesn’t always work. I have been told to learn how to deal with my pain, that the many alternative treatments I have read about “don’t work” and so they refuse to prescribe hem so I can even try them, even though THEY have nothing else to offer. After 4 years of this I have finally found an IC specialist who doesn’t dismiss me, whose first question was “what are you using for the pain?” (answer- nothing.) “What?! You have to have something. What works best for you?” (really? Somebody actually cares what I think?) Finally I am treated with respect and given some hope of a halfway normal life. He told me, “I cant cure you. But there is no reason you should be in this much pain 3 or 4 days every week. I should be able to get it to one flare a month, and we will help you with the pain when that happens.”

    So good doctors to exist…but they are sure hard to find.

  7. Shawna at 7:04 am

    This is a complete disgrace! I do agree Drs can be like this be ause I have had some real assholes too. They were ALL men! I had an ovarian cust the size of a golf ball once and my male gyno said that it should cause me no pain at all yet I couldnt even walk it hurt so bad
    My current pcp (also my husbands) treats his chronic pain (bone spurs) bit not mine because I am a woman. The Dr is like 80 yrs old and is very archaic so…..go figure. BUT when my husband finally told him I need to be treated bc I was in so much pain, guess what he did? He sad to just take my hubbys meds ugh! That is illegal yet he still does it. The last presciption he got, the Dr added a few more pills than normal amount so I would have a couple. What Dr does that? Not supposed to share meds! What am I going to do if I have a drug test at work and I dont have my own prescription for it??? Sucks being a woman with chronic pain 🙁 I have IC, migraines, MS and a shoulder injury thats hurt for 2 yrs now I received at workm My boss even blew me off when I injured it grrrrrrr.

  8. Johnna Stahl at 11:26 am

    Andi, what a horror story! And thanks so much for posting this information, as this is the first time I’ve heard that lidocaine doesn’t work for everyone.

    Your story brings to mind an occasion where I was having a root canal, and I was like, I can feel that! The thin steel rods the dentist was using to clean out the roots? Hey, doctor, I can feel that! I cried and cried… and he kept working.

    The dentist didn’t chastise me for crying; in fact, he just didn’t care. Did his assistant care? Not enough to wipe my tears as I was being worked on — I had to do that myself.

    I do remember one dentist who, after the assistant kept complaining that I wasn’t opening wide enough, finally remarked (rather tersely)… “She can’t.”

    And then there was the occasion when I was a teenager, and the dentist’s assistant and my dad had to hold me down as the dentist pulled a tooth.

    I could make a list of each vividly remembered (and traumatic) dental visit I’ve ever had… but that would be depressing. 🙂

    Talk about dental PTSD…

  9. Andi S at 11:35 am

    I was told by a doctor who was performing conscious outpatient surgery on me that I was a “drama queen” because I told him that I could feel everything he was doing, and eventually began to cry. He said “I’ve used twice the normal dose of lidocaine on you, you can’t feel anything!” I could close my eyes and describe what he was doing, but he wrote it off as hysteria.

    I had multiple surgeries performed, was told that I had a “low pain tolerance,” and doubted my own body . . .

    . . . until I found out that I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and one of the very common symptoms for EDS is *lidocaine insensitivity* — yep, they’d been operating on me with NO ANESTHESIA.

    When I discovered the connection between EDS and lidocaine insensitivity, I asked the next doctors who were going to be doing procedures to use alternate anesthesia (Marcaine, Carbocaine, and my dentist uses Septocaine.)

    Wonder of wonders, using a different drug ACTUALLY MAKES ME NUMB.

    It took 10+ years of doctors ignoring me to get there, though — and that was incredibly traumatic. Not one of those (multiple) doctors ever tried a different anesthetic when I told them that I wasn’t numb. None of them bothered to check and see if the lidocaine was working (i.e., closing my eyes and jabbing with a pin.)

    All of them felt the need to tell me that it was MY problem, probably all in my head — but it turns out that they weren’t practicing evidence-based medicine. Lidocaine works on EVERYBODY, right? Therefore, I obviously had to be making it up.

  10. LOP at 1:10 pm

    Boy can I relate. I started with chronic pain in 1990. It took until 1995 to get a FMS dx. I worked a FT job and did all the things moms do chasing after kidlet, husband, PTA, mtgs, etc. with no real pain relief and a heap of fatigue. Finally I found a Ortho who sent me for CT, x-rays. Found out my lumbar and cervical spine is basically crumbling with spurs forming, and I have an impinged shoulder. (NOT good for a instrumental music educator. My hands and arms are my life!) He also though he saw rheumatological issues so sent me for a crap load of blood work a few years down the pike and sent me to a rheumy he knew. (Keep in mind I’d already seen 4 rheumys before #5. All said FMS.) After a few years, I popped up with a mostly Sjogrens with some lupus findings. That only took 12 years. My ortho is my favorite person in the whole wide world (with the exception of my family, of course). He hugged me once when I was really down. He’s seen me at my worst and at my best. He’s prayed for me and my family. He’s more like a knowledgeable loving uncle. I will never find that again in a physician. I just hope he lives and practices to age 110.!!!

  11. Amanda at 6:17 am

    I was always fit and healthy, then 7 years ago I started to get severe pain in my hips that would last months then dissapear for weeks only to return. 7 years I went from Dr to Dr trying to get a dx and relief from the pain. Recently the pain started in my hands and knees also, my memory has been impacted and also my speech, I can be mid sentence and lose the word I was about to say or say my words around the wrong way.

    I’ve had drs laugh at me and tell me i can’t possibly have have what I wanted to be tested for ( an auto immune disease that can be inherited that my father had) and questioned as to why I think I’m in so much pain?

    Drs just wanting to throw me scripts for pain meds when all I wanted was answers.

    Finally found a dr who listened and sent me for tests, 7 years later finally confirmed I have ankylosing spondylitis, but due to delay in treatment I also have severe erosion in my SI joints yay!

    Treatment finally starting and hopefully at some stage I can feel normal again.

  12. Faye at 2:02 pm

    I was a Critical Care RN for 27 years before becoming disabled. (not due to my pain)
    I went into respiratory distress Jan 2014, was placed on a ventilator and woke up in March 2014 in a Specialty Hospital. I was returned to my home town for physical therapy to walk again. When I woke up, I remained confused, but I kept complaining of severe Rt hand pain. It was terribly swollen.So, through out one hospital and 4 weeks of Rehab. the cause of my pain was dismissed. I was given pain meds, but the cause was ignored. In August I finally had a muscle function test done and I had severe damage to the ulnar nerve in my hand, starting at the elbow. By then, the pain was not so bad because I had already developed complete numbness of the pinkie finger and it was spreading to the ring finger. Now basically, we don’t know how much function that I will eventually have because I am on a blood thinning medication along with several severe further diagnosis, surgery is a no. Also, I say no. We are going to control this decreased function. I also have severe pain at my hip (SI Joint) so far my Internist is giving me meds after I told him that he or the Neurologist was going to give me something for the pain because I would not live like this.. I have Bi Polar, so he took my word, read between the lines. I can say don’t take no for an answer and call them like you see them. Tell them that you do have patient rights and will not hesitate to exercise them.
    I wish all of you well. I apologize for the grammar problems. I lost a lot of memory with the prolonged hospitalization. Blessings.

  13. Carol at 10:20 am

    I am so sorry to here about all of this pain. I have been judge all the time it all in your head I said it not in my head in my body where the pain hurt.
    All I can do is pray for this system we live in with no compassion or concern about sick people today. What help me not to want to die is hope and know that God put each one of us on earth for a reason. I have many illness because you don’t look the part the doctor think there nothing wrong with you or many they don’t how to fix it. I have try doing a lot of greens,some fruit, Infra sauna, renounce, praying, juices, it help but I am not there yet I try to focus on the positive it hard sometime when you feel sick. But just hang in there God is good all the time he do not change but we do.

  14. Heather at 6:50 pm

    When I was a teenager, I went to our family doc several times for headaches. I’ve always had headaches, even when I was a little kid. Bad headaches. For a little while he gave me some wussy pain meds (darvocet, etc.) & when I complained they were no longer working, I got the ‘live with it’ spiel. No xrays or MRIs to find out why this young person had chronic headaches. I was basically treated like I wanted the pain meds to get a buzz.

    I even had my all wisdom teeth pulled after discussing the headaches with my dentist (boy was *that* fun). Did that stop the headaches? Nope.

    The cause of my headaches wasn’t found until an xray after my first car accident showed I had a total reversal of the curvature of the spine of my neck & arthritis from the reversal of my spine. Even then it was nearly impossible to get pain meds & by self-medicating with OTC meds wound up in the emergency room 3 times for not being able to stop vomiting because my stomach was ruined from the OTC meds.

    My family & I basically put the pieces of the (almost) life long headaches puzzle together ourselves & figured that the reversal of the curvature of my spine was congenital, since I’ve always had poor posture & headaches since I was a little kid.

    After the last car accident I was in caused herniated discs in my neck, my neck pain & headaches were finally taken seriously by the wonderful *female* doctor I’ve been seeing now for years. It took a long time to find her, but it is possible to find good doctors through trial & error. All my docs are women & personally, I think women are better docs than men are. They listen. They take you seriously. The women docs I’ve been to aren’t condescending. Women are naturally caregivers & I think that’s also partly why they’re better doctors.

    I hope this helps some folks out there that are suffering. Keep trying to find the doctors that will listen. They are out there.

    Best of luck to all on their journey to find relief from their pain & suffering.

  15. Kate Johnson at 5:23 pm

    Just because you manage to finish medical school and residency doesn’t mean you have any communication skills or empathy.

    This is why the suicide rate in people with chronic pain is so high.

  16. Zo at 12:11 am

    I’m 23 and have rheumatoid arthritis and saw a locum doctor (male) recently because I was getting back pain in exact kidney location. I have had kidney inflammation before. He said “young people don’t have more than one thing wrong with them” and sent me home! I dropped in a sample to the nurse the next day and it showed blood caused by kidney inflammation!

    My previous rheumatologist was male and very intimidating. Any symptoms that didn’t fit his diagnosis would be ignored. I moved house and changed to a rheumy who happened to be female, she listened to my history and symptoms and found that I’d been misdiagnosed for 2 years. Which is why I’d been getting worse and worse

    I now have the confidence to be firm with a doctor when I’m not getting the right treatment. But I shouldn’t have to!

  17. Jaswars at 7:46 pm

    I actually just started secretly recording every conversation with Doctors, nurses, and the brilliant all knowing
    Pharmanarcissists (pharmacists) whom are the worst offenders in this epidemic against legit Pain Patients. You are correct to post, “whom will the lawyers or judges believe?
    Start recording everyone as one day you WILL catch them breaking the law when it comes to your rights.

  18. Johnna Stahl at 7:24 pm

    To Marci: I know there are doctors that don’t believe that fibromyalgia exists, just like, sadly, there are doctors who don’t believe that the condition of chronic pain is a real thing.

    Decades ago, when I was first diagnosed with TMJ, there were few people in the medical and dental industries that believed it was a real condition. I didn’t believe it either, and it took me years to understand that, yes, TMJ is real. Unfortunately, just like with fibromyalgia, having my condition diagnosed was both good and bad news. Of course, back then, my health insurance didn’t cover TMJ; and I think most plans still don’t cover it.

    To Lana: I don’t know what I would have said to a doctor that told me I needed to get drunk and have sex to treat my headaches — but I feel pretty confident in saying that I would have stopped payment on that doctor’s check at the earliest opportunity. (And maybe I would have called Gloria Allred… just kidding.)

    To Cait McKnelly: Don’t you hate it when you know more than the medical “expert” you are paying to advise you?

    To this website: I would like to request a change in the comment software, to something that allows me to respond separately to each post. Thanks for listening.

  19. Trudy Mercer at 7:19 pm

    I went to my PCP because of pain around my waist. The doctor (a woman) could not find an exact location, but did not completely dismiss it. Because I didn’t “complain enough,” I had to wait until the next day to be seen by a surgeon. He said it was probably my gallbladder, but he wasn’t sure. (It was.) Again, because I did not complain enough they made me wait a week for the surgery. The gallstones blocked the gallbladder causing it to swell and bruise all of my internal organs. It took 3 months to recover instead of a few days it could have been with laparoscopic surgery.

    In the hospital, the first nurse attending me told me not to wait so long for pain meds, to ask for them as soon as the minimum time (4 hours) was up. I did. The next nurse told me I didn’t need them. They were going to send me home a few hours after the surgery, but gave me the option of spending the night. I am so glad I did. I woke up in horrible pain barely able to breathe. Air that had been captured in my body from being opened for surgery was putting so much pressure on my chest that I thought I was having a heart attack. No one told me that could happen.

    I was in graduate school, missed a full month of classes and could not get any letters of recommendation from my professors. All my classes were incompletes. I ended up dropping out. I had taken out loans and am now paying them off with low paying jobs. I am 62 and will be paying on them until I die.

  20. Marci H. at 2:53 pm

    I blew out a knee in 1994. During the attempt at recovery, the pain began, along with many accompanying symptoms. It got so bad, I was in a wheelchair, and my (then) husband had to help me with virtually all my needs. For the next two and a half years, I went from doctor to doctor, trying to get a diagnosis. I kept getting told, “Well, except for an elevated Sed rate, there’s basically nothing wrong with you. It’s all in your head.” It took a rheumamologist at a university hospital to give me a diagnosis. If she had said the same thing, I had full intent to have myself committed that same day, because I was convinced by then that I was mentally ill. I cried like a baby with relief when I got that diagnosis, even though it was, by no means, an end to my pain. It did, however, relieve me of the fear for my sanity. To this day, however, I still know of doctors who do not believe fibromyalgia even exists.

  21. Melody at 6:21 am

    I have been told I need to see a psychiatrist, you can live with this, there is nothing wrong with you, you just need to be put on heavy psy meds, that is all that is wrong with you. I’m a regisgtered nurse. I know better. I am now not able to go shopping unless I use an elecgric cart. I have to use an electric chair to do appointments. I can hardly take a pcture my hands shake. I have daily pain and if I over do my activity, I’m in bed. Even the social security disability is telling me I can work. And this is just the tip of the ice berg in my health issues. Still lookkng for a doctor.

  22. Cait McKnelly at 8:28 pm

    I have nerve damage from diabetes that causes excruciating pain at times. I had a neurologist tell me once that there was “no pain component” to neuropathy. I never went back to him. I repeated this to another neurologist who was stunned and said, “Why would he say that?”

  23. Jamie chapman at 7:53 pm

    You couldn’t possibly have that. Its to rare. 4 months later of living in pure hell. Positive test dx of central diabetes insipidus.

  24. Lana at 7:09 am

    I had a male doctor tell me the solution to my migraines was a good bottle of red wine and sex.

  25. Andrea at 5:10 am

    so many of these sound familiar. as above i was a healthy, fit person still in the process of losing some of my baby weight from my last child. I play 2 adult coed sports, and run 5 ks…all the sudden my legs started feeling like they were running marathons in my sleep they hurt so bad when i woke up. they’d twitch and were tight when i was sitting completely relaxed! I’ve heard everything. the first doctor I saw asked me if I was sure that I was really excersizing and not just sitting on my couch eating cookies!!!! (because oh yeah, i also gained 25 pounds like nothing) I went through 9 doctors until I found a combo of endocrinologist, physical therapist, nutritionist and pcp who would take me seriously

  26. donna at 2:27 am

    This is sadly too true & outrageous!
    So much research evidence re gender bias and undertreatment of pain with women.
    That also applies to men and children!
    Disgusting!
    Stand up with your head held high.
    Just because U have pain / chronic health issues
    doesn’t mean U did anything wrong.
    Refuse to let anyone shame or bully you into submission!
    you are the expert on ur own body!
    Hugs to fellow sufferers <3

  27. Johnna Stahl at 9:51 pm

    “You’re in pain because you don’t believe in God.”

    So, if I start believing in God, does that mean my pain will go away? And if my pain doesn’t go away, does that mean my belief in God isn’t strong and pure enough?

    So, doctor, my pain is all my fault, right?

    “Are you sure you’re not just looking for drugs?”

    I’m looking for relief (and some sanity) — are drugs the only treatment you can offer me that actually works?

    “Chronic pain shouldn’t be treated with pain medication.”

    Yes, you’re right, chronic pain patients should just suffer — live miserable lives and die years early from the stress (or from suicide).

    A study by researcher Dr. Sean Mackey, professor of anesthesiology at Stanford University, indicated: “For every year that a brain is in chronic pain, it ages the equivalent of 10 years.”

    Don’t doctors know that the under-treatment of chronic pain leads to drug abuse and overdoses?

    No, what this doctor was saying is that chronic pain shouldn’t be treated at all. Patients should just ignore pain and hope it goes away, right?

    When you add under-treated acute pain to the non-treatment of chronic pain, you end up with wish-you-were-dead intractable pain. Thanks doctors!

  28. Taylor at 8:54 pm

    I’ve had doctors tell me about how getting pregnant would fix my endometriosis. Kinda hard to do that when the ENDOMETROSIS CAUSED MY INFERTILITY YOU JACK ASS.

  29. Marci Gower at 6:13 pm

    The fact that co-pays are collected upfront infuriate me. I had a doctor demand fresh X-ray’s be taken in his office before I was seen, even tho I came with all of my own records and then when he came in the exam room and found out I had RSD (my husband was with me) he said ‘I can’t treat that or even touch you – you need to learn to live with that.’ -UNBELIEVABLE! So how about refunding my co-pay since you won’t even treat me or touch me? Nope! But he did feel it was ok to bring a student in and point at me like a freak show… I was in tears. Seeing that, his parting words were, ‘Have you tried a psychiatrist to come to terms with this?’. I’m pretty sure if I had been a man this visit would have been quite different.

  30. Candice at 5:12 pm

    I am a chronic pain sufferer… I’m only 33 with severe autoimmune disease attacking every joint in my once perfectly “fit” body. I was not overweight nor lazy when I got sick. I took great care with my body and my health so I never truly developed a good relationship with any doctor besides my OB-GYN.
    Then I got sick and all hell broke loose. I literally woke up one morning and could not bear weight on my aching red swollen feet. I couldn’t grasp my toothbrush. Something was TERRIBLY wrong.
    I went to he ER and was basically given the evil eye and shoved out the door with no treatment only a referral to see my PCP on Monday.
    My PCP barely knew me, as I was a healthy person before this. He also treated me stand-offishly said this was way over his head and made me feel likeci was wrong to week treatment for whatever was taking my strength and life away. He referred me to a rheumatologist but the appointment was 3 months away.. My PCP GAVE ME NOTHING TO TREAT THE EXCRUTIATING PAIN I was enduring and had tovendurecfor three months.
    I went to the ER several times during that waiting period… I was completely bedridden, wearing diapers, and losing weight rapidly because I could not grasp a fork to feed myself. I had to borrow my two yr olds sippy cup just to get fluid into my body… My legs and arms and hands were weak and hurt and burned so bad they were useless. The ER’s were of no help… They only madero feel worse and more hopeless. I was treated like a drug seeker. I had no diagnosis and they weeny about to look for one, just emotionally abuse me neglect my medical needs and PASS THE BUCK.
    The first rheumatologist appointment was a Godsend… He looked at recent bloodwork and did an exam and immediately concluded I had autoimmune disease… RA or PSA. He started treatment immediately with steroids and DMARDS but he warned it would take several months to see much improvement. I asked him what do I do about the pain until then… All he said was “u have made it this far… I think u will survive (and laughed).
    I was in shock. I got a diagnosis. This was not some pain I imagined in my head… I couldn’t walk for the pain of my body screaming at me… And this rheumatologist KNEW it. Yet he refused to provide pain relief to me. And he made me feel like a criminal for even asking.
    This should not have happened to me… But it’s happening not only to me but MANY MANY others in our healthcare system.
    To ask a doctor for pain relief is like skiing to be beat with a wooden paddle… And the emotional turmoil that ensues after being sick and in pain then being made to feel like u are wrong in some way, only adds insult to injury. I equate it with emotional abuse.
    That’s why we as Americans need to make a stand… And MY SOLUTION is to secretly record any and all interactions with healthcare providers.
    No lawyer will take a medical malpractice case because there is generally a lack of evidence. Solve that by RECORDING your interactions…. So it’s not just the “good” doctors word against yours!
    Besides who would believe a “drug seeker” over a well respected MD???
    No one… That is why I advise taking a stand in your own health….. Protect yourself and your rights… And RECORD!!!
    Maybe if we start recording, doctors will either shape up or ship out… Or get sued.
    Either way… We must end this gender bias…. And neglect and abuse from uncaring doctors.
    Medicine is the only business where customer service does not matter… U pay up front before u have even seen the doctor and there are dure as heck no refunds for poor service.
    This needs to change…

  31. Marty at 2:33 pm

    I must have excellent doctors then because not once in all these years has a doctor responded to me in any of these ways.

  32. Jaswars at 11:15 am

    This quote that I read absolutely enraged me. How can a DR. say something like this to anybody. What a deplorable human feces.

    “I’m a big advocate for suffering! So, to be honest, you should suffer.