Medical fraternity adopted the word “Yentl Syndrome” from Barbara Streisand’s 1983 movie “Yentl”, in which she pretended to be a male to receive higher education. “Yentl Syndrome,” describes the phenomenon whereby women are misdiagnosed and poorly treated unless their symptoms or diseases conform to that of men. Sometimes, Yentl syndrome can prove fatal.
I was horrified and appalled to read the article dealing in Yentl Syndrome. While we are all aware about the male bias or male domination (the words Chairman, President, Minister etc all have masculine connotation), this fact has certainly hit me hard. We all know about differences between male and female constitutions. We know that their bodily organs, muscle strength, hormonal constitution are vastly different. The physiological phenomena such as mensuration, lactation etc are unique to females. While we are all aware of certain ailments being exclusive to a sex (men getting prostrate and females getting uterus or ovarian or breast cancer), what we don’t really know is that most of the medical research and study for cardiac, neural, renal, liver related ailments is around male body and that their strains in female could be absolutely different and several times more lethal. The article says that young females are more prone to silent heart attacks than young men and there are several such ailments that hit females harder than men and may require different therapeutic protocol for females. It’s scary to learn that cures based on research done on male bodies is routinely extended to female patients without adequate circumstantial evidence on the effectiveness of such cures!
Yentl Syndrome is a wake up call for the medical fraternity to study more on female body constitution.