The 3 Major Reasons Why Women Get Much Worse Healthcare Than Men

And it doesn't seem to be getting any better.

Following a TikTok user pointing out that her partner received more aftercare following his vasectomy than she did after giving birth, Dr Karan Raj stepped in to explain why women are still getting the short straw when it comes to healthcare, and specifically pain relief.

Dr Raj said that this is down to a combination of systemic unconscious bias, a lack of research, as well as a failure to acknowledge biological differences in how women process pain.

All of that has led to pain being dismissed, misdiagnosed or undertreated which can have lethal consequences.

Love. That. For. Us.

Why women’s healthcare still falls behind

The surgeon added that despite advances in healthcare, women are diagnosed ‘significantly’ later across over 700 diseases and in some cases, such as endometriosis, waiting up to 10 years for diagnosis.

Frustratingly, he also revealed that sometimes, women’s pain is wrongly attributed to psycological causes and the word ‘hysteria’ was only removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM classification.


Additionally, women’s health and specifically pain-focused research is less likely to be studied in clinical trials which makes effective treatment difficult to find.

He admitted that to this day, we don’t know how women metabolise and react to various pain medications or how women experience or manifest pain.

Finally, he said that because there are so many knowledge and gender gaps when it comes to women’s pain, “It’s imperative that we treat the pain the patient has, not the pain we think the patient should have.”

How to advocate for yourself at the doctors

According to the period health experts at Clue, these are the best ways to advocate for yourself at a doctor’s appointment:

  • Be prepared and assertive. Write a list of symptoms to discuss with your doctor and on the day, , give the doctor the facts about your symptoms and don’t downplay your symptoms
  • Ask questions. For example, if you don’t feel that your doctor has considered alternatives, simply say, “is there anything else it could be?”
  • Try to not be pressured into treatment that you don’t want to do. It’s normal to need a second opinion and listening to your own thoughts and feelings matters, too
  • Take notes at your appointment to ensure that you remember everything that’s said and can refer back to them in future appointments