94% of Women Lack Basic Knowledge of Common Women's Health Issues

94% of Women Lack Basic Knowledge of Common Women's Health Issues

Hesitance in seeking medical care exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic fears
A doctor and a female patient

Since women take on so many of the health care responsibilities and decisions in the home, it may be surprising that many of them struggle with managing their own health.

Recently, health care company MDVIP published the results of its Women's Health IQ Quiz — and the findings are concerning, to say the least. Over 9 in 10 women (94%) failed the quiz, which assessed respondents on their knowledge of relevant health issues and asked about their initiative in seeking medical care.

Women are reluctant to see doctors amid health care challenges

When MDVIP asked respondents about their knowledge of common women's health issues, they found that:

  • 91% of women don't know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women
  • 81% don't know the Pap test only screens for cervical cancer
  • 78% have never undergone a screen for inflammatory markers that can help in identifying heart disease
  • 59% have never had a mental health screening, while a majority have never discussed depression (64%) or stress and anxiety (52%) with their doctor

Just as worrisome is the fact that many women — especially those between the ages of 20 and 34 — struggle to receive adequate care from their primary care provider, even as 89% of respondents acknowledge their importance as a health care resource.

In fact, the survey showed that:

  • 31% of women (and 45% of women ages 20-34) say their health concerns weren't taken seriously
  • 31% of women (and 47% of women ages 20-34) felt rushed and couldn't ask all of their questions
  • 28% of women (and 35% of women ages 20-34) say they had a condition that wasn't properly addressed or diagnosed

Perhaps this explains a general reluctance among respondents in seeking help for their health concerns, as MDVIP also reported that over 4 in 10 women see scheduling an appointment as a chore (47%) and have put off seeing a doctor until their symptoms grew more urgent (44%).

COVID-19 pandemic complicates women's health care concerns

The health care company also surveyed women on the effect that the coronavirus pandemic has had on their health and health care choices over the past year.

It found that almost 7 in 10 women (69%) are concerned about COVID-19 — even more so than cancer (60%) and heart disease (55%). Other findings reveal the impact that other aspects of the current health crisis have had on their physical and mental health.

A different survey from UBS Global Wealth Management showed that women have struggled during the pandemic, citing a negative impact in their careers as well as the need to take on additional child care and household duties over the past year.

As a result, many have had a hard time coping. Respondents reported:

  • Feeling more stressed, anxious or depressed (53%)
  • Developing unhealthy eating habits (44%)
  • Feeling like they were going to break down (41%)

They're also not getting the care they need, as nearly 3 in 10 (28%) women admitted not seeking medical care right away due to the pandemic — possibly because of the costs involved or a fear of contracting the virus.

It seems that the consequences aren't all bad, though. MDVIP found that 58% of women feel more resilient thanks to the pandemic, while another 58% are motivated to improve their health moving forward.

Methodology: Between March 5-9, 2021, MDVIP and Ipsos conducted an online poll of 1,466 women ages 20 and up living in the continental U.S., Hawaii and Alaska.