Allow women more access to information on their own bodies from school upwards.
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Women are constantly changing. Through puberty to motherhood and on to menopause, our education and medical profession offer a simplified version of what it is like to be a woman. But we change. We evolve. And we all have the same question...Am I normal?
A recent survey conducted by The Women’s Health Clinic found that 57% of women do not feel comfortable talking about their female health to the medical profession. From general health to childbirth and menopause, women and their families do not always understand the lifecycle of female health which leads to embarrassment and confusion.
The survey found that although 87% went through sexual education at school, the majority agree that better awareness of general female health complaints, common problems with fertility, childbirth and the menopause would have greatly benefited their education.
Limited access to female health professionals, nurses and the general appointment system do not always fit around the life of a working woman or mother who can feel vulnerable in a 'treat-all' GP surgery that tries to solve her changing concerns within a 10-minute appointment.
Then, upon turning to the internet, women often find themselves censored from looking for this information as search engines deem our questions 'adult content', restricting the expertise of the medical community out there.
By signing this survey we hope to open a conversation not just on female health through education but also in the media. Our petition calls for wider representation of women’s health issues within education, the NHS and the press.
Now is the time to address the unmet needs in women’s health and help women access care, appointments and treatments which fit with their lives. Pregnancy, birth and relationships are commonplace topics for soap storylines, media headlines and education. What about all the other incredibly common yet less featured issues women face from fertility to incontinence?
Periods, pain, ovulating, birth control, STIs, incontinence, bladder pain, anxiety, endometriosis, HPV, IBS, interstitial cystitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, prolapse, ovarian cysts, vaginal laxity and atrophy….just to name a few very common conditions.
The Women’s Health Clinic has 9 clinics across the UK treating thousands of women each year. The number one question the nurses get asked is: “Am I normal?” Some women are unaware of how their bodies change as they age and are unnecessarily embarrassed.
With this petition we wish to increase explanations of women’s issues in the places that count – we want people to be more aware of what is normal and what is not. No woman should suffer unnecessarily.
Common quotes from our patients:
“I thought I had no other option, I was told this amount of incontinence is normal following multiple children.”
“I thought I had to put up with this and it’s just my lot now.”
“I thought sex was impossible and this is what aging is all about but now I know better.”
Help achieve wider representation of women’s issues.
· 7 million women in the UK suffer some degree of stress incontinence
· Millions of women are not attending their smear test appointments
· Menopause - approximately 8 in every 10 women will have additional symptoms for some time before and after their periods stop. These can have a significant impact on daily life for some women.
· More education
· More coverage of a wider range of women’s health topics
· Longer appointment times with a GP
· Internet search providers and social media platforms to stop censoring important female health topics – it’s not adult content, it could change the quality of some woman’s life
· Accurate information should be accessible to all
The Women’s Health Clinic is a member of The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health
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