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Women's issues are becoming a central part of our political conversations and activism as more (but never enough) women come into power. You may have heard issues such as patriarchy, glass ceilings and wage gaps, or misogyny. But what about women's health issues?

The World Health Organization shared news on the progress and the challenges of women's health over the past 25 years and said:

"Today, sexual and reproductive health conditions remain one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity for women and girls. Violence against women and girls is the most frequent human rights abuse worldwide."

Even thought progress has been made towards equity and autonomy over women's bodies and sexual health, there's still so much more to do.

Redditor MINNESOTAKARMATRAIN_ asked:

"What are some women's issues that are overlooked?"

These painfully true stories are only a glimpse into the global issues that women face every day.


Birth control and the terrible side effects.

"How bad some of the negative effects hormonal birth control can be. I was losing my mind, but my doctor brushed it off saying I was just stressed. Got off it, and instantly felt so much better."

- SleepySamuria_

"I f*cking hate hormonal birth control. I've tried almost every type and they all magically mess me up in different ways. It seems to either makes me so nauseated and wrecks my GI system, it completely kills my sex drive, or it makes me suicidal. I really want my tubes tied but I'm super scared of surgery. I wish there were more non-hormonal options or more options for men. Plus every time I complained about the side effects it was 'Oh are you sure it's the BC, most people handle it just fine!' Please shut up."

- youngatbeingold

"'Oh, you're just stressed.' That phrase! They told me this for months when I was complaining of abnormal, catatonic exhaustion. Finally a doctor thought to test my iron stores and B12 level and I had nearly none of either and was close to permanent nerve damage. Now whenever a doctor utters that phrase to me they get an instant middle finger."

"...just kidding, we also don't get the luxury of anger."

- sabarlah

"I know exactly how you feel, it's so infuriating to be treated like you don't know your own body."

- SleepySamurai_

"Oral contraceptive birth control pills can cause depression and very often do."

"PMS and PMDD aren't taken seriously enough. The depression and anxiety of PMDD are debilitating."

"I'm so sorry but not surprised that so many of you deal with these issues. If you have PMDD, please join us at r/PMDD if only to have a sounding board for when you're feeling bad and wondering if you're crazy. You're not alone!"

- Acceptable_Medicine2

"I really wish this were discussed more. I struggled with depression and anxiety for years throughout my early 20s. I stopped taking birth control and it just vanished. I almost couldn't believe the difference it made. Even my colleagues noticed how much my demeanor had improved. A lot of my friends have stopped taking it too with similar experiences- none of us feel the need to go back."

"Additionally, my friend struggled with migraines for years and no doctor ever suggested that BC could be the cause but she hasn't had one since she stopped taking them years ago. I don't know why nobody ever suggested it."

"I know the pill has been incredibly useful for women to have better control over their bodies and can be very helpful to some. I just wish they had talked through it more when prescribing. The only thing I was worried about was that I'd gain weight on them."

- SecondRain123

Doctor's refusing to go off of birth control.

"Getting off of any form of birth control is hard."

"This past week I had my normal yearly OBG check up. I mentioned I wanted my IUD out. (my normal doctor was out of the office so I had to see someone else). She refused to take my IUD out because I wasn't married and she insisted that my fiancé wouldn't want the chance of us getting pregnant."

- ham799

"'I want you to document in the chart that I requested you remove my IUD and you refused.'"

- STEMpsych

Endometriosis and Period Shame.

"Endometriosis."

- iamapotato88

"It took me 12 years to get a diagnosis and I'm still fighting for acceptable levels of care."

- deinoswyrd

"'One day, you'll wake up and find a little bit of blood in your underpants. And that is the day you become a woman.'"

"Yeah no. I woke up to a scene from Godfather."

- Lucifang

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"Man, I got mine before I was going to bed and had a panic attack thinking I was about to die crying in the bathroom. Aussie sex education is non-existent."

- drphilslefttit

"When I started bleeding at 11, I thought it was because I was masturbating and it had made me ill (overheard the usual 'don't do that it'll make you go blind' which was said to my brother, because no one wants to acknowledge that young girls also go through sexual development...), and assumed I was now dying because of it. Didn't tell anyone because I was ashamed they'd know what I'd been doing."

"So I started throwing away my bloody knickers. My mum found them in the bin and asked why I was doing that, told her I was bleeding, she explained what a period was etc..."

"It's f*cked up to me that periods aren't explained to girls, why are we so scared of girls coming of age? Why are we pretending it doesn't happen? Can we just teach girls about their bodies?"'

- Background-Plenty587

Not given the autonomy and choice of sterilization.

"Not being able to get sterilized when you're 100000000% sure you don't want kids. PMS & cycle in general."

- Myrora

"35 year old woman: I don't want kids. I would like sterilization options."

"Doctor: What? You're too young to make that decision."

"15 year old: I'm pregnant because my idiot boyfriend didn't wear a condom. I'm keeping my baby."

"Doctor: Here is a literal grocery bag full of information on everything you'll need, as well as schedule doctors visits."

"Literally."

- Pancreatic_Pirate

"Not just the U.S. either. My younger sister had two pregnancies, three children, and she nearly died in childbirth twice. She asked for a hysterectomy because she knew she couldn't cope with a third pregnancy, and every doctor told her "she was too young to make that decision, what if she wanted more kids, what if her husband wanted more kids", never mind the fact he walked out on her when he learnt she was pregnant with twins."

"She fought for two years and it was only because she dragged him in with her that a doctor finally consented to give her a hysterectomy. Not the fact that she nearly died during childbirth, not the fact that her pregnancies were difficult and she went into pre-term labour multiple times with both pregnancies, no she only got it because she dragged her deadbeat husband in to 'consent' to her getting a hysterectomy."

"This is in New Zealand... I haven't bothered fighting for a hysterectomy because I know they won't give me one despite the fact I know I'm not having kids - I have a genetic condition which is severely disabling and I'm not passing it on. So I abstain from sex until such time as I know I can't get pregnant, I'm not taking the risk that a condom will break, and I'm on so many meds that the doctors can't guarantee that birth control will be effective. I know other forms exist, but honestly I'd have to fight for that as well since the doctors refuse to accept that I'm not changing my mind."

- ngatiara

Pelvic floor physical therapy.

"Pelvic floor physical therapy! It's life changing, and many women don't know their physical issues can be easily addressed."

- BackpackingTherapist

"Also, incontinence is never normal. It's always a medical issue worthy of treatment."

"So friend is a midwife and she's the one who gave me the "incontinence is always a medical problem" quote. Her journey with pelvic floor physical therapy started after she was kicked in the hip by a horse in college."

"Nothing was broken or obviously torn, but she became incontinent over time afterward. She went to a pelvic floor PT and they fixed her up."


"That same PT later treated my coworker's weird sports injury. She had pain centered around her tailbone and it was really impacting her life. She'd had tests and seen multiple doctors, and they couldn't figure out what was wrong. I recommended she check out this PT and she was like "I'll try anything". She recovered after working with the PT, although they were never quite sure what was the cause. It was probably some deeper core instability — she was a heavy runner who neglected core work but then switched to an intense Pilates class. It probably overtaxed her body."

"ANYWAY, I hope you can ignore your embarrassment and get help. There's no reason to deal with this at any age, you might as well nip this in the bud now. Your pelvic floor is part of your general core and provides support and stabilization — allowing this problem to linger could end up causing back (or tailbone!) pain."

"Remember, a doctor is like a plumber or mechanic — they are hired by you to perform a service. And seeing your body is like scanning an email at the grocery store or accepting a meeting invite. It's not interesting, it's Tuesday and they're meeting a friend for lunch in 35 minutes. They don't care."

"Good luck!"

CorporateDroneStrike

Those who deal with issues around birth control, autonomy, and being believe deserve their voices to be heard. It's beyond time we take these thousands of experiences seriously.

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