Invisible Women: your regular update from the frontiers of chocolate studies
Great British Gaslighting
Hello GFPs! Welcome to this week in gender data crimes! This week I have been mainly wondering how it can be that a medical body and medication manufacturer can both claim that there are no supply issues with particular drugs, while patients who have been prescribed said drugs repeatedly get turned away from pharmacies who are unable to source them.
I am talking, of course, about HRT and an issue flagged this week by author Rose George on twitter (who wrote this excellent piece on menopause and depression)
The thing I most love about this story is that back in April, when the HRT supply issues were all over the news, the British government appointed an HRT tsar to fix the problem. By the end of August, said tsar was “returned to her role overseeing vaccines,” so I guess everyone can celebrate because the supply issues must all be fixed and there are no further problems!
Did someone say gaslighting?
Anyway, should any GFPs feel minded to write to their MPs to ask them just what on earth is going on here, do let me know how you get on!
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Default male of the week
Sticking with the menopause, I have another corker from my old frenemy Apple. GFP Ellen writes that she has just updated the software on her Apple Watch and they have a handy new medication reminder feature.
“Great timing,” she says, “as I have just started HRT and I’m on two medications and neither are every day.” Ellen uses an oestrogen patch which has to be changed twice a week, and the medication reminder can cope with that as it’s the same two days every week. But it’s a different story when it comes to her progesterone pills. These are taken in two week cycles, so the first two weeks of your cycle you take progesterone every evening, and the second two weeks don’t take any progesterone.
There is no way to set this two weeks on two weeks off cycle up in the app. And, as Ellen points out, this would also cause problems for anyone on 21 day contraceptive pills.
“What do these two have in common?” she asks? “Yes, of course, only women take them.”
Gender data gap of the week
And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. An update from the world of chocolate. Longtime readers may remember a while back I updated you all with one of my regular dispatches from the cutting edge of “women are not adults and nor are they individuals or indeed any gender neutral terms to designate humans overall who, as we all know, are exclusively male” studies.
The paper in question was about chocolate (OK, cocoa), and how it improves cognition in healthy young adults, so long as those adults happen to be male.
I was going through my reams of saved papers the other day (no, YOU’RE working on something new, and in entirely unrelated news are having a lovely time procrastinating) and I came across a related gem from the field. GFPs, ANOTHER paper, this time published in peer-reviewed journal Nutrients, reveals that cocoa ALSO “improves vascular responses to acute mental stress in Young Healthy Adults”, although OBVIOUSLY,
Females were excluded from the study to ensure a more homogenous sample and to minimize the impact of hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle on vascular outcomes.
Guys, guys, guys. Lads. This is FINE. Women literally never have any cardiovascular issues (that whole thing about heart disease being the number one killer of women is just a myth put about by radical feminists like me), and obv women ALSO never have any issues with stress (which in any case has NO link with heart disease in women) and even more importantly, neither of these things are in ANY WAY connected to the menstrual cycle, which in any case is famously something that only happens to a very niche subset of humans and so really isn’t worth bothering with.
Btw, while I was reminding myself of the research in this area I came across this report, which found that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of maternal deaths in the UK:
When the deaths were reviewed, the researchers found that many of the women who died from cardiovascular disease had classic symptoms that would have been flagged in a non-pregnant person, but instead were put down to their pregnancy. Three quarters of the women who died did not know they had heart disease before they became pregnant.
I mean, as GFPs know, if by non-pregnant person this summary means “man,” then yes those classic symptoms probably would have been flagged, but as GFPs ALSO know this does not necessarily hold for women. Listeners of the Visible Women podcast may remember the case of Sally Bee, who was experiencing ALL the classic symptoms and even had an ECG showing that she was having a heart attack, but the doctors STILL didn’t believe she was having one because she didn’t fit the profile of the classic heart attack patient.
PS, this all reminded me of this, which a GFP sent me months ago:
(Apologies that I can’t remember who exactly sent this to me; if it was you, reveal yourself!)
Poppy pic of the week
That’s it! Until next time, my dear GFPs….xoxoxo