Australian women fail to seek medical advice due to fear of judgement, new research reveals

The fear of public perception is standing in the way of the Australian females taking their health seriously. New research released today has revealed that when it comes to their health, the nation’s women are worryingly prone to ‘Drama Queen’ Syndrome – a condition of fearfulness that prevents them from exploring health concerns and symptoms because they’re worried they are ‘overreacting’.

The survey of 1,002 Australian females found that the apprehension of being labeled a dramatic is ubiquitous; nearly half (41%) of women agreed this fear would stop them from speaking up about medical concerns and, disturbingly, over one third (35%) of respondents admitted this fear would explain why they have chosen not to visit a doctor when worrying something is wrong.

Women’s Health Advocate, Social Entrepreneur, and Founder of Pink Hope Krystal Barter explains, “This research has confirmed what we intrinsically knew – Drama Queen Syndrome is rife among Australian women. The fact that we are choosing to forgo visits to the doctor for fear of being perceived as a drama queen is a distressing trend; passivity when it comes to our health puts us at risk of developing further, more serious complications.”

Medical inaction is a common tendency, with a quarter (25%) of Australian women ‘often’ worrying about their health without seeking medical advice and, even greater, nearly half (47%) who say they ‘sometimes’ do this. Sadly, only 3.5% of women will ‘always’ visit a medical professional when they are worried.

 

“I hope that exposing this trend will provide a much needed prompt for Australian women to closely consider their health and prioritise seeking a second opinion when they’re in doubt; even just taking the time to get a checkup they’ve been putting off,” says Barter.

 

Women need to become active participants in the management of their health, rather than remain apathetic, Krystal explains. As it stands, stagnation is too prominent, with nearly half (44%) of Aussie females failing to switch their GP despite feeling their doctor wasn’t taking their medical concerns seriously. The hesitancy to seek medical advice, and fear of being dramatic, could be the result of dissatisfaction with the medical advice women do receive.

However, despite the discontentment, the research has shown that the nearly half (48%) of Aussie women who do not seek a second opinion when feeling unsatisfied with initial advice should be more persistent. The pursuit of answers pays off, as nearly half (43%) of females revealed that they have had a medical professional tell them their concerns weren’t anything to be worried about, but a second opinion proved that, in fact, their suspicions were correct. Putting your health first means trusting your gut and ignoring internal anxieties to ensure your concerns are looked into and that you feel confident in the state of your health.

“In this day and age, women need to feel empowered to actively engage in the management of their health. Pursuing answers to concerns isn’t being dramatic – it’s being smart. Don’t be afraid to speak up; seek a second opinion and get the help you need. Regular checkups can provide peace of mind and can save you time, effort and even money the long run,” Krystal concludes.

Ellen McIver
emciver@we-buchan.com
0414 137 686

Kelsi Duarte
kduarte@we-buchan.com
0407 581 284

 

About the research
Women’s Health Advocate Krystal Barter commissioned Pure Profile to conduct an online survey in September 2018. The survey was a nationally representative sample of 1,002 Australian female adult respondents (aged 18+).

Additional research findings:
• In place of medical advice, nearly half of Aussie women are consulting google with their symptoms (42%)
• Over one in ten Aussie women practice avoidance when it comes to not seeking medical advice when worried there might be wrong; preferring to push their concerns to the back of their mind rather than consult a medical professional (13%)
• More than one in ten Aussie women report being too busy juggling kids to visit the doctor when they feel something is wrong (11%); work or study gets in the way for another 17% of respondents
• Over a tenth (14.2%) of females admit they have fabricated a doctor’s diagnosis to prove to others that their symptoms and concerns were ‘valid’
• Over a third of respondents note they haven’t sought out medical advice after a friend or family member told them they are ‘overreacting’ (36%)

About Krystal Barter
Imagine the devastation of learning that every single one of your female family members had been diagnosed with either breast or ovarian cancer from the insidious BRCA gene. Imagine then, learning that at the young age of 22, you too carry the gene. Such was the reality in 2009 for Pink Hope founder and Women’s Health Advocate, Social Entrepreneur and ‘Australia’s most influential philanthropist’, Krystal Barter.

After three years of navigating the choices and options available to her, Krystal made the brave decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy to minimise her risk of cancer.

At the time of her surgery, Krystal was one of the youngest individuals in Australia to undergo this surgery, as well as one of the youngest to talk publicly about it. She shared her story with friends, family – anyone who would listen – including Hollywood superstar, Angelina Jolie.

Krystal continues to be an incredible international advocate for women’s health, with a focus on the importance of prevention and women feeling empowered to taking charge of their health.

To share her remarkable story of hope and empowerment in the face of adversity, and her powerful message to all women to prioritise their health, Krystal will be presenting at the Consul General’s residence in New York on October 1st.

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