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Sex Matters: How Male-Centric Medicine Endangers Women's Health and What Women Can Do About It

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  190 ratings  ·  47 reviews
A clarion call about the dangers of medicine for women, as well as a manual for how women can get the right care for their bodies, from physician and leading expert on sex and gender medicine

Sex Matters tackles one of the most urgent, yet unspoken issues facing women's health care today: all models of medical research and practice are based on male-centric models that ign
Published May 19th 2020 by Da Capo Lifelong Books
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Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance copy of this book from

This is a fairly exceptional book. The author does a great job of outlining the traditional male-centric focus in medicine, and then discussing the implications of this for women's health. Through numerous illustrative and compelling examples of women's experiences of health, she helps to highlight many of the assumptions and blind spots we have in accurately and equally treating women in medicine.

She also makes efforts toward inclusiv
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was so fascinating to me; maybe you’re not a non fiction reader, maybe medical information bores you to death; but as a female who’s been interested in all things medical and learning I was excited to read this. Men and women’s bodies are different in many other ways, so why are we just figuring out that our bodies react differently to medication. Why are we as females treated differently in a doctors office or emergency room? Why are we not getting proper testing, or being told we are ...more
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Samhain by: Nalou
Shelves: favorites
A must read for every patient and every caregiver out there!
Nicole Buettner
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me mad at the world of medicine but also taught great things that every woman should know about taking back their own health.
Kara of BookishBytes
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Author Alyson J. McGregor is an emergency department physician. In the course of her training and work, she began to consider whether the health outcomes of the women she saw it the ED were worse than the health outcomes for men. Yes, it turns out, they were.

As she describes, almost all traditional medical training (and drug testing) is focused on the workings of the male body . . . plus then on female-specific reproductive organs. Medical training hasn't historically prepared physicians to cons
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Person in my online pregnancy group: "I have such and such symptoms. What can I take?"

Other person: "Ask your Dr. for a prescription for such and such."

McGregor: "Only 8 medications have been tested on and approved for pregnant women."

Also a fun fact, medications are never tested on old people because they are often taking other medications that can affect results. Also-- generics are always tested on healthy, young men.

Three stars because lots of the info was a repeat for me. What can I say? I
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this great timely nonfiction book that I think everyone should read. It is an especially important one for cisgender women and transgender men and women. I learned long ago that as a woman you have to advocate hard to be seen and heard, and that definitely applies to the medical world, too.

I appreciated McGregor’s insight and how readable this book was. She covered so many important topics and didn’t shy away from the bias the medical community often has based on gender, religion, cultur
I think this is a book that all women, and men too, should read if they care about their own health or the health of loved ones. Sexism in the medical field. What, you say? Yeah, we of the Ms. John Q Public, are blatantly uninformed, whether intentionally or not.
A lot of information in here discusses the differences of men and women, and no, not the obvious ones, though they too, do play a large part to the differences we don't think about, or maybe even know, between males and females.
This goe
Jun 27, 2020 rated it liked it
A little too focused on self-help for my taste. I most enjoyed the middle chapters where she examined the effects of sex and gender on specific health conditions, but I still would have liked even more specifics! I will definitely be checking out her 2016 book, which is written more towards researchers and healthcare providers. Her work is fascinating and needs to be heard by more people!
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are a woman (or identify as anything other than a cis-gendered man) then this book will be vital to your navigation of the health care system as it stands. Women, people of color and members of the LGBTQI+ community have long known, anecdotally, that we receive inferior healthcare at every turn. In “Sex Matters” McGregor provides the scientific back-up for that truth and well explains how to advocate for yourself within the male-centric system.

Like Dusenbery’s “Doing Harm” and Saini’s “In
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
as a disabled queer person, I've been articulating disability as not being able to do anything that is considered normative. some people like to use terms like centricity & edges when describing norms. But in a similar way that if you can't drive, but there's no sidewalks & no public transit etc near you that you are then disabled, "reproductive feminism" is disability politics due to male-normativity in medicine.

On the rampant normativity of misdiagnosing women with anxiety. It's such a litera
Cozy Cat Reviews
I highly recommend this excellent book for all women to read. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity. After I experienced abuse by male doctors, incompetence and dismissive attitudes about my serious health issues including several misdiagnoses. I began to research how our health care system affects women. it proved to be a very eye opening subject. This is a subject that all women need to be educated about.

The author verifies facts here that our health care system is
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book very much. The chapter on hormones had what I wanted/expected from This Is Your Brain on Birth Control (you can see my review on it for more details on that - I have rambled enough about it). And it wasn't condescending like Beating Endo.
I also appreciated that it was intersectional - though the author did not specifically mention intersex people and some of the wording about trans folks could have been improved (overall it was pretty good and respectful though - better than I
Leah Rachel von Essen
Sex Matters: How Male-Centric Medicine Endangers Women's Health and What We Can Do About It is a patient-centric call-to-action from Alyson J. McGregor, an associate professor of emergency medicine, emergency department physician, and cofounder and director for the Division of Sex and Gender in Emergency Medicine. This book is focused on giving actionable tips for women to take into their daily lives and health emergencies, by informing them of the insidious biases and trying to advise them on h ...more
Lecy Beth
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I felt seen in reading this book. Sex and gender specialist, McGregor, writes about issues in the male-centric world of medicine and how women's health has been impacted. After working in medicine for fifteen years, I was aware of many of the issues that she brings up, but she has done so much research and covers so many important topics on these pages - from the differences in metabolizing drugs between male and female bodies, how hormones impact health and medication dosing, the types of condi ...more
Alyson, director of the Division of Sex and Gender in Emergency Medicine, Alpert Medical School at Brown University discusses the male-centricity of the medical model and how that can jeopardize women’s health. Through her research and practice, she has discovered the importance of treating women based on their unique biological and emotional differences.
“This definitive account shows how the biological, biochemical, psychological and neurological differences between men and women affect issues
Alyssa Zimmerman
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew there were differences in how women were believed in medical settings, especially in regard to subjective matters like pain. What I didn't know was that there's a whole world of other differences. For example, because of biological hormones, medications often affect women differently. Not only that, but drug trials are often run primarily on men, which means that some meds may cause problems for, or be ineffective for women, and no one even knows!

This book delves into all of that, and mo
I think everyone should read this book. McGregor goes in-depth about how women don't have heart attacks like men do, react to drugs differently than men do, experience pain differently than men do, among other things, and how little most doctors know about these differences. Her overall argument is that the male-centric model of medicine underserves, underdiagnoses, and undertreats women across the board. I appreciated how McGregor also addressed women of color and trans women, though, as other ...more
Aysha McCall
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book so informative; I’ve recommended it to several women in my life already.
I was aware of the different symptom presentation of myocardial infarction between men and women, but I wasn’t aware that even today many health professionals are only taught to identify male symptoms.
Having previously worked in pharmacy for almost a decade I was horrified to learn about the lack of testing for females of childbearing age, pregnant woman and of course older age groups (who will most likely
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those who enjoyed Invisible Women by Criado-Perez, this book is a vital companion.

If you’re female, every medication you take, doctors appointment you have, and diagnostic criteria you’re subjected to is not designed for you. In fact, it’s so not designed for you that it’s killing you. From an increased risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke to being prescribed the wrong medication or the wrong dosage, this book explores how females are consistently and continuously screwed over by the
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
*Sex Matters* discusses how the western model of modern medicine is male centered. Virtually every aspect of medical treatment in modern society has been designed with men in mind -- "health-care systems, procedures, and philosophy." This is so pervasive that many people don't even recognize it.

The book gives a fairly comprehensive overview of the issue for the lay person, and demonstrates "how the current male-centric model of medicine is causing women to receive potentially inappropriate, ine
Nic Rummery
A great book, particularly for femme folk and minority group individuals that need to navigate the health care system.

It largely looks at examples in US hospital settings but even in Australia it resonates strongly with our own medical systems. The author manages to guide the reader through factual information while not becoming bland or inactive. Often, interesting questions are posed along with tools all people could modify to increase their ability to advocate for themselves in interactions
James Hassell
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as part of a book club with friends. I’m really glad I did since it gave us time to chew on the content. This book is very accessible and understandable. I really enjoyed how there were tips and “take home” messages at the end of every chapter which made me feel like the reader is more of an active participant. The book club ended much like the book did with a conversation about what can we do to change things around how women are treated in the United States medical system. Hig ...more
Cristie Underwood
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This is such an interesting read. I never knew that so much medical research focused on males. The author not only provided evidence of this, but stressed the importance of having females equally represented. This should be required reading for all women, as our health is essential.
Ella Van
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Important!!! An incredibly digestible lesson in both how the medical system needs to change in order to serve more than just the white male population AND how you can take individual action towards improving your own health outcomes within the current system. There is much work to be done and this book is starting the conversation with actionable next steps. I highly recommend this as a gift to your mother, sister, male friend interested in pursuing medicine, anyone really.
Tiffany Talley
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned A LOT from this book. This book gives an amazing, and apparently needed, look at the medical field and how the way it runs affects women. It's written through a feminist lens, and takes populations commonly looked over into account. A must-read. ...more
Nov 23, 2020 marked it as abandoned
Repetitive. Maybe because this topic is not new to me but it really felt like she was repeating the same line over and over. And yes this is with the consideration that non-fiction books are often repetitive in how they present information.
Jan 27, 2021 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: 2021
I listened to 20% of this, hoping for it to get better, but Dr. M just continues to say “it’s all about men, women are forgotten, I’m going to tell you how to be better at advocating for yourself.” A fifth of your book should not be introduction, get to the meat!
Sydney Manuel
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book explains the sex-based differences in healthcare in a way that is easy to understand and empowering to not only women but healthcare workers as well. I rented my copy from my local library, but I am tempted to buy my own copy!
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for women of all ages.
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