*This blog post contains “graphic”/medical language in reference to women’s health issues.*
For some reason, we as a society have a tendency to use hushed voices when we talk about girly health, that is, if we even bring it up in public. People always say religion and politics are the no-go conversation topics, but it seems to me that there’s also a huge stigma around women’s health. People don’t like to talk about it, particularly men. If it’s mentioned in passing, people become very awkward until that particular strain of the conversation has ended.
Half of the population is made up of women. So why is it so unacceptable to talk about our health issues and keeping ourselves safe? It’s totally daft that more often than not, when you even mention something “female”, men get all weird and uncomfortable. Deal with it! Men are surrounded by women, whether it’s girlfriends or wives, sisters, daughters, nieces, grandmothers, aunts, mothers, friends or coworkers. Women should be able to talk about periods and mammograms and smear tests and endometriosis and WHATEVER ELSE THEY NEED TO!
When I asked on Twitter, the response was that the majority of women feel that we don’t talk about, nor do we get to talk about this issue enough. This ends now ladies!
I think the time of us staying silent about our bodies and the things that are happening with them is over. When you actually open up to your friends or coworkers or relatives, it seems everyone has some info or advice they could pass on. We’re all girls here, and you’ll often find the ladies around you have been where you are or know someone who has. It can be incredibly comforting to find someone who has been through the same thing you’re experiencing, or has even had the same fleeting concerns that you’ve had. We don’t all need to be experts, but we need to be open.
When I was 19 and came down with some horrid chronic pain, I didn’t talk about it to many people. We knew it was something period-related, which automatically makes it a no-go zone when talking to men. Guys did then and have since asked what was wrong, I’d say abdominal pain and if I ever mentioned it was suspected endometriosis, they’d change the topic pretty damn quickly. I didn’t talk to many of my friends about the gory details because at the time I didn’t think anybody would be able to relate or understand. So I went through my numerous gynaecology appointments and some extreme discomfort without opening up to many of the awesome gals in my life. In retrospect I wish I had talked to more of them. I have no qualms with doing so now.
How often have you thought something wasn’t quite right, but you weren’t sure what it is? You turned to Google and your doctor but you never mention it to your pals? No more of that! Let’s start an open dialogue. It’s funny, we ladies will happily share most details of our lives with our pals, but we don’t feel comfortable or able to chat about or lady bits. But I have a sneaky feeling that if we only ignore the stigma that society has created and just chat to our chums about whatever is ailing as at the moment, we’ll find that most women around us are pretty open to these conversations!
The way I see it, when someone has broken a bone or has a flu or anything, they will freely tell people. Women’s health issues should be more like this! Talk to the ladies in your life and you won’t feel so alone. The only way to remove the stigma is to talk talk talk until there’s no stigma left and we’re talking periods, cervical cancer screenings, vaginas and boob abnormalities left right and centre!
Up next, a chat about smear tests.