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Why is it Still Taboo to Talk About Vaginal Health?

Did you know that March is Women's History Month?

For centuries women have been quietly driving major breakthroughs in the field of health and medicine. And it hasn't been easy.

  • Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to obtain a medical degree in the US after being voted in by the all-male student body "as a joke".
  • Nobel-prize winner Dr. Gerty Corti was one of the most influential pioneers in the field of diabetes, yet her research was often overlooked in favor of her husband's contributions.
  • Henrietta Lacks's DNA (taken without her permission) has brought the medical community countless breakthroughs, yet her contribution went completely unrecognized for decades.

Of course, the list goes on. Can you imagine where we would be without the bravery of these and countless other women?

While important initiatives like Time's Up and the Me Too movement are making a big impact everywhere from classrooms to the Academy Awards, there's still plenty of work to be done.

Let's start at the beginning of all beginnings: Vaginal health.

Despite the fact that all women have one and literally every person came from one, 50% of young women cannot properly label a vagina on a medical diagram. That's according to a 2014 study by The Eve Appeal, the UK's Gynaecological Cancer Research Charity, which also found that 65% of women are uncomfortable using the words vagina or vulva, and 45% never talk to anyone about their vaginal health — let alone their doctors.

Sex is a natural thing that almost every adult engages in. And while it’s an important function for our society (after all it’s how babies are made), women don’t get the same attention when it comes to fixing our problems.

Case in point: Did you know that 1 in 4 men (that’s 25%) suffer from erectile dysfunction? And because of it, there are countless drugs and devices to help men (think Viagra). BUT, did you know that 40% of women experience sexual dysfunction. And how many products are available for women? In fact, if you go to Clinicaltrials.gov, there are currently 398 erectile dysfunction studies vs. 133 female sexual dysfunction studies – that’s almost 2x more studies for men than women. What gives?

There is an urgent need to change the conversation — or at the very least, to have a conversation. A healthy vagina is incredibly important to your physical, mental and emotional health, and of course your sexual function. And you deserve to feel great in every way.

We're here to help. Let's change the way we think, speak and feel about our vaginas, starting now. Here are some easy ways you can start to change the way you, and every woman around you, feels about herself and her vagina.

Notice your language.

Do you trip over the word vagina? Is it easier to say vajayjay or even hoo haw? Silly, right? It's ok. We've all been there. But vagina is a legitimate word and medical term. The more we say it, the less weird it will sound. Stay tuned in to the language you use. By confidently using the word vagina, you help others do the same. 

Talk to a friend.

Once you've become more aware of your language, challenge yourself to have an empowering chat with a friend. Most of us have opened up to a close friend before about issues we may be having with vaginal looseness or a weak pelvic floor. That's important. No one could understand better than another mother or woman, and we need to work together to break the wall of shame that surrounds the topic of vaginal health. 

For bonus points, see if you can refrain from making any negative statements about your bodies. Start the conversation with this in mind, "I want to talk to you about vaginal health, but I want to do it in a way that feels empowering rather than negative. Are you in?".

Talk to your doctor.

If something with your vagina doesn’t feel right, it’s highly likely you aren’t alone. Most insecurities women face are totally normal and experienced by a majority of women. And the solutions to help improve your vaginal wellness don’t have to be expensive, painful or as complicated as you may think. Don't be afraid to discuss your vaginal health with your doctor.

Know that it may feel strange at first, but you deserve to have your questions answered.

As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. It's time for us to step up and own it.

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