Women are quite literally dying of embarrassment when it comes to their gynaecological health. Love pocket, vajayjay, muff, beaver, lady garden… whatever you call your genitals, we’ve got to talk about them. No, seriously. Just because it’s awkward to talk about, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be discussing it.
Each year, 21,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with one of the five types of gynaecological cancer (womb cancer, ovarian cancer, vaginal cancer, vulvar cancer, and cervical cancer). Since the late 1970s womb cancer rates have increased dramatically and by 2030 are set to rise by 56%. Ovarian cancer is the most-deadly, taking the lives of 4,300 women each year in the UK alone. Despite this, more women than ever before are too scared or embarrassed or discussing issues related to their gynaecological health.
“There’s a wall of silence around gynaecological health, but it’s far too important to be a taboo – especially in this day and age.” says Dr Alex Eskander, Consultant Gynaecologist at The Gynae Centre. “It’s imperative that women feel able to talk openly and freely with their GP or gynecologist about their health.
“We’ve seen thousands of patients over the years and have met many that have felt embarrassed or nervous for a variety of reasons. These are completely valid and natural feelings to have, but women are putting their lives at risk by not talking about their gynaecological health. As a society we should be openly talking about the importance of it to help break down the stigma. If you’re experiencing any symptoms that aren’t normal for you, it’s essential that you speak with your GP or gynaecologist. It could be something minor and easily treatable or, it could be something much more serious. In this modern day we are all so health conscious, paying attention to what we put in our bodies, so why avoid gynaecological issues?”
The death of Big Brother star, Jade Goody, from cervical cancer in 2009 triggered an influx of women booking in for their smear tests, but rates have since dropped to their lowest in 10 years. A shocking 1 in 4 women skip cervical screening. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust interviewed more than 2,000 women and found that half delayed or didn’t attend a screening. They cited embarrassment about body shape was primary barrier, with 35% of all women reporting concerns over body shape, the appearance of their vulva and their smell. A shockingly large percentage (37%) thought that cervical screening didn’t reduce risk of cancer and 27% admitted they didn’t think they needed it because they were healthy. This highlights the need for better and wider awareness of the role of cervical screening. If you’re feeling nervous about your cervical screening, you may like to read our article: Cervical Smear Tests: What They’re really Like.
And it’s not just smear tests, the British Menopause Society say that half of women are too embarrassed to talk to seek medical advice about the menopause.
“But here’s the thing. This needs to change. The truth of the matter is that your GP and gynaecologist are trained professionals and they will not judge. They are used to seeing women on a daily basis with gynaecological issues and there’s not much that you can say or show them that will shock. Their main interest is in working out what the issue is and providing effective treatment to get you back to full health. It’s vital that women work towards overcoming their anxiety around gynae examinations and talking about their vaginal health; women are putting themselves at risk of life-threatening illnesses by avoiding it. My advice? If you’ve been delaying seeing your GP or gynaecologist, book in now.” says Dr Eskander.
The following other articles may be of interest:
Cervical Cancer: What You Need To Know
Top 5 Symptoms of Gynae Disorders that Every Woman Should Watch For
What Are The First Signs Of An STI?
Remember, your appointments, conversations are 100% private and confidential.Your doctor or gynaecologist will understand that it can be uncomfortable or upsetting and you can say stop at any time during your consultation or examination.
At The Gynae Centre we try our best to make the entire experience with us as convenient as possible. You can now book your consultation online or over the phone. Simply call 020 7580 8090 to speak to a member of our admin team.