Why are women flocking to functional medicine doctors?
Women are attracted to functional medicine like a moth to a flame. In fact, my practice is approximately 75 - 80 percent women. And there are a bunch of reasons why. Primarily, they need it!
It doesn’t take long once you learn about functional medicine to realize it attracts primarily women.
Well, the first and most evident is that chronic disorders affect more women than men and conventional medicine’s treatment of women often ranges from disappointing to dehumanizing. In fact it is estimated that women are 4 times more likely to suffer from some type of chronic disease than men.
Let’s not mention the fact that women tend to make better patients than men. No offense guys, but for how much we tend to be the “fix it” guy or mentality. When it comes to actually fixing ourselves or our health, men suck at it.
For one, a lot of times guys don’t like someone telling them what to do. And secondly, with the way our society is and even more so with guys, if you don’t get an immediate reaction or result then we tend not to stick with it. Well, I have news for you,
That not how getting healthy works.
You will not get healthy by popping and pill.
Conventional medicine failing women
When women show up at doctors’ offices with “mystery” symptoms from chronic disorders they are often left feeling demoralized and hopeless.
So what are some of areas where conventional medicine fails women? AND unfortunately this is by no means a comprehensive list, which is very sad!
Mystery symptoms dismissed as psychosomatic or whining.
Autoimmune disease overwhelmingly afflicts more women than men and can cause years and even decades of symptoms before diagnosis. Many women are told to exercise more, meditate, or take anti-depressants for their symptoms but given no real solutions.
Another all to common comment I hear with many types of conditions but particularly with autoimmune disease it “your symptoms/condition is not bad enough, come back when they get worse or progress and then we will do something about it. “
Thats just crazy talk! Essentially what this breaks down to is that you might be in the early stage of an autoimmune disease but not technically “have” the disease. They are saying wait until you actually have it and then come see me.
WHY NOT TRY TO STOP OR REVERSE IT FIRST?
Told to exercise more for chronic fatigue.
Chronic fatigue affects four times as many women as men. However, these women are often simply told to exercise as many doctors don’t believe in chronic fatigue, even though it is now medically recognized. These women often end up feeling worse. There can be many different reasons for chronic fatigue, from adrenal fatigue, low iron, low thyroid, malnutrition, Gut dysfunction, and parasites to name a few. These should at least be explored don’t you think?
Pain in women undertreated.
Studies show doctors are slower to treat pain in female patients in emergency rooms and generally undertreat women for pain.
Fibromyalgia, a disorder of chronic pain, also affects mostly women and is often regarded as not legitimate.
In fact, some researchers believe disorders such as fibromyalgia and autoimmunity are so frequently belittled and dismissed because they affect predominantly women.
Poorer response to female heart disease.
Women have worse outcomes from heart attacks because medicine looks at male-based heart symptoms. For instance, many women do not have chest pain, it can often present as stomach pain similar to gallbladder problems. As a result, treatment is often less aggressive than necessary.
Hospital childbirth practices traumatic.
If there is one place where many women lose their faith in medicine, it is during a hospital childbirth. Women are often pressured into unnecessary procedures or left hung out to dry emotionally in the event of a problem or emergency. As a result, many leave the hospital with postpartum PTSD.
Female sexual abuse survivors also experience worse outcomes in these scenarios.
Male-based studies don’t translate to female patients.
Most medical models are based on male physiology. As a result, many signs and symptoms that present differently in women go misdiagnosed or dismissed. Autism and heart attacks are two examples.
Plus, women experience chronic diseases such as autoimmunity, fibromyalgia, and hypothyroidism at significantly higher rates than men and thus are often told their symptoms are “in their head.” Making a comment like this is the last thing anyone, let alone a doctor should say. You should never minimize a patients symptoms. They don’t know what someone else is feeling.
Functional medicine for women
Lets be honest, women are more delicate in general. And this is partly because there is a lot more going on inside a women than a man. More moving parts equals more things to potentially go wrong. They have monthly cycles in hormones which is a delicate balance or dance of hormones, they are built to carry babies, they tend to be smaller so outside forces such as toxins can affect them easier, and since their brains are wired differently than men, stresses affect them differently. And this is the short list.
Fortunately, in functional medicine we conduct comprehensive histories, examinations, and testing with all patients regardless of gender. Some of the testing that we routinely send clients for might include blood, urine, stool, hair, saliva, and anything or everything else that might be needed.
We specialize in working with chronic so-called “mystery” disorders that predominantly affect women and are explained in the scientific literature.
One thing we frequently hear from women is how good it feels to finally be heard.
Ask my office how we can help you.
I’m Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, be happy!