It’s hard to be invested in something you don’t necessarily see or think about every day.
With mirrors, selfies and Zoom calls, we are constantly confronted with our outward appearances, so it makes sense that things like skin and weight are given so much importance.
But a concerning new study has revealed that women are much less concerned about their gynaecological health than they are about their looks.
Only 9% of women consider gynaecological health to be an important health condition, with weight (19%) and skin (10%) ranking as higher health priorities.
The study, conducted by Superdrug, of more than 2,000 women also found that one in two women wouldn’t seek professional advice immediately if they were concerned, and one in five said gynaecological health issues are easy to ignore.
This is partly because 12% find it too embarrassing to talk about this subject and 13% wouldn’t know how to identify anything was wrong.
September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month, and while gynaecological health is more than cancer, Superdrug believes their recent study shows a ‘worrying’ lack of knowledge in this area.
Cervical cancer diagnoses are given to 58 women a day in the UK – but the reality of this is rarely discussed, or is brushed off if they have had the HPV vaccine (which doesn’t offer full protection).
Women and people with cervixes are invited to check up on their health with a smear test only every few years after the age of 25, so it’s important to know the signs of cancer, and to be aware of any changes.
Gynaecological health, like a lot of women’s health, tends to exist in quiet, vacuumed spaces, so talking about these issues is key.
Dr Sara Kayat, Superdrug ambassador, explains the problem is that because there isn’t a single screening test for all five gynaecological cancers ‘we rely on patients knowing what symptoms to look out for’.
‘We know that, when caught early, these cancers can often be effectively treated,’ she adds.
Superdrug started working with The Lady Garden Foundation this year to boost training in spotting symptoms for cervical, ovarian, vaginal, vulval and womb (uterine) cancer.
They say: ‘Often symptoms can be subtle and misattributed so having confidence in your own body and recognising when something isn’t right, is crucial.’
Of the following list of symptoms, significant numbers didn’t know they could be linked to abnormalities.
- Feeling full too quickly or difficulty eating
- Frequent or urgent need to pee
- Itching, burning or tenderness of the vulva
- Changes in vulva skin or colour
- Abdominal or back pain
- Abnormal periods or spotting
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
If you want more information, visit The Lady Garden Foundation.
Credit: Original article published here.