Gynaecological health, otherwise known as the health surrounding the female genitalia, is a topic that often makes women (and men) feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. However, this needs to be changed, not only does it lead to people being scared to talk about potentially dangerous irregularities out of fear, but it also feeds into the narrative of shaming women.
One of the most important reasons we need to open up the conversation surrounding gynaecological health is because the lack of talking about signs and symptoms can often be fatal, specifically in terms of cancers that can be fought off at earlier stages if women can work through the taboo surrounding gynaecological conversation and encourage such conversation.
What many women, and men, don’t know is that there are five gynae cancers, so it is of paramount importance to pay attention to your bodies so that you can note any changes and remind yourself that it is important to be able to talk about these things. One way to fight against the stigma surrounding female body parts is to use proper terminology with confidence and normalise doing so. Being able to speak about our bodies without shame and talk about common symptoms, including changes in your menstrual cycle, could allow for an early diagnosis of issues that could otherwise be potentially fatal.
Another issue with not talking about gynaecological concerns, is that it even causes embarrassment when talking about certain issues with gynaecologists. However, your gynaecologist is who knows best, and no matter your worries concerning what is ‘normal’ and not, it is important to remember that everybody is different, and gynaecologists have seen it all. They are there to help you and discuss any concerns, that is their only priority.
The embarrassment that some people feel with regards to talking about their periods may cause them to discredit symptoms such as cramps and soreness in their most severe forms, however these extremities can be more than just period symptoms, they could be signs of problems such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Hence, it is important to be able to talk about things so that relevant solutions and treatments can be discussed and acted upon as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
There are a number of other issues that may arise for women, including changes in vaginal odour, the arising of bumps, and pain during or disinterest in sex. Whilst these are topics that may make women feel slightly uncomfortable to talk about, it is important this is addressed so that women feel they can talk about concerns in the same way they would if the concerns related to any other body part. Whilst having a low libido is a common issue, it can also be a sign of an underlying condition, so talking with your gynaecologist about this could help identify how to resolve this problem or where it has arisen from.
To summarise, if you notice any changes that cause concern, talk to somebody about it. Whether big or small, it is important to not only feel comfortable with talking about gynaecological health, but also to be able to identify any problems as soon as they arise to help ensure you are as healthy and happy as possible.