Women receive less medical referral than men: '

In the case of physical complaints, men can more easily rely on referral to hospital or a specialist, Ballering's doctoral research shows. One reason for this may be due to knowledge and research into hormones. “Fortunately, more research is now being done on hormones in women's and men's bodies and their relationship to pain or complaints. So it may have had something to do with that.”

Gender roles

“Being a woman or a man is not just about biology, it's also about societal expectations and tasks,” Ballering adds. Especially in the past, the differences were large, meaning that women's complaints were not taken seriously. “Feminine gender roles, such as caregiving and household tasks, contribute to physical complaints. Feminine roles are often accompanied by repetitive movements, such as vacuuming, which can cause muscle and joint complaints. Masculine roles focus more on work, making men “More interested.” There may be industrial accidents.”

Housewife fatigue

“When men do more housework, they experience similar complaints as women,” Ballering says. In addition to physical differences, religion and socioeconomic status affect an individual's health. “At the beginning of the 20th century, more and more Dutch families could live on one income, creating the ideal of women staying at home to take care of the family.”

This gave rise to housewife fatigue in the 1960s. The mysterious illness eventually turns out to be depression. “Women have been let down by a lack of medical knowledge.”

Sensitive to women

“Future research should focus on improving women's health care and reducing these disparities,” Ballering says. The biomedical world sees that the medical world is now paying more attention to women's hearts and women-friendly medicine. “It is now accepted that women are not a copy of men with a uterus and that the prognosis may differ. However, there is still much work to be done.”

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Megan Vasquez

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