Medical ignorance cured far too late
Kats got your tongue
A master’s student
at the University of British Columbia has spent the last
three years mapping out the nerves that run through the vagina.
What is astonishing is that this is the first research ever
done documenting the nerves in the erectile tissue around the
So let me get this straight. Until 2000, when this research
was begun, any surgery done on women such as hysterectomies
or cyst removals, surgeons were operating with no knowledge
of the nerve pathways in the female genital area?
The standard practice is to take information about the nerve
pathways in the penis, which have been documented in medical
textbooks for years, and assume the nerves will be the same
in a woman.
Am I missing something? Are a penis and a vagina not two entirely
different things? The male has a prostate whereas the woman
has a uterus. How could the medical professionals we trust
to operate on us assume the two are the same?
How would a surgeon know if they were doing damage if they
did not know what nerves they may be cutting through or where
those nerves go?
When Rosemary Basson, an obstetrician-gynecologist at UBC
suggested the topic of study, both Shona Penhale, the UBC master’s
student who did the groundbreaking research, and those who
funded the research, were astonished to learn this research
had never been done before.
“It is not surprising that this research has not been
done — as a women’s health researcher I know there
has been so little research done on women’s health,” said
Beverly Liepert, the Ontario women’s health council chair
in rural women’s health. She added that although the
lack of research did not surprise her, it was sad.
To illustrate her statement, Liepert offered an example. Breast
cancer research, she said, was initially done on men. It was
thought women’s hormones would interfere with research.
When funding bodies were approached and asked for support to
do breast cancer research on women, they said no, because in
their opinion, the research had already been done.
Liepert explained that we now know female hormones are intricately
involved in breast cancer. They may be key to understanding
it. Once breast cancer research was finally done on women,
this discovery showed it was important to do the research on
women and men.
“It is important to ask, who is on these funding bodies?
Are there any women?” Liepert asked, pointing out the
comparatively small number of women in the position to do such
research or influence funding for it.
Assuming medical research done on men can be superimposed
on women is dangerous and ignorant. It reveals a dire need
for women’s health research. Why has this research not
been done until now?
Don’t tell me feminists are whiners; there is a need
for a feminist voice in this society. The complete lack of
knowledge in the medical profession regarding the nerve pathways
in the female genital area is inexcusable, and reveals that
the feminist goal to eliminate discrimination against women
is not over, although many assume it essentially is.