Hello ladies, and maybe some progressive gentlemen! Being someone who works in the pelvic health realm, talking about vaginas has become very second nature to me. I sometimes forget that it is not your typical conversation topic, but I am here to encourage you to make it one.
To be clear, I do not expect you to open every conversation with “Hi, how are you and your vagina doing today and if you do not have a vagina would you like to hear about mine?” However, talking to close friends, sisters, mothers, partners etc. about pelvic health is important for a few reasons:
Reduces stigma. Unfortunately, female sexuality and other aspects of women’s health have a stigma surrounding them. This is nothing new. We can help combat this stigma by educating ourselves on female and pelvic health and sharing the knowledge with those close to us. First, it is important to analyze your own attitudes and judgement to see where you may unknowingly be contributing to the stigma.
Lets people know they are not alone. Bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, UTI, HPV, urinary incontinence. These are all INCREDIBLY common conditions, yet often those who experience them feel isolated and alone which can really do a number on someone’s self-esteem. Simply knowing you are not the only one to experience one of this conditions can be very reassuring and comforting. BONUS: sharing your experience can also connect people with providers (such as really cool pelvic floor physical therapists) and treatments that can help!
Education. Have you noticed that as women (and maybe for men as well), it is sort of assumed that once we reach a certain age we suddenly just know everything about how our parts work? Some of us are lucky enough to get the basics from our mothers, sisters, or public school sex-ed programs, but the basics are usually something like:
Once a month your vagina will bleed and you might get cramps, mood swings, and bloating. This is known as a period.
Someday, you may (or may not) love a person and if that person has a penis they might put that penis in your vagina (with your consent). This is known as sex.
If you a put a penis in your vagina and do not use birth control, in about 9 months a baby will come out of your vagina. This is known as childbirth.
If you have not noticed, this is a VERY simplified version of the functions of a vagina and unfortunately, it is usually what we are left with. Without a good understanding of how everything functions, it is hard to identify when we might be experiencing dysfunction. If you are someone who is familiar with my blog posts, you have hopefully learned some things that you can share with the women in your life to help increase their knowledge of their pelvic health.
As always, if you have any questions regarding this post or want to tell me an awesome experience you had sharing vagina stories with someone close to you, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.