×
Women share how their medical conditions went undiagnosed due to weight stigma in health care

Women share how their medical conditions went undiagnosed due to weight stigma in health care

A Twitter user claimed doctors let a fibroid grow for years by dismissing her evident physical symptoms as indicators that she needed to lose weight.

Writer Marisa Kabas recently sparked an important conversation on social media by sharing her years-long struggle with body image and the healthcare system's role in it. In a now-viral Twitter thread shared last week, Kabas claimed that her doctors let a fibroid grow in her uterus for years by dismissing her evident physical symptoms as indicators that she needed to lose weight. "How do I know weight stigma in health care is real? Because I've had a mango-size fibroid in my uterus for *years* that has noticeably enlarged my lower abdomen, and not a single doctor looked into it. not one," she tweeted.



 

"I'm at the point in my fibroid diagnosis where I'm mad as hell. I'm mad at the 'world-class' endocrinologist who looked at my abdomen and said 'hmm... that's odd,' and decided to do absolutely nothing. I'm mad at every doctor who thought I just needed to lose weight," Kabas continued. "I'm furious that I spent years of self-loathing, wondering why I couldn’t flatten my abdomen, losing weight, and seeing it still protrude. I had fibroids—non-cancerous masses in my uterus, one massive fibroid, and three smaller. And I thought I'd personally failed."



 

Kabas went on to state that although she's had many folks — both medical professionals and otherwise — try to calm her by saying "at least they caught it now," it did little to quell her anger. "That is cold comfort because *they* didn't catch anything. I diagnosed myself. Full stop," she revealed. "I'm truly beside myself knowing that if I didn't follow a specific person on Twitter who wrote about her own harrowing experience with fibroids, which triggered the thought 'hey, maybe that's me, too,' I'd be carrying around this physical and mental weight indefinitely. I'm mad that it took becoming a full-time patient—one stent placement, two brain surgeries in three years—for me to feel confident that I know my own body best and that perhaps doctors missed something."



 

"I'm mad that just seven months after my second [successful] brain surgery—which I only got because of intense googling by my dad to find the right doctor—I'm having to apply all the lessons I've learned about doctors to make sure my fibroids get properly treated," Kabas continued. "The one thing I didn't expect to be told after my fibroid diagnosis was, 'it's not your fault.' But it was so important to hear (and definitely not said by a doctor). I had internalized so much guilt and shame around not achieving thinness that I had resigned to blaming myself."



 

"I am grateful to myself for trusting my intuition and advocating for myself. I am angry I had to do that. I am grateful to have the means to have surgery to hopefully fix it. I am angry that weight is a significant factor in our level of medical care. Somethings got to change," she concluded. Kabas' rant on Twitter inspired many others to speak out about similar experiences they'd had with the health care system where doctors didn't take their underlying medical issues seriously on account of their body weight. 

1.



 

2.



 

3.



 

4.



 

5.



 

6.



 



 



 



 

7.



 

8.



 

9.



 

10.



 

11.



 

12.



 

13.



 

14.



 

15.



 

Recommended for you