The majority of UK women are too embarrassed to talk about sexual health

The majority of UK women are too embarrassed to talk about sexual health

New research has revealed that women are still embarrassed to seek medical help for their health concerns – with discharge and low libido among the taboo topics.

The survey, conducted by health insurer Vitality, reveals that while we’re more comfortable when it comes to the menopause and menstruation, other issues are still off the cards.

For example, 33% of women in the UK avoid talking about childbirth-related problems, while more than half of those surveyed are too embarrassed to discuss vaginal discharge and tearing.

A further 21% would avoid seeing their doctor about women’s health concerns in general due to embarrassment, showing just how far we still have to go in normalising such conditions.

Despite the fact that 63% of those surveyed said they’re happy to chat to friends about bad dates, less than a third would do so if they were diagnosed with an STI.

Additionally, only 17% are happy talking about bowel related problems and just 9% are comfortable discussing vaginal dryness.

The top ten health concerns women won’t talk about with friends or family

The research explored the reasons why women don’t discuss these topics with their nearest and dearest, finding that 22% don’t want the attention to be focused on them.

As well as that, one fifth are worried about being judged, and a further 12% fear bringing down the mood of the group, preferring to keep it to themselves.

When it comes to seeking help, 19% of participants admit they prefer to deal with female health issues themselves instead of seeking medical advice, while 14% prefer to search for their symptoms online.

One in ten even believe they might be judged if they approach a professional.

Shockingly, women are still avoiding vital health checks that lead to crucial diagnoses. A worrying 20% of respondents didn’t attend their last cervical smear screening, with many citing fear getting undressed in front of a doctor or nurse as a reason.

‘Although significant progress has been made in the area of women’s health and our attitudes towards it, taboos do still exist,’ Dr Kiran Johal, Medical Advisor at Vitality said.

‘Talking about a health concern has the potential to save lives, whether that’s encouraging someone to attend a screening appointment or finding support in others going through the same experience.

‘Remember, keeping things to yourself can be isolating and the only way to break the stigma is by talking – the more open you are about your health, the faster you can access the support you need.’

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