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How To Advocate For Yourself At The Doctor Through Body Literacy

health

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5 min read

How To Advocate For Yourself At The Doctor Through Body Literacy blog (1)

by Team Thinx | 29/02/2024

Medically reviewed by Dr. Saru Bala

Nobody can know your body better than you. What your body likes, and what it doesn't. What’s normal for you, and what’s out of the ordinary. We call this body literacy. This superpower is within your reach – but perhaps you need a hand in harnessing its full potential. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! 

What is Body Literacy?

Body Literacy is a term used to describe the pursuit of increased education and understanding about our own bodies and their functions. Without this education, there can be a rise in misinformation, shame, and stigma in connection to our bodies and their very normal functions. Being an expert on your own mind and body is essential to taking control of your health, as there may be times that you don’t get the answers or care you need from others.

The unfortunate reality is that healthcare can be rife with bias against marginalized groups. Fifty-two percent of women believe gender discrimination negatively impacts their medical care. Nearly half of trans people say they’ve been mistreated by medical providers. Doctors are twice as likely to underestimate the pain of Black patients. Neurodivergent patients report experiencing lower-quality care due to poor communication, anxiety, and sensory sensitivity. 

How Can I Use Body Literacy?

It is crucial that we take the steps to understand our own bodies – its natural rhythms, its processes, its sensations – to better advocate for our health. To do this, take a moment to self-reflect on what you wish you had a better understanding of when it comes to your body. Then once you have an idea of what you want to know, start tracking your bodily systems. This could mean your digestive system, menstrual health, sleep activity, or whatever it is you want to know about. Choose your own wellness adventure! 

This knowledge will empower you to better advocate for yourself the next time you visit the doctor, as you’ll know when something is off. 

Here’s how to do it:

1) Bring receipts. Have a track record of your symptoms and concerns. Use it as a resource. Be able to pinpoint the when, where, and hows of them. The more information you have, the more empowered you’ll feel. 

2) Have a trusted family member or friend accompany you. Sometimes, we just need an advocate by our side to give us the confidence to say what we need to say. These conversations may bring up emotions, so it’s always best to have a support system. It can also be useful to have an extra set of ears there to validate any concerns you might have. 

3) Ask questions. It can be easy to feel confused and disoriented by medical jargon. If you don’t understand something your doctor has said, ask them to clarify. This can help you make your own informed choices. If you don’t agree with a particular decision they’ve made, ask for further information. 

4) Get a second opinion. If a particular doctor doesn’t fit your vibe, try someone new and look for a professional who will make you feel seen and respect your body awareness. 

Remember, nobody knows your body better than you. By following these tips and keeping track of what’s normal for your body, you can better advocate for yourself in the doctor’s office. Take a look at Thinx’s Body Literacy Hub for more tips and tricks! 

Check out our educational video hub on YouTube to learn more from experts like Dr. Bala, a Naturopathic Doctor and Thinx Partner specializing in women's hormonal health, and join our mission to empower all who pee and bleed with shame-free body literacy education. 

The information contained in this article should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your health care professional.

sources:

https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-health-and-wellness/nearly-half-trans-people-mistreated-medical-providers-report-finds-rcna1695 

https://time.com/6074224/gender-medicine-history/ 

https://globalhealth.harvard.edu/racial-bias-in-medicine/

https://www.vox.com/even-better/23880457/advocate-for-yourself-doctors-office-health

by Team Thinx

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