Women’s gynecological health issues, who do you talk to?
Research shows that most women confide in their partners about ‘down there’ problems
(but mum may be more useful)
Who is best to talk to about gynecological health issues?
Women are more than twice as likely to discuss gynecological issues – such as heavy periods or problems conceiving – with their partner, rather than seek advice from their mother, according to new research.
This is despite the fact that family history is a key factor in many women’s health conditions, and seven in ten women surveyed know somebody in their family who has suffered a gynecological issue.
Who I turned to for advice!
This was true for me when a few years ago I discovered I had a cyst in an intimate area.I ignored it at first and spoke to no one not even my mum or sister.
When eventually I spoke to my doctor about it, I had to tell my family as I needed surgery to remove the cyst. I choose my mum as the first person I confided in, I felt she would have the best advice and be really supportive.
When I finally spoke to my husband about the cyst, I just told him the bare minimum as I could sense he was as keen to avoid talking about the subject as I was.
My sister also had her own gynecological problems, when an overdue routine smear test came back with some abnormalities. As Well as her husband who was very supportive, she turned to my mum and me for female support.
My sister went through her own hell, she discovered the abnormalities the hospital had found were potentially very serious. Luckily due to her having the smear test when she did the abnormal cells were able to be removed by laser treatment.
My sister was lucky, yet still needs regular checks to ensure things stay that way.
I am a strong believer that women are so much more understanding when it comes to gynecological issues, after all we are the same-sex and have a much better understanding about our bodies than a man can ever have.
In my experience men normally shut off when women’s issues are discussed, they seem to squirm and look so uncomfortable if the subject is brought up.
Talking to another women is always so much easier for both parties, I would always discuss gynecological issues with my mum or sister’s, before I would ever think of turning to my husband or even friends for support.
Mumsnet on behalf of BMI Healthcare carried out a survey, here is the very interesting results
The national research, conducted by Mumsnet on behalf of BMI Healthcare, found that 71% of women would be likely to talk to their partner about problems conceiving, while only 30% would speak to their own mother, and just 18% would talk to their sister. Similarly, 62% would speak to their partner about heavy periods, while just over a third speak to their mother about the condition.
The survey – which questioned Mumsnet users – also showed that of the women who have experienced gynecological issues in the last year, 30% sought help from online forums, while 28% checked medical websites.
Yet according to a leading consultant, women may be missing a trick by not speaking to other female family members, or consulting a real doctor.
Mr Andrew Baxter, Consultant Gynaecologist for BMI Thornbury Hospital, comments: “It’s great that women share any concerns with their partner, and do their own research. However, in these cases, mum may actually be more useful than your other half as other women are more likely to have been through the same thing and can offer advice, while some conditions also have a genetic link.”
Often women may not like to raise gynecological issues with their mother, but if women feel isolated they may otherwise go online for advice and support, scouring forums for others with the same condition. However, Mr Baxter warns that for many women, the web can sometimes cause more worry than reassurance.
He explains: “The internet can be very useful when you’ve already been given a clinical diagnosis, as you can learn more about your condition. However, when used as a tool for self-diagnosis, it can lead to misdiagnosis. With so much information out there, you may end up worrying about a condition you don’t have, or you could be so scared by what you read that you don’t seek any help medical help.”
Mr Baxter therefore stresses the importance of seeking clinical advice from your GP and if necessary from a specialist. He says: “If you see a gynecological consultant, you would receive a detailed examination. Your symptoms, background and family history can be discussed in-depth. The internet cannot provide this care.”
However, Mr Baxter does not underestimate the importance of discussing issues with close family and female friends. He comments: “Take the case of Angelina Jolie. She tested herself for the faulty gene because of her mother’s breast cancer. Women should adopt this view with all gynecological issues. While of course it’s important to seek medical advice, talking to your mum and other women may help provide some valuable insight, and more importantly, make you realise you’re not alone.”
Visit the BMI Women’s Health website to read more about women’s health
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I would to hear who you or have turned to for gynecological health issues