Are Our Doctors Putting Us in Danger? Why We Need to Speak Up About Reproductive Healthcare.
Ever put off going for that smear test so long it slips your mind completely? Well, you’re not alone – new research by specialist lawyers Bolt Burdon Kemp and gynaecologist Dr Anne Henderson shows that 22% of women stop seeking official medical treatment for medical health issues, even when we shouldn’t. But why are we reticent from pushing for more medical advice, and could this be seriously impacting our health?
47% of women claimed they didn’t know enough about their reproductive health to gauge a serious change or to judge when to stop seeking treatment. However, despite this lack of knowledge, Bolt Burdon Kemp’s research also uncovered that women are more likely than men to rely on the internet for answers rather than a medical professional, as discussing ‘down there’ remains one of the last healthcare taboos for many women. 46% of women cited that they weren’t comfortable discussing their vaginas, leading to issues when approaching GPs, while 60% of us are calling for more education in schools to break down embarrassment around the topic further.
However, even if we do find our way to the GP, 14% of women find it hard to talk to their doctor about their reproductive health, and 11% say they don’t feel heard when they talk to doctors about their vagina. Overall, more than 1 in 4 of us are stressed about the lack of care and knowledge we receive in these matters. Looking at the above figures, it’s easy to see why.
So, how do we address this breakdown? Dr Henderson suggests biting the bullet, switching Dr Google off, and addressing our concerns to a GP. If your GP can’t help, push for a second opinion, arm yourself with information from charities and, above all, don’t give up. Your persistence could save your life.