The doctor’s office can be a nerve wracking and anxiety inducing experience. In fact, there is a whole syndrome, named “white coat hypertension,” which is a condition that affects patience who experience stress when they are at a hospital or doctor’s office. This can lead patients to have temporary high blood pressure (and throwing off some of their readings).
Our current healthcare system is in need of a complete overhaul, with Doctors truly understanding how to manage and treat patients. There are implicit bias’ that aren’t taken into account leading to things like racism, sexism, ageism, and fat-phobia. An anonymous writer, who goes by @YrFatFriend (Your Fat Friend) on social media.
On Sunday she launched an Instagram thread to help women find ‘fat friendly’ healthcare providers. She wrote,
“Too often, fat folks struggle to find health care providers who can even off us basic, competent health care. And since it’s open enrollment time for many of us in the US, what better time to share provider experiences?”
She created a thread with people listing their city/area and encouraged people to add their city if it wasn’t included. Then she instructed her over 80K following base to respond to the thread with the name of the provider, their speciality, and the experience that made it so positive/made the commenter want to recommend.
Honestly, when I saw this on Instagram, I was so excited. It can be hard to find doctors who believe in HAES (health at every size) and I have heard horror stories from friends who range from small fat (18 and below to infinifat (size 34 or higher) about what happens when they go to the doctor. Even in the comment section of the thread, women are sharing problems or admitting difficulty. User HeifersAndHoneyBees confessed, “It’s been a long journey to find a team of healthcare resources that never fat shame or fat focus my health problems.”
Writer Keyaira Boone shared with Hello Beautiful, “My OBGYN refused to give me an ultrasound to check for fibroids despite a family history.” She continued, “He thought my period might get better once I lost some weight and suggested that I go to the gym at 5:30 every morning.” Boone thought she had a tumor and this was her doctor’s lack of empathy and advice.
Within a day, the thread already has almost 1,000 comments.
While I love the thread, I couldn’t deny, I was also looking at the avatars of commenters to see who was a Black woman. Racial bias adds another layer of discrimination against plus size women and it wasn’t something included in this original thread. (I did e-mail YrFatFriend to ask if she could add this and am waiting to hear back). Nevertheless, this is a start as a resource for plus size women who want to find a healthcare provider.
Beauties, have you had any bad experiences with a healthcare provider as a plus size, Black woman? Share with us in the comments. If you have had a good experience and a great doctor, please share the name, location, speciality, experience, and if they take insurance.