Do Irish women embrace or shy away from gynaecology culture? As a nation, we’re not entirely a shy bunch, but when it comes to the important stuff like health, and particularly sexual health, our attitudes kind of stink. We’re all guilty of it: we cop out of going to the doctors because of expensive bills, we self-diagnose online, and we ignore the tell-tale signs our bodies give us when something is out of whack. The clinical environment, cold instruments, and that uncomfortable first touch of latex are a necessary evil to check that everything is in ship-shape. We’re intelligent and well-informed women, so why are we still apprehensive when it comes to dealing with or talking about, ahem, down there?
Vaginas can be a bit of a mystery: 44% of women can’t identify the different components of their downstairs region, despite 100% of them having one. It makes sense, though. Historically there have always been taboos surrounding the female anatomy and sexuality; unlike men who seemed to get away lightly – dangly bits and all. It’s kind of an out-of-sight-out-of-mind scenario: our vagina’s lie tucked away – forgotten about even. We get nervous talking about it and sometimes would rather suffer in silence than face the idea of talking to someone who could help – could you imagine like?!
Our vagina’s go through a great deal during our lifetime so it’s important to act appropriately if symptoms occur; especially if they itch or burn. Annual trips to the gyno once a woman becomes sexually active can reduce any future risk from harmful diseases like certain cancers and bacterial infections. It’s also necessary for young women to have a pelvic exam so the doctor can check your uterus and ovaries for fibroids, cysts, or any pain or swelling that might indicate an infection.
Our online team consists of four lovely ladies: two of them actively visit their gynaecologist, while the other two should, but never have. The general consensus from the younger ladies (both in their early twenties) is that they don’t feel the need to go but that they are curious to know what the examination is like, whereas the two who have gone believe that women should be encouraged to go from a younger age as opposed to waiting until a problem arises or they become pregnant. But the message isn’t out there to the millennial generation that they should see a gyno as often as they would a doctor or dentist.
What if my gyno is a man? It’s normal to be nervous opening up to a strange man, but you should have confidence in whoever is treating you regardless of gender. This article examines ten male gynos and why they chose to go into the vagina business, and it’s a helpful insight.
What can we do? We can talk to our mother, sisters, aunts, and friends about womanhood and initiate the conversation. Offer to go with a friend who may be nervous, and self-examine (a mirror helps)! There’s nothing wrong with familiarising yourself with your own body, that way if something does happen you’ll know to do something about it.
If you think you need to talk to someone about your health, whatclinic.com is a quick and easy directory to find trusted gynaecologists and doctors in your area.