Why are we not prioritizing our gynecological health?

Shockingly, only 9% of women felt their gynecological health was an important concern according to a recent study

Woman holding her lower stomach in pain
(Image credit: Getty Images / Sarayuth Punnasuriyaporn / EyeEm)

We all have plenty to worry about on a day-to-day basis, especially right now. And worryingly for many of us, this means any issues we have “down there” such as missed periods can be put on the back burner or ignored completely. 

In fact, according to a new study from Superdrug only 9% of those surveyed said they would prioritize their gynecological health.

When it comes to our vaginas and wombs, changes and irregularities can be difficult to spot, making it all the more important to be proactive with our intimate health. So it’s crucial that we are all body aware, and know what symptoms to look out for and when to seek help.

Woman in the bathroom on her period

(Image credit: Getty Images / Ashley Armitage / Refinery29)

The study found that weight and skin were higher up on our list of priorities, which is likely due to us being bombarded with unrealistic body standards on the daily and women’s health not being spoken about openly enough, or many of us feeling like it’s taboo to talk about our vaginas.

Only 49% of those surveyed said they would seek help immediately, with one in five women saying that gynecological issues were too easy to ignore. Another 12% said they were too embarrassed to seek medical advice.

Most worrying of all was how many did not know what the symptoms were for gynecological cancers, which can include:

  • Constipation
  • Feeling full too quickly or difficulty eating
  • Frequent or urgent need to pee
  • Itching, burning or tenderness of the vulva
  • Changes in vulva skin or colour
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal or back pain
  • Abnormal periods or spotting
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge

Dr Sara Kayat, Superdrug Ambassador said: “The lack of knowledge around gynecological cancers is extremely worrying. We know that, when caught early, these cancers can often be effectively treated, but without a single screening test for all five gynaecological cancers, we rely on patients knowing what symptoms to look out for.” 

Right now, Superdrug is in partnership with leading gynecological cancer charity The Lady Garden Foundation. The partnership “is dedicated to raising awareness of gynecological cancers, encouraging conversations and giving insights on how to spot the signs and symptoms early, as well as promoting cervical cancer screening attendance.”

So first of all, when it comes to your gynecological health there is nothing to be embarrassed about. If you are worried about anything, from abnormal periods to a sudden change in your vulva’s appearance, seek help. 

It is also your right to request a female doctor, nurse or to have a chaperone for your appointments.

Make sure you know what is normal for you and if you are worried about any of the symptoms above or have spotted any irregularities, seek medical advice for your own peace of mind and health. As Superdrug states: “Symptom awareness and early diagnosis are vital to saving lives.”

Naomi Jamieson
Naomi Jamieson

Naomi is a trainee News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team. She has a background in design, having studied Illustration at Plymouth University but has taken a leap into the world of journalism after always having a passion for writing. She currently writes pieces on fashion, wellbeing, and entertainment for GoodTo and My Imperfect Life and is training for an NCTJ Qualification. 

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.