6 Nigerian Women Talk About Being Misdiagnosed Because Of Their Weight

December 22, 2020

Have you ever had a doctor give you a wrong diagnosis simply because of your weight? Well, these six Nigerian women have.

Amaka, 31

I went to the hospital because I was having constant stomach aches. The doctor told me it is because I was eating too much, so to stop the stomach ache, I needed to lose weight. Two months after that, I kept adding even more weight and my stomach still hurt. Turns out I was pregnant, and that was why my stomach hurt. I didn’t even know it was a probability because I kept having my period.

Ginika, 20

So when I was in year 2, I finally moved into hostel. I gained a bit of weight because of campus food and half way into the semester, I began having body pain. My family thought it was posture because of the bad beds in the hostel, so we petitioned to have it changed and it was, but the pain kept coming worse and more frequently. I went to a pharmacy and they gave me pain killers. The doctor kept telling me how he couldn’t give me a proper dosage because of my body weight and age disparity, and that my weight was the cause of the pain. The pain killers weren’t strong enough and I would wake up crying because of the pain.

Even when I lost a bit of weight, it was just as bad. The doctors kept insisting I diet more and work out. They said that the fat on my spine would ease up. One day, my roommate left her period pain meds out so I took from hers, and I felt so much better. I went to a clinic near school and explained to a female doctor what had been happening. Apparently, The thing was, I have a crazy period cycle It comes like once every 3 months Sometimes it can go for 4/5 month, and I’d never had cramps because I’d been taking hormone pills to regulate it. So my body was rejecting the pills and was trying to restart my cycle. I was having cramps for the first time and the rejection of the pills was the cause of my pain. My weight gain had nothing to do with it.

Halima, 27

I had always been a fairly skinny person. I did not work out as much, and I ate whatever I wanted. When the frequent nausea, fatigue and hunger came, my doctor suspected pregnancy. It was diabetes, but he did not think it was a possibility because I was not fat. Even though my mother has it, he did not think it possible.

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Jane, 21

I was having a lot of rashes from my back to breasts, and it itched so badly. I used different creams, and none worked. Eventually, my mom took me to this doctor. He said it was a sign that something was wrong with one of my organs. Apparently, my fat caused my organ to have issues. He had weight loss pills he sold, and brought them out for us to buy. I had an infection called staphylococcus aureus, it was not because I was fat.

Anita, 23

I went to the hospital because I kept feeling so tired and nauseated. I had even fainted a couple of times. The doctor I saw told me I needed to lose more weight, because my size was making me lazy. I was a size 18, but I knew it was not that. I complained to my cousin who is a doctor and she insisted I come for a check-up. Turned out I had low blood pressure.

Cynthia, 22

My periods were irregular and were always accompanied by a lot of pain. My doctor told me it was because of my weight, and I should switch to a healthier diet and exercise more often. I did this for over four months, and nothing changed. After seeing a gynaecologist, and it turned out to be PCOS. I was so angry.

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