#EndEmbarrassment and lead a healthier life

There are some things we don’t discuss. But sometimes, these are the things that are most important. They may seem embarrassing but they are vital to health.

Intimate health is something that has to be discussed and yet we shy from it simply because there are words that we simply baulk at using, even if the words relate to parts of the anatomy and are totally natural. For example – vagina. Yes, we don’t use it. It’s embarrassing.

In fact, the other day, my 10 year old daughter asked me – ‘Mum, did I come out of your vagina?’ I was taken aback for a moment and then without making a scene of it answered it as naturally as I could. I also came to know that she was learning a few bits in school so it was great that we could discuss it. But at hearing the word at first, it seemed strange. It shouldn’t be as it is completely natural and I would rather she use the proper term than any other slang.

Funny how people are embarrassed to use the word vagina but not embarrassed to use all the other slang terms! We really need to #EndEmbarrassment.

I was not surprised to know that  nearly half (47%) of British women Vagisil spoke to felt embarrassed when the word ‘vagina’ came up in day-to-day conversation. And two in five (39%) women admitted to feeling embarrassed when other people mentioned the word ‘vagina’ to them. In fact, more than half (53%) of the people surveyed said that they replace the word ‘vagina’ with another word. Worryingly, more than four in ten (42%) women said they would rather speak about anything else than discuss intimate health issues!

What surprised me though was that the embarrassment went further and resulted in women not going with intimate health concerns to their GP.

* Around half of those surveyed, 47% admitted they were too embarrassed to talk to friends and family, and nearly one third (31%) have never spoken to their GP about an intimate health problem.

* More than one in ten (15%) said they have suffered a problem that became worse because they didn’t talk to their GP or Doctor about it.

Here are some tips to overcome the embarrassment –

More than a third (37%) of women surveyed said that they are embarrassed about their bodies yet almost nine in ten (87%) women claimed that they think young women should feel more confident about their bodies.

Vagisil is on a mission to end the embarrassment that exists around intimate health, and do something about this issue.

Dr Becky Spelman advises:

“Look at it rationally – accept that everybody is fallible and nobody is perfect no matter how they might appear on the surface. Every woman has her own genitals and this is natural.”

“You could ask yourself ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen?’ Then sit with that feeling, if it seems too much try breathing in through the nose for 3 seconds and then slowly out through the mouth, focusing on the feeling of the breath. This should give the feeling of embarrassment a chance to subside.”

And from some of the 2,000 British women Vagisil surveyed, came the following words of encouragement:

* Take a deep breath and tackle it head on

* Acquire knowledge & wisdom

* Act confident & be brave

* Be aware that you are not alone

* Be open & honest

* Remember that doctors have seen it all before

It’s about time embarrassment was tackled head on to ensure every woman feels confident enough to pay attention to and take care of their intimate health. So it’s good to know that of the 2,000 women Vagisil spoke to, more than four in ten (44%) women said they have used female intimate health products.

* Of those that use the products, more than a half (55%) of women said they use intimate health products for hygiene and cleanliness. While 52% used them to clear up a specific issue.

So it’s a start, but over a tenth of women (11%) have an embarrassing question that they’ve always wanted to ask but have never done so. Some of these topics include:

* The appearance of the vagina

* Itching

* Sweat/odour problems

* Bladder control

 Here is the #EndEmbarrassment video

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