Trusted For

Medical gaslighting occurs more frequently to women

If you are a woman, it likely doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that women seeking health care often get their symptoms ignored or downgraded by their physicians. It’s a form of medical gaslighting that happens every day in the medical community.

Below are some of the ways that medical gaslighting can take place.

Denial of pain

People in severe pain show up at the emergency room because they can no longer manage their pain on their own. But women get treated differently. For instance, pain from a woman’s monthly cycle could be due to an ovarian cyst or even cancer, but might get diagnosed as “normal period pain.”


Lupus and other autoimmune conditions often first get passed off as depression in women, which can actively endanger their health and lifespan. Even symptoms of heart attacks and cardiac diseases get written off as simply anxiety when the patients are female.

Longer wait times in the ER

An Academic Emergency Medicine journal article published a study that determined women presenting at the emergency department had wait times of nearly 33% longer than their male counterparts.

How can gender biases in the medical field be combated?

There must be a sea change in medicine where medical students are taught to treat female patients’ complaints of pain and other symptoms are taken seriously and triaged appropriately in the ER. But that is a long-term goal that will take time to address and alter.

In the short term, female patients and others who experienced adverse medical outcomes due to misdiagnoses and other medical errors have the right to seek financial compensation for their medical ordeals. 

Learning more about your rights and responsibilities under the law can help you make the decision on how to proceed if you have been the victim of medical malpractice.