A new government inquiry will examine women’s pain and treatment
February 1, 2024 4:53 AM   Subscribe

A new Victorian government inquiry will examine women’s pain and treatment. How and why is it different? Women are disproportionately affected by pain in terms of how common it is and sensitivity, but also in how their pain is viewed, treated, and even researched.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries (13 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Here's where I recommend two books about how women are absolutely hard done by in any healthcare system and have been since forever:

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez

Unwell Women by Elinor Cleghorn
posted by Kitteh at 6:17 AM on February 1 [8 favorites]

Another good read: Anne Wheaton (Wil Wheaton's wife) did a blog post about how she had ovarian torsion and was misdiagnosed and pretty much written off at first, and spent the next 24 hours in excruciating pain before getting dragged back to the ER again by Wil where they saw a different doctor who basically said "what the fuck" and properly diagnosed her.

The blog post itself isn't the part I'm recommending, though - I'm recommending it for the SCORES of comments from women saying "yeah, something like that happened to me too." I'm one of 'em, even - I have also had ovarian torsion, and while my own doctors were better equipped, this is pain that does not fuck around.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:50 AM on February 1 [16 favorites]

I was just about to recommend Invisible Women too. Very well put-together book.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:21 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]

Cat Bohannon's Eve (a really great read!) is not really about this, but does cover the topic of why women are not used in medical/drug testing in a lot of very interesting detail. It's more complicated than I had realized but its so frustrating that we still have so little understanding of how female type bodies experience and deal with pain. I hope this inquiry will bring some good changes.
posted by supermedusa at 8:46 AM on February 1 [7 favorites]

Also adjacent is Kate Moore's Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women (2017). The young women working on the shop-floor painting luminous clock dials got zero PPE while the men working in the lab (albeit with much higher exposure) had PPE. As the radium they ingested displaced calcium in their bones and the latter started to crumble their pain was often dismissed or diminished. I was listening to the Cautionary Tales podcast earlier today in which Kate Moore gives the 40m exec summary.
posted by BobTheScientist at 10:36 AM on February 1 [4 favorites]

of course this isn't being done in america...

it continues to infuriate me that the POSSIBILITY THAT I MIGHT HAVE A BABY (despite being 43, on birth control, and also a pretty nonsexual relationship) is more important to doctors than i get the drugs that might help me. a being that does not currently exist is more important than me.

and yes, pain. the number of stories i read of women getting cervical/uterine/endometrial/breast biopsies with no pain relief, not even lidocaine, is just exhausting. this has literally happened to me and i STILL find it almost unbelievable sometimes. like really? inserting something thru the cervix to take a chunk of uterus out doesn't seem like something that might need pain relief?
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:47 PM on February 1 [5 favorites]

A link to the 5 part Serial podcast The Retrievals seems apropos. This covered the matter of women doing egg retrievals without pain management because the nurse was stealing their Fentanyl. What remains unanswered is why the doctors doing the actual retrievals seemed unmoved by women writhing on the table and complaining of pain and then further gaslighting them into thinking that they are just being too delicate or that maybe the drugs don’t work on them. You mean the saline? Yeah, doc, it’s not working.
posted by amanda at 1:59 PM on February 1 [6 favorites]

This is a fantastic, albeit drastically overdue, thing to be happening. Let's hope the outcomes are taken more seriously by governments than women in pain are by doctors.
posted by dg at 6:23 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

Please note that Caroline Criado-Perez is a TERF, so if you're going to read the book you should probably at the very least buy it used.
posted by adrienneleigh at 9:05 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]

adrienneleigh, I was afraid of that. I checked out the book from the library ages ago, and it dawned on me recently that if she's UK-based writer the likelihood of being a TERF was high. IIRC, her book doesn't go into trans issues at all, even in an deprecating way. That sucks, though. Thanks for letting me know! I will keep that in mind and stop suggesting it going forwards.
posted by Kitteh at 9:11 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]

kitteh: yeah. she's mostly memory-holed everything as much as possible (her twitter is gone, a lot of older links on her blog no longer resolve) but she was all-in on the first round of Bathroom Wars, among other things, and absolutely adores Rowling.
posted by adrienneleigh at 9:16 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]

fucking TERFs. for those interested Bohannon's Eve does include trans people in her book and covers the complications they face w/r/t the medical establishment in a way that seemed (to me) to be inclusive and accepting.
posted by supermedusa at 10:25 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]

What? New queen, Victoria II, just dropped?!
...oh nm.
posted by otherchaz at 12:09 PM on February 2

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