Ahead of International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, a survey conducted by Multi-Gyn found that 45% of British women believe that issues to do with their intimate health are still considered taboo! But what are these ‘taboo’ subjects and why is it still not okay to ask what’s up with something down there?
Shame and stigma
Simply terming women’s intimate health issues as ‘taboo’ does not magically make the problems disappear. Attitudes towards women’s health are often shrouded in euphemism and fear and although there have been positive movements to encourage women to discuss intimate health more openly, it is by far an easy subject. In a survey of over 2,000 women nationwide, Multi-Gyn found that 51% of women think that STDS are still a health taboo, along with 45% thinking that intimate health issues such as thrush and bacterial vaginosis are not openly discussed.
Let’s talk about thrush!
Thrush affects around 75% of women at least once in their lifetime and an estimated 138 million women worldwide. This number is expected to increase, with the number of women experiencing recurring thrush set to rise to 158 million by 2030.
Yet still many of us are too embarrassed to speak to a professional or anyone else about it; well over a third (37%) of British women wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing intimate health issues with anyone and over a quarter of women said they wouldn’t even feel uncomfortable discussing intimate health with their mothers.
As with many conditions surrounding women’s intimate health, thrush is seen a taboo subject rather than rather than as a common and completely treatable medical condition. Multi-Gyn FloraPlus is an effective treatment for thrush and provides immediate relief from symptoms such as itching, irritation and discharge.
One in three get BV…
Another intimate health condition that may be lesser known than thrush but, is actually twice as common is bacterial vaginosis (BV) – a staggering 1 in 3 women in the UK will develop bacterial vaginosis at some stage of their life! Although both thrush and BV are extremely common, Multi-Gyn found that only 28% of British women actually know the difference between the two.
Bacterial vaginosis is a completely natural condition that develops when your normal vaginal flora is disrupted, as with thrush it is extremely common and easily treatable. BV causes symptoms such as irritation, soreness, unpleasant odours and itching. These symptoms can be worsened by tight clothes, humid panty liners or sanitary towels. Luckily, BV can be easily sorted using over-the-counter treatments like Multi-Gyn ActiGel. These treatments can be purchased from Boots, Superdrug and your local pharmacy without a prescription.
Whether it is menstruation or menopause discussing the topic of periods has always been portrayed as a taboo subject. The ongoing issue of discussing periods and menopause has led to many people struggling with confidence when understanding and managing something that is completely natural!
The symptoms that can accompany periods are well-known by many people across the world – cramps, bloating, muscle aches, headaches to name but a few, however, when these are openly discussed there is often an air of embarrassment. The same can be said for the menopause where vaginal dryness, hot flushes, anxiety and problems with memory are all common symptoms that women are expected to ignore and push through!
Speak up on International Women’s Day
As the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Choose to Challenge’, it is time to challenge ourselves as women to discuss intimate health issues more openly. Whether you suffer from BV, thrush, menstrual cramps or something completely different all together, let’s feel comfortable and heard when talking about intimate health.
After all, issues that affect over half the world’s population should never be considered as ‘taboo’ or wrong, so choose to challenge your friends and family to start these conversations. A challenged world is an alert world, we’re all responsible to call out bias, question stigmas, and help forge a more inclusive world – Happy International Women’s Day!