The sad truth is that women aren’t always believed or validated by medical professionals when it comes our bodies and concerns. Don’t believe me? Just ask Delylah Henry, a 21-year-old from Texas who just graduated with a BS in Criminal Justice.
Delylah made this TikTok challenging women to share the “craziest thing” a male medical professional has ever said to them, before sharing that a male nurse once asked her, “Are you sure you aren’t just on your period?” when she went to the ER after bleeding from her rectum for “a week straight”:
To quote Delylah in the TikTok: “SIR, THAT IS NOT THE SAME HOLE.”
“Sadly, I was not able to receive the help I needed at the emergency room,” Delylah told BuzzFeed. “Both the male nurse and doctor were unsure of the cause of my rectum bleeding. They ended up sending me to a colon doctor to figure it out. The colon doctor was taken aback by how obvious the problem was, and assured me that the other male medical professionals should have figured it out the moment they checked me.”
And because this CLEARLY isn’t an isolated incident, plenty of women began chiming in with their own experiences and not only are they painfully relatable, but absolutely infuriating. See for yourself:
“I went online and I scheduled an appointment to refill my birth control. The appointment came around and we start talking about my medication refills, which were my birth control and my inhaler. The doctor left, came back, and sat in front of me and said, ‘I refilled your inhaler, but I’m not going to be able to refill your birth control.’ I was kind of confused. I asked why, and he said, ‘Well, because it’s against my religion. Long story short, he ended up getting fired.”
This woman’s doctor told her the pain she was experiencing in her abdomen was just period pain — turns out, an ovarian cyst had popped and she was internally bleeding:
“I was a junior in high school, and I was going to a swim meet because I was a swimmer. I started having horrible, severe, stomach pain. I wrote it off as having cramps because I was on my period at the time, but it got so bad that I couldn’t stand up, talk, or move. So my mom took me to the ER, and the doctor came in and was like, ‘Oh, you said you were on your period right?’ He didn’t do any scans or anything, he just wrote it off as period pains and that I was pretty much just a pussy. Turns out, I had ovarian cysts that popped, I was internally bleeding, and I was going into sepsis. And now, I have so much scarring that I can’t have kids.”
“I was 22 and started having really bad pain in my right, lower abdomen. I was on my period at time, but it got so bad that I thought it was appendicitis. I went to the emergency clinic, got checked out, and they said, ‘It’s not appendicitis, but we’ve found a rather large ovarian cyst on your ovary.’ And, so, the other male doctor said, ‘You know what? I just really don’t understand why women find ovarian cysts so painful. It’s just sitting on your ovary.'”
“I have a lot of really bad back issues, and it got to the point that it was just so painful, I went to a doctor for it. He gave me some X-rays and said, ‘Yeah, your back is perfectly healthy, it doesn’t matter.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, then tell my why I can’t lay down at night? This is horrible.’ He said, ‘It’s just your muscles,’ and gave me muscle relaxers.
Well, surprise surprise, they didn’t work, and earlier this year it got to the point where I’d slipped a disc. I got an MRI to see if it was just a slipped disc, and guess what? I have nerve damage in the part of my back that he was supposed to X-ray and diagnose, but didn’t.”
“Three years ago, I was in a very bad car accident. I hit black ice going 75 mph. Luckily, the only injury was a very smashed collarbone and fear of driving. I obviously had trauma surgery to repair my collarbone because it was in pieces. A few days after, I had a post-op with my trauma surgeon, and he told me three things. One is that the nurses were pissed that they had to hold my ‘fat’ arm in the air during surgery, and he said it looked like a ‘ham hock.’ He then said that most women get [the plate that had been put in place during surgery} removed, but I was so fat you wouldn’t be able to see my collarbone anyway, so it didn’t really matter if it was attractive or not. And three, he kept on insisting my dad was my husband, which was disgusting.”
“About 7-8 weeks into my first pregnancy, I started bleeding and cramping. So, my husband and I went to the emergency room. After about three or four hours, the male doctor came in and said, ‘Well, there goes that baby! That just means you get to try again.’ We had been trying for two years at that point.”
This woman’s doctor felt the need to explain to her what an ectopic pregnancy was, even though she’s JUST HAD an ectopic pregnancy:
#stitch with @heythere_delylah Definitely didn’t go back to him for further treatment. Overall my whole appointment with him was horrible.
“In 2016, I had an ectopic pregnancy. The surgeon who performed my surgery did a really great job and he was even able to save my [fallopian tube]. This year, I went to an OB/GYN and I was talking to him about some symptoms that I felt matched PCOS. When we were reviewing my history and I mentioned that I’d had an ectopic pregnancy, he mentioned that I didn’t have that tube anymore. I corrected him and said the surgeon was able to save my tube, and that I still had both of them. He then decided to pull down a model of the uterus and ovaries, and mansplain what an ectopic pregnancy was. He talked to me like I was SO dumb. I’ve had one, dude, the surgeon explained everything to me.”
“One night I was helping my friend unload her groceries, and I felt this excruciating pain. I didn’t know where it came from, but I knew that it was in my ovaries. After hours of just sitting in my house in excruciating pain, my husband finally talked me into going to the ER. The doctor came in and said, ‘Oh, you have a tummy-ache?’ I said, ‘No, my ovary hurts.’ After arguing with him about my ‘tummy issues’, I had to go into emergency surgery because my fallopian tube exploded due to an ectopic pregnancy.”
“I got put on a new antidepressant and I was on it for a month. My doctor told it me it was supposed to kick in by then. I was having really bad suicidal thoughts, so I went to the doctor’s office and told them it wasn’t working. But, my usual doctor wasn’t there. In walked this 50-year-old man. He told me that I didn’t have depression, that it was probably teenage hormones, and, ‘maybe exercise.’
And then, two days later, I ended up in the hospital because I tried to commit. I talked to so many different doctors, and one walked in and asked, ‘Are you taking any medicine?’ And I said, ‘No, just Welllbutrin.’ While I was sitting there crying my eyes out because I literally wanted to fucking die, he looked at me in my face and said, ‘You’re not taking acne medicine? You know you can see a doctor for that, right?'”
If you are thinking about suicide or just need to talk to someone, you can speak to someone by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and or by texting HOME to 741741, the Crisis Text Line. And here are suicide helplines outside the US.
“I went to the gynecologist to get a checkup and also check on some possible PCOS symptoms. He mentioned, ‘Oh, you’ve gained a lot of weight since your last visit,’ and then said, ‘Well, you know what you could do? Just chew your food, but don’t swallow it. So, any time you get tempted by what you wanna eat, just chew it and then spit it out. That way, you get to eat what you want, but you don’t get the calories, because we want to see you lose a few pounds before your next visit.”
“As I was delivering my daughter, I mean pushing her out, the male doctor popped up his head from between my legs and said, ‘Do you workout? Because you’re really tight.’ Why did he have to do that? I can’t get it out of my head. It lives there rent-free and will probably be there for all of eternity because it was so disgusting.”
This woman’s doctor refused to do any standard procedures after she threw out her back because “women just have a low pain tolerance”:
“One time I threw out my back so badly that an ambulance had to come and take me to the emergency room because I couldn’t walk and was in soooo much pain. When I got to the ER, the doctor refused to do any X-rays, CTE, MRI, nothing. His reasoning was, “women just have a low pain tolerance,” and that at the time I was in my late twenties and extremely fit and healthy, so I must’ve been fine.
It’s been ten years of excruciating pain, trying to find a doctor who takes me seriously, and I’ve finally been in to see an orthopedic surgeon. He was absolutely shocked and couldn’t believe I can still stand upright and walk around. I now need to have major surgery on my back, which could have been avoided if it was taken care of properly ten years ago.”
“I went to see a male OB/GYN to tell him that I was having 70 DAY-LONG PERIODS. It was so bad that every time I took a shower, I had to push the blood out of the way so that they water would drain. Come to find out, my uterus prolapsed. It was FALLING OUT. I also had endometriosis and as a result, it was literally pulling my organs out through my ‘you know what.’ This male doctor told me that it would all stop if I lost weight. I was dying.”
This woman’s doctor told her she had no reason for being in the ER, and then later called her to say they realized she had a brain tumor:
“I was in the ER for the second time in two weeks, and had been there for about 11 hours. The doctor came to my bed, leaned against the wall, crossed his arms, and told me that I had no valid reason to be in the ER, and to not come back. He said I was a perfectly healthy young woman, and that I shouldn’t worry about anything. As soon as I got home, he called me and said, ‘I’m so sorry, someone else looked at your scans. You have to come back right now. You have a brain tumor.'”
“I had to see a pain specialist because I hurt my arm, and at the top of my chart I made sure it was listed that I see a psychiatrist for my PTSD from being a child sex trafficking victim. The pain specialist came in and told me that I no longer needed my anxiety meds, depression meds, or any kind of sleep meds, because, ‘I should be over it.’ According to this man, who never in his life experienced childhood sex trafficking, or even believed that it exists, I should be over it.”
This woman’s doctor refused to run tests because he was SURE she had a yeast infection and gonorrhea — turns out, she had neither:
“I was having a lady issue and I went to a doctor to figure out what was going on. I was confident it wasn’t a yeast infection because I’ve had enough of those to know what they’re like. The doctor told me it WAS a yeast infection because I was his ‘sixth yeast infection that day.’ I requested a pelvic exam and lab work to confirm, and he pouted and said, ‘I don’t know what that’s gonna show.’ I said, ‘it’ll show us what I have.’ He responded, ‘I’M telling you what you have!’
He did the pelvic exam, and also told me that I had gonorrhea. I protested and requested lab results, which showed that not only did I not have a yeast infection, I also didn’t have gonorrhea. Even though he’d tried to start me on medication for both because he was SO SURE that he knew what he was looking at.”
“I started taking birth control pills when I was about 18 years old. Not for the fact that I was having sex, but simply for the fact that my periods were ten 10 days long and I was GOING TO END IT ALL. So, I went to the doctor at my school’s healthcare center. About the fourth time I went to get my refill, the doctor asked me when was the last time I was sexually active. I told him I hadn’t had sex before. To which he said, ‘So you’re lying?’ I told him, ‘No, I’m using birth control pills to regulate my period.’ Then, he said, ‘You’re conning the system! You have a month to lose your virginity and confirm it at your next refill appointment!”
As a fellow woman I’d like to make a quick PSA before ending this post. This is mostly to male medical professionals, but also medical professionals in general: LISTEN TO US. We know our bodies, and you talking down to us and/or dismissing our pain can literally get us killed.
Anyways! Do you have any wild stories to share about condescending male medical professionals? Share them in the comments below!
TikTok videos not playing for you? You might need to change the settings on your device — here’s how.
Note: TikTok transcriptions have been edited for length/clarity.