Reproductive health dismissal: One in five women prescribed inaccurate medication by medical professionals in the UK

Announced to raise awareness of the issue of misdiagnosis during PCOS awareness month, it’s been found over 1 in 6 (15.6%) with reproductive/fertility health concerns had to take leave from work (paid or unpaid) because of misdiagnosis or wrong advice.

Over one in five women (21%) visiting a medical professional in the UK for a reproductive health condition have been prescribed medication later found to be inaccurate. This falls to 7% of men when concerned about reproductive health.

Other gender disparities are highlighted in advice provided for reproductive health visits, with nearly one in four women (24%) being told to “relax and try to ignore the issue” compared to 0% of men. And 41% of women being told to “take better care of their mental health – could be anxiety, depression, or another mental health concern”, compared to 15% of men. 

Overall, 77% of people have left an appointment with a medical professional with the issue being dismissed or not resolved. This figure rises to 82% of women. The most common impact of missed diagnosis is increased anxiety (43%) or stress (42%) for those suffering.

The ‘Doctor Dismissal and Fertility Health’ study, conducted by PCOS supplement provider Fertility Family, asked 133 respondents who have 

  • Findings announced during PCOS awareness month to create awareness of the difficulties many face with diagnosis of the condition. Which usually starts in teen years/young adulthood and can often take years to diagnose
  • study looking into missed diagnosis, the gender gap between diagnosis and the impact it can cause

Time it’s taken for diagnosis –

  • 7% of respondents between the ages 21-24 have already experienced a 10+ year wait for an accurate diagnosis for a medical health concern
  • 11% of 18-20 year olds have experienced a 3+ year wait for an accurate diagnosis
  • Young adults under the age of 20 were most likely to feel accused of faking pain or medical condition, or even be labelled as ‘hysterical’ by a medical professional with the condition all in the mind.

The impact:

Most common impact of missed diagnosis is anxiety (43%) then stress (42%)

  • This was more prevelant in women respondents- 51% increased anxiety, 56% increased stress. Compared to 34% male increased anxiety and 26% increased stress.
  • Men were more likely to suffer from increased depression after missed diagnosis – 26% male vs 21% female
  • Over 1 in 6 (15.6%) with reproductive/fertility health concerns had to take leave from work (paid or unpaid) because of misdiagnosis or wrong advice.
  • Women are two times more likely to have to take leave from the workplace, either paid or unpaid,  because of a missed diagnosis – 10% of women compared to 5% of men

About Fertility Family:

Fertility Family are dedicated to providing information and products that help increase the chances of having a baby The supplements provided by FertilityFamily.co.uk  are carefully formulated products that have gone through clinical trials and are scientifically proven to help improve the chances of having a baby. The founders of FertilityFamily.co.uk  have been in the field of fertility for over twenty years, and are partnered with Fertility Network UK and the British Fertility Society.