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Health charities warn women with UTIs are “patronised” and “not believed” when seeking medical help as new research reveals “medical misogyny”

Research by Garmin finds 40% of young women say they have been accused of over-exaggerating symptoms of UTIs.     

While it’s clear that already strained services and a lack of funding contributed to the impact of the pandemic on the healthcare system, health inequality isn’t something that’s unique to Covid-19.

Instead, it’s often the result of commonly misunderstood, misrepresented and mistreated conditions that disproportionately affect women, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis and urinary tract infections (UTIs).

New research from fitness company Garmin, published by The Independent, found that 40% of young women say they have been accused of over-exaggerating symptoms of UTIs or being “overdramatic” about their wellbeing when seeing a doctor. 45% also said they’ve had their UTI symptoms written off as “part of being a woman”.

According to the Chronic Urinary Tract Infection Campaign (CUTIC), 50% of all women will suffer at least one UTI episode in their lifetime, one third of these by the age of 24. 

“Statistics show that UTI is the most common infection seen by GPs,” says CUTIC. “In fact, doctors are so familiar with UTIs that they are frequently dismissed as merely a woman’s problem, rooted in the ‘flawed female anatomy’.

“With little training in UTI management, GPs and urologists rely heavily on discredited laboratory tests which miss up to 60% of infections."

“The medical training for UTI diagnosis is inadequate and most doctors are not aware of the complexity of this illness. They are trained to accept the test results and look no further,” CUTIC suggests.

“It is clear from the recent government probe into menopause that women’s health has not been an area of priority. Conditions which primarily affect women are underfunded and under researched – this includes UTIs. Women are frequently patronised and not believed when they describe symptoms relating to UTIs, peri-menopause, menopause and vaginal atrophy. Medical training fails to include proper diagnosis and effective treatment for such conditions. Change is needed now.”

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Source: The Stylist, 2 February 2022

Have you attempted to access treatment for a urinary tract infection (UTI), or recurrent UTIs? We'd love you to share your experiences with us? Share your experience on the hub.


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