Four in ten women visit a medical expert multiple times to get correct diagnosis

Four in ten women have had to visit a medical professional multiple times before receiving an appropriate diagnosis, according to research. Of these, 16 percent had to attend more than five appointments before their issue was accurately diagnosed.

The research, of 5,022 women, found it is most likely to happen to those aged 18-24, with over half of this age group (53 percent) experiencing such issues.

People from BAME communities are also disproportionately affected, with it happening to 51 percent of Asian or Asian British women, and 44 percent of black or black British women – compared to just 38 percent of those who are white.

The study was commissioned by research agency, OnePoll, whose spokeswoman, Becky Lackenby said: “Getting a medical appointment once is a challenge at the moment.

“Getting multiple, with potentially differing advice from each one, is not only frustrating, but could have health implications. Our report found women in the UK are having a real battle when it comes to receiving appropriate healthcare.

“Women’s health concerns, such as menopause and endometriosis, are often dismissed or misdiagnosed, leaving them to navigate a labyrinth of uncertainty.

“It’s time we recognise that getting an accurate medical diagnosis should not be a battle, but a right. In the pursuit of accurate diagnoses, women should not have to prove themselves. Let’s challenge the stereotypes and biases that hinder our healthcare.”

The research revealed that, of those who have had to go through multiple visits to medical professionals before getting a correct diagnosis, 11 percent waited more than three years to finally have the issue resolved.

On average, the longest they have had to wait is 10.8 months – but this increases to 16.8 months for unemployed respondents, and decreases to 6.9 months, on average, for those from London.

The study also found 13 percent, if presented with advice on a women’s health issue they were unsure of, or contrary to what they thought, would not question it.

Nearly half (48 percent) of these simply trust in medical professionals’ expertise – rising to 67 percent of those aged over 65.

And 44 percent would simply feel too awkward to say anything, with the same number not wanting to “undermine” a professional’s authority.

Nearly one in three (32 percent) would not feel very confident in asking for a second opinion on a medical issue, while 24 percent would also have reservations about asking to be referred to a specialist.

Athena Lamnisos, CEO for The Eve Appeal, said: “At Eve, we hear from women every day who are worried about signs and symptoms that they’re experiencing, and are struggling to get a diagnosis.

“Late diagnosis leads to anxiety at best, and a more difficult to treat diagnosis at worst. It’s a repeated story of multiple visits to the GP, often not feeling listened to.

“We know that it’s worse for many women who find it more difficult to access services that are tailored to their needs, and who find it harder to advocate for themselves.

“When you get up the courage to see your doctor about a gynaecological symptom that’s been worrying you, but that you might feel very anxious or even embarrassed about, and you don’t feel heard, two different harms happen.

“There’s the harm of feeling not listened to, and then there’s sometimes the tragic harm of a delayed diagnosis.”

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