March’s modality of the month is brought to us by one of our very own, Meghan Cleary. Meghan is a writer whose focuses on the role of endocrine disruptors and clinical gender bias in women's healthcare.
She has put together a done for you, downloadable seminar on how to get insurance companies to pay for your endometriosis excision surgery with an out of network specialist.
Q&A WITH MEGHAN
What is an endocrine disruptor and why should I care?
109 (or more) of the current 84,0000 chemicals being manufactured and in use in the U.S. today are endocrine disruptors. These sneaky guys mess with your endocrine system, which is a delicate traffic signal operation inside your body that controls everything from how your blood is flowing to your reproductive system functionality.
EDC's are basically in everything we touch, smell, drink or eat because of the plastic packaging that's used, pesticides sprayed on our food, and EDC's now in our waterways.
Women are predominantly affected by EDC's because we have a higher percentage of adipose tissue -- which is an endocrine organ.
What is clinical gender bias?
Clinical gender bias is an inherent bias in medical studies and research based on the fact that medical studies and research -- not just of conditions, but also of drugs, were only done on primarily white men until 1991 when the NIH said you have to include women. (Not including studies that were done on people of color without their consent). This means that the medical community literally doesn't have clinical, evidence based, information to make decisions about diagnosis and recommend care for women's bodies. When it comes to anything labelled reproductive - things are even worse. You can watch Meghan's 15 minute presentation on this at the EndoFound conference, but suffice to say, when doctors don't have facts about women's bodies, women can get hurt. In fact, the primary diagnostic for women having a heart attack was women, until 2011 - when we started to learn women present with heart attacks differently, was that women showed up dead on arrival to the ER. Not the best diagnostic tool!
How do these two things affect healthcare for women who have endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, pelvic floor dysfunction and more?
First, our bodies are inundated with endocrine disruptors -- so that sets us up for higher rates of fibroids, endo, etc. One NYU professor has written extensively about this and calls it a public health emergency. So we're kind of set up to have these medical problems, and then when we go to seek health care, our doctors literally do not know anything about our bodies. This puts women in a serious bind for anything having to do with what is called reproductive health. The harms to female bodies in this country are well documented - from not believing us when we have an ovarian torsion, to misdiagnosing our fibroids, all the way through to maternal health where we have some of the highest rates of maternal mortality, particularly among women of color.
This is a total bummer, what can I do about it?
Reduce your EDC's from a practical level - this sadly, includes cosmetics and beauty. And if you feel like you are not being heard at the doctor's office, or treated properly, do your homework, research the shit out of what you have and find a doctor who will take you seriously. Remember, even if you have a doctor who doesn't know how to help you, if they at least believe you and are willing to work with you, that's a huge plus.
MORE ABOUT MEGHAN AND HER LIFE'S WORK
We first met Meghan at one our endo events over a year ago. She had endometriosis for 31 years before she got a diagnosis, which caused her to ask WHY IN THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN, thus her informational website, www.bad-periods.com, and forthcoming book of the same name.
Among the many useful resources on her website, Meghan has mastered the healthcare system. She has put together a done for you, downloadable seminar on how to get insurance companies to pay for your endometriosis excision surgery with an out of network specialist.
Listen to her on these podcasts that go deeper on all the above:
CONNECT WITH MEGHAN