Article on Medical Attitudes toward Female Pain Demonstrates a Genuine Need for Better Female Patient Care, Says Dr. Shirin Towfigh

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Commenting on the recent article, the Los Angeles area abdominal hernia expert notes that she hears far too many stories from female patients about previous doctors who have ignored their pain, and stresses that medical professionals acknowledge these biases so better care can be achieved.

Both male and female patients find that they are truly listened to at the Beverly Hills Hernia Center.

There are various factors that lead doctors (of both genders) to make lesser, incorrect diagnoses for their female patients.

In an article titled “How Doctors Take Women’s Pain Less Seriously” that was published October 15th in The Atlantic, writer Joe Fassler provides a harrowing account of how his wife’s ovarian torsion pain was so ignored by the nurses and doctors at their local hospital, that her treatment was delayed for a dangerous amount of time. Although the doctors were finally able to give her a correct diagnosis, she spent over 14 excruciating hours in the hospital, during which few medical professionals paid her the attention that a patient with that severity of medical problem needs. According to hernia surgeon and diagnostic expert Dr. Shirin Towfigh of Beverly Hills Hernia Center, one simply needs to read the headline of this article to understand the problem that it identifies, but the story itself is equally important by putting a human face on a bigger problem.

Although Dr. Towfigh is an expert when it comes to treating both male and female hernia sufferers, her early realization that female care was lagging far behind the care that male patients can expect inspired her to make helping female patients one of the focuses of her care. She explains that there are various factors that lead doctors (of both genders) to make lesser, incorrect diagnoses for their female patients. One of these is due to the fact that the internal female anatomy in the pelvic and lower abdominal area is more complicated than it is in males, so doctors have a longer list of conditions to narrow down before finding the correct diagnosis.

Dr. Towfigh explains that the other (and often more significant) barrier to a correct diagnosis for female patients is the fact that society has conditioned people to believe that women have a lower pain tolerance and that they express their discomfort far more readily than men do. As the article puts it, “every nurse’s shrug seemed to say, ‘Women cry—what can you do?’” Where some doctors may dismiss a female’s cries of agony as exaggeration, Dr. Towfigh explains that the same degree of expression from a male patient will sound the internal alarm bells of doctors and nurses. These internal biases must be corrected.

While no doctors are perfect, Dr. Towfigh explains that every medical professional must be aware of and acknowledge her or his own personal biases so that none of their patients suffer. She explains that the medical community should constantly be working to improve all aspects of medicine, from lab research to a doctor’s bedside manner. Only by listening to and understanding each individual patient and not relegating them to membership in a gender or social group, she says, can we know that each patient is receiving the care they need.

Any patients who suspect that they may have a hernia, or is unaware of where they can go for attentive and thorough hernia care and treatment, can call the Dr. Towfigh and the Beverly Hills Hernia Center today at 310-358-5020 or visit them online at

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Michael Clauw
Cyberset Corp
+1 (818) 883-7277 Ext: 121
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Shirin Towfigh, M.D.
since: 07/2011
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