#3 Female and Medical Science

There are differences in the diagnosis process for men and women using Traditional Chinese Medicine and the gender barriers and traditional female virtues often times caused the inefficiency in women’s treatment. Although some occupations that specialized in female treatments partially compensated male doctors’ roles, having more female doctors is still crucial for the well being for women.

Many previous studies were conducted by male researchers and some theories developed by studying male bodies were directly applied to women. But male and female could exhibit different symptoms for the same disease. For instance, most of the general population and even some physicians only know the typical heart attack symptoms of men, but women would actually exhibit more complex symptoms than the chest and left arm pain. Thus, a lot of women ignore their symptoms until it is too late. Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.

It is important to know that sometimes theories developed by studying men cannot be simply applied to women. That is why more women should enter the industry and gender differences should be taken into account when doing research.

Additionally, in Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment, there is no such term as “Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)”. Actually, PMS is best understood as a sociocultural phenomenon in Western culture. Also, PMS is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), instead, only the more severe form of PMS – premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) – is included, with the prevalence rate around 2-6%. And in order to diagnose patients with PMDD, the severity of the symptoms must cause economic or social dysfunction.

Tracking back to the history of PMS, medical journals adjusted their view about PMS and suggested PMS would not influence women’s ability to work during World War II, at a time when women were needed in the workforce. Then shortly after WWII, articles on medical journals again claimed that women were not suitable for handling important positions due to their menstrual cycle. Although some women do suffer from PMDD, PMS is more like a sociocultural phenomenon than actual biological syndromes.





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