Nadine Dorries: We must stop thinking that pain is part of women’s existence

Britain needs to reverse the assumption that pain is part of women’s existence, the health minister Nadine Dorries has said. 

Ms Dorries pledged action to ensure that pain relief is offered for procedures such as coil fitting after women spoke out about their "horrific" experiences with intrauterine devices (IUDs).

"No woman should suffer pain as a result of having an IUD or other scopes procedures," she told MPs. "I believe there are scope procedures where no pain relief is offered. I don’t have the words that I can use to describe just how appalling that is.

"I’m given the lines constantly that ‘most women don’t feel pain’ and ‘many women go through this’ and ‘women are given a leaflet, where they told on that leaflet if they want pain [relief]’, but I hear that they are told: ‘Oh no, you’ll just be fine.’"

Ms Dorries told the Commons health and social care committee: "I hope we can use the Women’s Health Strategy to absolutely reverse this assumption that because you’re a woman and because you might have been through labour or because you’re going to go through labour, then therefore pain is a part of your existence.

"I hope we can use the Women’s Health Strategy to totally reverse that wrong thinking that takes place today."

It comes after Naga Munchetty shared her "traumatic" experience of having a coil fitted. The television presenter said she fainted twice after experiencing "excruciating" pain while having the contraceptive device inserted into her body and was not offered any anaesthetic.

She told BBC Radio 5 Live that she has a high pain threshold but the procedure was "one of the most traumatic physical experiences I have had".

Ms Munchetty spoke out after reading an article by the writer Caitlin Moran about her own experience of being fitted with an IUD, a device which is used for contraception and to manage problems including heavy periods.

The Conservative MP Laura Trott told the committee that in recent days a number of women had come forward to share their experiences.

"Since then we’ve heard of horrific expenses of women shared across social media – I’ve certainly had a number of people come forward in my own constituency," she said.

Earlier this month, Mrs Dorries said she thought the NHS could be sexist and failed to listen to women. 

In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, she was asked whether the NHS system was sexist and replied: "I think it is to a degree. The core theme of most of the reports we have are [that] women are not listened to," she said, adding that she had experienced this herself. 

The health minister added: "Male is the default in health – we want women to be our priority. I can’t even count the number of times women have told me that rather than being prescribed HRT they’re given antidepressants."

On Tuesday Mrs Dorries said successive inquiries into health scandals had shown that "women’s voices are not listened to".

She added: "We know from Cumberlege [a report into side-effects from medicines and pelvic mesh implants], we know from Paterson [a report into rogue surgeon Ian Paterson], we know from the maternity inquiries, we know that the constant theme is that women’s voices are not listened to."

The Government has recently closed a public consultation on a new strategy on the future of women’s health.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *