These are parts of life for those with a vagina.
All can tell a story about the health of the individual.
All should be discussed without shame and without embarrassment yet there is still a stigma that seems to exist about openly having conversations about these things.
Reports suggest that around 40% women have been period shamed and around 60% of women felt embarrassed about their period.
The result of which is that women, or people with vagina’s, feel like that cannot discuss period health.
When we look at the LBQTIA+ community then those statistics go even higher as they have even more prejudicial barriers to cross.
(Did ever tell you that my married gay friend who was pursuing fertility treatment was told by a medical specialist that she should “go out and have sex with a man”? Ridiculous and offensive.)
Anyway, last week I was catching up with a good friend who is also a health professional and we were talking about this rise in the “too much information – TMI” phraseology.
She is an acupuncturist who specialises in fertility and we used to work together. I looooove working with acupuncturists. I think the combination of Naturopathy and Acupuncture is just outstanding for patient outcomes, particularly for hormones.
We both are passionate about health of those with a vagina so after we have checked in regarding how our lives and families are, it doesn’t take long for the conversation to evolve into hormones, health conditions and cases we have treated.
As an acupuncturist and a Naturopath that specialise in hormones and fertility, we both agreed we felt very strongly about banning the term “TMI”, or our other favourite “overshare”, in our clinic.
Let me be clear. When it comes to health, particularly hormone health, there is NO SUCH THING as TOO MUCH INFORMATION.
Understanding our vaginal discharge is critical to understanding the health of our bodies and its very important if you are looking to get pregnant.
Changes in discharge can signal more serious issues such as cell changes or infections.
Talking about periods means that we can normalise the conversation so that it becomes much easier for people to know what is “normal” when it comes to periods. PERIOD PAIN IS NOT NORMAL!!!
Lara Briden, women’s’ health advocate and author, calls periods the “monthly report card” and I think that this is a great description. Its one of the best indicators of overall health. If periods go awry, then there is a good chance that overall health is suffering too.
I have lost count of the vagina owners I have seen in my clinic that have put up with pain so severe that they vomit because they think that this is just what it means to be a woman or to have a vagina. They didn’t share their experiences because no one talked about “women’s issues”.
I have had women who experience recurrent thrush and think that is just the way it is.
And you know what? 50% of the population has a vagina and will go through menstruation. It’s a natural part of life. Shit its ESSENTIAL to life if you look at the whole reason menstruation exists.
So no more TMI or overshare when it comes to vaginal and menstrual health.
Talk about periods, vaginal discharge, period pain. Then we can help each other and break down the barriers that have existed around women’s health for too long.
And more to the point, we can share the information of how to HELP each other.
Much vagina love