Lent Hirsch began to wonder whether other young women were struggling with similarly serious health conditions. The answer turned out to be an overwhelming yes.
Statistics show that young women are disproportionately affected by certain diseases and health conditions, she says — and that’s hard enough.
But they also have to grapple with societal attitudes toward women, and young women in particular, which makes everything that much more difficult.
There’s “this idea that young women are this beacon of health and beauty and fertility,” she says.
When illness strikes, “nobody believes you. Or they say, ‘Oh, my God,’ in this really dramatic way,” she says. “It also means that often you don’t feel comfortable revealing [your condition] to people.”
That contributes to the perception that there aren’t many young women with serious medical conditions, she says, which her research shows couldn’t be further from the truth.